SS5: Henry closes the gap; McCourt still in control. It’s down to the wire!

With one stage two go, less than two seconds separates rally leader Cathan McCourt from second-placed Desi Henry (pictured, OnThePacenote) in the battle for Eakin Bros Brian James Trailers Stages Rally spoils!

With rain falling on the stage, the fifth test proved to be very slippery after most of the leading crews selected hard compound tyres for the final loop. Henry was fastest through that penultimate test by 1.2s from McCourt, leaving the gap at 1.9s in McCourt’s favour.

However, it was McCourt who demolished the opposition on the last run through the Lowertown stage so he should be full of confidence going into the final test. But the pressure is on and there was little conversation at the stage finish with McCourt just commenting: “It was slippery. But it’s alright.”

Desi Henry echoed his comments. The damp sections of the stage, combined with hard compound tyres, made it a very tricky stage.

In third overall, Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy matched the fastest time set by Henry. They are comfortably in third while Joe McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney have edged out a little bit of a gap over both Alan Carmichael and Damien Tourish.

“That was hairy!” Carmichael said. “We had a couple of slides but nothing major. I was just driving as fast as I could.”

McGonigle’s advantage now stands at 3.3s over Carmichael, with Tourish dropping a few seconds in his two-wheel-drive Escort to hold sixth. “Slicks on a wet road is not nice!” Tourish said. Also in 2WD, Ryan Loughran admitted to being very cautious. “It was very wet at the start, dry in the middle and then wet at the end.”

Crews are now on their way to the final stage. Will Cathan McCourt be able to repeat his stage four domination, or will Desi Henry pull out all the stops to retake the lead – and the rally win – at the last gasp? We’ll find out soon!

Latest results are available from and live stage-end interviews are online at OnThePacenote.


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