Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

Battle of champions in prospect at Mourne

By Sammy Hamill

Published 07/06/2013

Darren Gass and Derek McGarrity are shaping up to go head-to-head in the Mourne Rally this weekend.

Irish Tarmac champion against Northern Ireland champion is the appetising prospect for the Newry-based event which will use a trio of old Circuit of Ireland stages in the South Down area.

Gass, winner of the Galway International, Circuit National and Ulster Rally last season, has not been in action since crashing out on the first stage of this year's Galway event in February, but is expected to use the Mourne round of the Northern Ireland championship as preparation for the Donegal International later this month.

He is a past winner of the Mourne Rally, as is McGarrity, who again leads the NI series after two wins and a second place in the previous three rounds.

The line-up for Saturday's Modern Tyre Service-sponsored event also includes Derek McGeehan and Kevin Barrett, currently second and third respectively in the points standings.

Meanwhile, Mark Crawford was the winner of the Cultra Hillclimb in his Mk6 Jedi, narrowly edging out the Lotus Reynard of Andy Hawthorne.

Reigning NI champion Graham Thompson finished third but managed only one timed run because of mechanical problems with his GTR Turbo.

Suzanne Woodside, in her Crossle, was fastest of the ladies in the Women in Motorsport event.

And Garry Jennings, last year's winner and current Irish Tarmac championship leader, heads a 150-strong capacity entry list for the three-day Donegal International Rally starting on June 21.

Following his most recent win on the Rally of the Lakes, the Kesh driver starts as favourite for the toughest round of the premier Tarmac series.

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