SS3: Greers Stamps Authority in the Rain

SS3: As crews started stage three of the Eakin Bros Brian James Trailers Dogleap Rally, the grey clouds that had been threatening rain finally opened. Mizzly rain gradually became heavier but such is the expanse of the Shackleton venue that some parts of the track stayed drier than others.

There were a few changes to the stage layout this time, making the test almost two miles shorter. Most crews were caught out on the wrong tyres but topping the timesheets once again were Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick. Greer proved to be the rainmaster as he powered to fastest time, extending his lead over Desi and Mark Henry to 6.9 seconds. Both crews reported slippery conditions but stayed out of trouble to hold the top two positions.

Unfortunately for Josh Moffett, he hit trouble during the test. Having held third position going into the stage, the Monaghan driver dropped two positions and now holds fifth.

“Something is broken,” Moffett explained. “The car is only in two-wheel-drive.”

Instead, Aaron McLaughlin and Darren Curran have climbed into third position. The former event winners were first on the road and missed the worst of the rain, helping them to set a stage time that was nearly nine seconds faster than fourth placed Stephen Wright and Liam Moynihan.

“For once, luck was on our side!” a delighted McLaughlin said at the stage finish.

Meanwhile, Wright admitted to “being a bit sluggish” as he contended with a track that was wet on one side of the venue but dry on the other.

Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson have climbed a couple of places to hold sixth in their ailing Fiesta WRC. A misfire has been thwarting their progress all day, leaving the crew frustrated.

“We’ve been trying to fix the misfire all week,” McGarrity said. “We had M-Sport involved too but the car is still doing it. I think we must be losing 10 to 15 seconds per stage.”

Jason Mitchell and Peter Ward (Fiesta) dropped to seventh after catching another car on the stage while Derek and Mark McGeehan are now eighth overall in their Mini WRC.

“We got the bulk of the heavy shower,” McGeehan said. “It definitely made a difference to the amount of grip!”

The rain played in Peadar Hurson’s favour as he took full advantage of his four-wheel-drive power to move ahead of Barry Morris’ Darrian. Hurson now holds ninth with Morris completing the top 10 and continues to head the 2WD field.

Morris’ 2WD category advantage now stands at almost 50 seconds over Gareth Irwin and Justin McCauley, while Andrew Gillespie and Joe McNulty made the most of their lower running position to climb back up to third in the category as the stage started to dry out.

Just outside the top 10 overall, Peter Bennett and Simon Jones completed the stage minus their Fabia S2000’s front bumper. Plenty more had incidents on the stage too. Sean Devine (Fiesta) lost time with a spin and it looks like Niall Henry might be out of the event with clutch failure.

Ian Millar “did a bit of lawnmowing” over some grass in his Fiesta and Sam Adams (Escort) exited the stage sporting some damage to the rear of his Escort MkII. Finally, Alastair Cochrane reported a spin on the opening stage earlier today.

Further down the order, Philip White (Micra) has built a comfortable cushion to his nearest class three rival.

“I’ve been finding the right balance with the driving and we’re maintaining good speed through the corners,” White said. “But now I’m going to ease off a bit and save the car for Loughgall in two weeks’ time.”

The rain has now stopped and the sun is trying to shine. There’s even a glimpse of two of blue sky!

Latest results are available from We’ll have more news after stage four…

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