SS3: Greer Extends Lead; McLaughlin up to 2nd; White’s 2WD Challenge Fades

SS3: Jonny Greer and Darragh Mullen have extended their lead to almost half a minute after another fastest time through the third stage. The Citroen C3 crew have so far been unstoppable today and none of their rivals appear to have an answer to the rally leader’s pace.

“The car is working fantastically well,” Greer said at the stage finish. “It’s well suited to the stages and we had another clean run.”

Aaron McLaughlin had a beaming smile at the stage finish. With the track drying up, he was able to take full advantage of his Fiesta WRC’s power and was just six-tenths of a second slower than Greer. Navigated by Darren Curran, they jumped into second overall, with Derek McGarrity and Graham Henderson dropping to third despite enjoying a clean drive through the stage.

Mark Massey hit trouble when he spun at a hairpin during the stage. He struggled to get his Fiesta to fire up again and lost over one minute, dropping from third to 15th overall.

“I don’t know what was wrong,” a disappointed Massey said. “We stalled at the hairpin and couldn’t get the car started again. I had to turn the master switch off and on, and then she started but we lost about a minute by that point.

With Massey out of the top 10, Joe and Ashleen Hegarty are fourth overall ahead of Darren Gass and Sam Hutchinson. Gass is still recovering from his stage one dramas and is now just one-tenth of a second behind Hegarty. However, Hegarty admitted his tyres were starting to “go off” during that third stage.

Joe McGonigle had to drive around Massey’s stricken Fiesta but he didn’t lose too much time and now holds sixth from Ian Dickson, with Emma McKinstry up to eighth.

“We saw Jonny Greer coming behind us when we started the stage so that put us off a bit,” Emma said, “but we waited until he went past and then got on with it.”

Paidi Hamill enjoyed his first clean run of the day after being slowed by another competitor on stage one, then he only completed one lap due to a puncture on stage two. George Robinson says he is starting to enjoy it and Brian McFall reckons he has a broken shaft.

Shane Murray and Gary Hade spun during the test and struggled to get going again. A number of crews were slowed as a result, including Niall Carey (BMW) and Paul McKenna (Evo 6). Both will be awarded notional times. McKenna and navigator Nicola Myles also finished the stage with their rear bumper hanging off.

“It was a wrong note from my fiancé!” McKenna joked.

Nicky Caughey has retired after hitting a trackside tyre and Philip Greenlee has managed to get his Escort fixed after an earlier incident broken his steering rack.


In the two-wheel-drive category, Andrew White’s challenge for the spoils faded when he lost time with an overshoot in his Escort MkI.

“We overshot and stalled,” a disappointed White said. “It is what it is.”

James and Heather Kennedy now have a little bit of breathing room at the top of the 2WD tree but they still cannot afford to relax. Robert Erwin and Andrew Wilson are just 5.8s adrift while Matthew McGaffin and Ryan Lowry are up to third after setting the fastest time.

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