SS1: Greer takes early lead; Gass spins and stalls

SS1: After a slippery opening stage, Jonny Greer and Darragh Mullen have taken a commanding 7.1s early lead at the Race & Rally Stages from Derek McGarrity and Graham Henderson, while Darren Gass and Sam Hutchinson had a disastrous start.

Gass spun and stalled his Citroen C3, damaging the front of his car in the process. He finished the stage with steam billowing from his engine bay. He still set ninth fastest time, 22 seconds behind Greer, and his service crew are now working frantically to fix it in time for the start of the second stage.

At the top of the order, Greer commented on the slippery nature of the stage. There was plenty of grip on the race circuit part of the test but the concrete areas were particularly treacherous. However, when the times started rolling in, it quickly transpired that he had mastered the conditions as he emerged an impressive 7.1s faster than anyone else.

Derek McGarrity and Graham Henderson are second overall in their Skoda Fabia, just 1.6s in front of the Fiesta WRC belonging to Aaron McLaughlin and Darren Curran. Mark Massey and Alistair Wyllie are fifth despite catching another car during the test.

“They moved over for us but it slowed us a little bit,” Massey said.

George Robinson was another driver in trouble as he lost time with a “big spin”. Paidi Hamill and Martin Harte were almost immediately on their tail and were left very frustrated as they followed Robinson through the remainder of the stage to the finish line.

Ian Dickson commented on the slippery concrete sections but was pleased with his pace while Joe and Ashleen Hegarty, who are sixth overall, caught two competing crews during the test.


In the two-wheel-drive category, James and Heather Kennedy set the early pace in their Escort MkII. “We had a perfect tyre choice and it felt good,” Kennedy said.

In second. Andrew White and Paul Hughes are three seconds in arrears after struggling with no power-steering as well as plenty of understeer thanks to a wrong tyre choice.

Meanwhile, Gareth Deazley and Ashley Boulton are third, just one-tenth of a second ahead of a charging Philip White and Brian Rowan. They currently hold fourth in the category and 20th overall in their Micra!

An expected 2WD challenge from Jamie Grant and Jonny Chambers has failed to materialise. They failed to make the start of the opening stage due to a burst radiator but are hoping to be back in action for stage two.

Elsewhere, Michelle Morelli and Rachel McCullough have a jump-start penalty hanging over them after leaving the stage one start line a little bit too quickly!

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