Derek McGarrity is Northern Ireland king but a big finale is in store for Irish Tarmac championship
If things had gone as expected, Derek McGarrity might have been celebrating becoming a six-time Northern Ireland champion in style on Saturday's Bushwhacker Rally in a WRC Ford Fiesta, fresh from Norway.
But the car had barely arrived at wheeler-dealer McGarrity's Mossley base before it was sold on to Tipperary's Roy White in time for next week's final round of the Irish Tarmac championship, the Cork '20' International.
It means that McGarrity will probably sit out the last round of the NI series, but it won't matter. With four wins already, he is champion for a record sixth time even though there are bonus points on offer in the Tyrone forest for closest contenders Kenny McKinstry and Desi Henry.
Henry is seeded at No.2 in his S2000 Skoda behind the Mitsubishi of Josh Moffett with McKinstry at five, his S14 Subaru strangely sandwiched between the S10 Impreza and the Mitsubishi of the two Mark Donnellys.
Even though the overall title is settled, there are other divisions to fight for, notably the production championship in which the top three, Simon Woodside, Clive Kilpatrick and Geoff McMahon, are separated by three points.
And it will be intense in the battle for the rally's biggest prize, the Carryduff Forklift R2 Road to Wales award, which will see one of three young drivers win a funded entry in Britain's round of the World Championship.
Rob Duggan, Jon Armstrong and Alan Smyth are still in the hunt, four points covering the trio. But Duggan holds a narrow advantage on countback and will take the prize by finishing at least second on Saturday.