SS4: Greer in command; Hegarty & Dickson spin; Kennedy under pressure

SS4: Another steady run through stage four has strengthened Jonny Greer’s command at the top of the Race & Rally Stages leaderboard. The reigning champion was fastest again and with two stages to go, he and Darragh Mullen are very much in command of the second round of the McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship.

“It’s a lot drier now,” Greer said. “One or two corners still have a lot of mud on them but it was OK.”

Aaron McLaughlin and Darren Curran were second fastest in their Fiesta WRC, edging out another one second advantage over third placed Derek McGarrity and Graham Henderson.

“We keep catching the same car at the same spot but it wasn’t too bad,” McLaughlin said.

The top three overall positions of Greer, McLaughlin and McGarrity remained static but Joe Hegarty, who was fourth going into the test, lost a couple of places after a high-speed spin.

“We went out on new tyres and the car broke away from me at high speed,” Hegarty explained. “We went over a couple of tyres and went onto the grass. The tyres only started to work at the end of the stage.”

The incident dropped him to sixth overall, with Darren Gass and Sam Hutchinson now up to fourth with Joe McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney in fifth.

Mark Massey reported a good run, boosting his confidence after his earlier spin. Meanwhile, Ian Dickson lost time with a spin and finished the stage with some damage to his front bumper.

“A trackside tyre was in the middle of the road,” he explained. “We tried to avoid it but we spun.”

A few competitors reported having to avoid tyres that had been pulled out onto the track, with Terry Donnelly reporting a lucky escape when he clipped one with his rear wheel. Shane Murray broke a driveshaft off the line in his Fiesta.

In the two-wheel-drive category, James and Heather Kennedy reckon their car feels a little bit down on power. They still lead but their advantage has been reduced to just 2.8s. Robert Erwin and Andrew Wilson are breathing down their necks and getting ready to pounce. Matthew McGaffin and Ryan Lowry are third.

After SS4 of 6

1 Jonathan Greer/Darragh Mullen [Citroën C3 Rally 2]
2 Aaron McLaughlin/Darren Curran [Ford Fiesta WRC] +29.7
3 Derek McGarrity/Graham Henderson [Škoda Fabia R5 Evo] +34.8
4 Darren Gass/Sam Hutchinson [Citroën C3 Rally 2] +46.7
5 Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney [Ford Fiesta Rally 2] +52.3
6 Joe Hegarty/Ashleen Hegarty [Ford Fiesta R5] +1’05.9
7 Michael McGarrity/Damien Garvey [Ford Fiesta R5 Plus] +1’27.2
8 Ian Dickson/Stephen Dickson [Ford Fiesta R5] +1’27.3
9 Emma McKinstry/Kenny Hull [Ford Fiesta R5] +1’29.3
10 Mark Massey/Alistair Wylie [Ford Fiesta] +1’38.5

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