SS2: Greer dominates Bishopscourt; McLaughlin & Hamill punctured

SS2: Jonny Greer and Darragh Mullen are dominating the Race & Rally Stages, round two of the McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship. While a number of crews hit trouble during the stage, reigning champion Greer powered his Citroen to another fastest time and extended his lead to more than 20 seconds over Derek McGarrity and Graham Henderson.

“We went for a slick tyre which was probably the right choice,” Greer said. “It took a while for them to start working but once they were up to temperature, they worked really well.”

As for second placed McGarrity, his hopes for another Bishopscourt win appear to be fading fast after an overshoot during the stage. “Totally the wrong tyres,” McGarrity said. “We overshot onto the grass.”

McGarrity wasn’t the only one in trouble. Aaron McLaughlin, who held third overall after the opening test, lost around 15 seconds with a puncture and a damaged rim.

“There was a big drain on the stage and we hit it hard,” a dejected McLaughlin explained.

Paidi Hamill and Martin Harte also finished the stage with a puncture and a damaged rim. They opted to only complete the one lap and will receive a ‘stage maximum’ time.

Mark Massey and Alistair Wyllie enjoyed a clean stage and set the fourth fastest time, promoting them into third overall. Aaron McLaughlin dropped to fourth after his puncture dramas, with Joe and Ashleen Hegarty up to fifth despite a mid-stage scare.

”We touched a kerb and I thought we might have had a puncture but it was OK,” Hegarty said.
The smile was back on Darren Gass’ face as he enjoyed a clean stage to climb up to sixth ovetrall after his stage one dramas. Joe McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney wasn’t best pleased at the finish. He clipped a bale, damaging the front wing, and was held up by another competing crew.

“We spent a whole lap behind another R5 car that liked to brake on the straights!” he rued.

Shane Murray and Gary Hade are up to eighth with Ian and Stephen Dickson holding ninth.

“We caught Aaron McLaughlin but he let us past,” Dickson recalled.

Emma McKinstry and Kenny Hull hold 10th after another good run. Paul McKenna and Nicola Myles are 11th in their Evo 6, while Michael McGarrity has dropped to 12th after a boost issue.

“We were going like the hammers on the first lap but then a boost pipe blew off,” McGarrity said.

George Robinson is struggling with a slipping clutch and Welsh visitor Steve Woods is still getting used to the layout on what is his first visit here. Brian McFall commented on parts of the track still being a bit wet in places but is enjoying his run in Fiesta.The two-wheel-drive category is heating up. James and Heather Kennedy opted for a harder tyre on stage two but it turned out to be the wrong choice.

“We thought there would be more grip,” Kennedy said, “but there wasn’t so I think we were a bit slower.”

They lost nearly three seconds to the chasing Andrew White and Paul Hughes. With their power-steering fixed, they powered through the test and are just four-tenths of a second behind the category leaders.

Robert Erwin and Andrew Wilson are now up to third in the category ahead of Gareth Deazley and Ashley Boulton, while Colin Price and Ben Teggart were quickest 2WD on the test and hold fifth. Philip White had held third after stage one but lost time behind another competing crew during the second stage.

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