SS5 Drama: Dickson and Massey incidents; Erwin Grabs 2WD lead, Greer on verge of victory

SS5: Jonny Greer and Darragh Mullen set another fastest time on what was an action-packed stage five. The stage was run in the opposite direction and while the leading crew bolstered their advantage with one stage to go, others hit trouble during the test, including Darren Gass, Mark Massey and Ian Dickson.

Dickson’s accident caused havoc among the crews following behind him. His Fiesta blocked the road for a minute or two, forcing a number of crews behind him to come to a stop. Dickson eventually got going again and returned to service after just one lap but those affected crews that stopped at the incident have been awarded notional times. (In this case, Derek McGarrity’s stage time.)

Meanwhile, Mark Massey also went off the road, damaging the front of his Fiesta but he was able to continue. As for Darren Gass, he almost entered the final time control after just one lap instead of the required three. He quickly got underway again but Aaron McLaughlin was hot on his tail.

It looked as though McLaughlin was going to lose some precious seconds but it didn’t matter in the end as Dickson’s incident forced him to come to a stop. The notional time awarded has ensured that he maintains second overall ahead of Derek McGarrity.

All the drama failed to affect rally leader Greer. He was cool, calm and collected as he arrived at the stage finish, unaware of the incidents behind him.

“With the stage being run in the opposite direction, the mud is now in the wrong place,” he explained. “It’s going into the corner instead of coming out of it so I was being cautious.”

With McLaughlin in second ahead of McGarrity, Darren Gass continues to hold fourth but will his lap one indiscretion come back to haunt him? Joe McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney are fifth ahead of Joe and Ashleen Hegarty. Seventh placed Michael McGarrity was very happy with the new tyres he fitted to his Fiesta, commenting that he needed another job to be able to buy more of them!

Michael McCollum and Michael Pearson lost time with a spin, Emma McKinstry is having some intercom issues and Paul McKenna reported two incidents on the previous stage, forcing him to select reverse gear twice!

In the two-wheel-drive category, James and Heather Kennedy seemed confident at the end of stage five. “We had a good cut at it,” James said. “Hopefully it’s enough.”

However, Robert Erwin also had a good run and has burst into the 2WD category lead. With one stage remaining, he heads the Kennedys by 2.2s!

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