Belfast Telegraph

Derek McGarrity turns the down chance to hit hat-trick

By Sammy Hamill

If the pieces had fallen into place Derek McGarrity would have been in the line-up for Saturday's Bushwhacker Rally, penultimate round of the Northern Ireland championship. But they haven't and he won't.

He has, in effect, already won the McGrady Insurance-sponsored series for a record fifth time even before the Omagh round but he had his sights set on making it three Bushwhacker wins in a row. However, he has decided to sit it out.

"I really like this rally – I think it is the best gravel event we have – and I would have liked to go for the three wins in a row," explained the five-times Circuit of Ireland winner.

"I intended to use my WRC Mini but the engine won't be back from a re-build in England in time and I did look at the possibility of hiring McKinstry Motorsport's S14 Subaru.

"But the way I read it, I don't really need to do this rally to stay top of the championship so I'm going to give it a miss. The Mini should be ready for the final round, the Down Rally next month and I plan to go to the Harvest Rally in Donegal as well."

McGarrity's absence leaves Owen Murphy to head up the 100-plus entry list in his Mitsubishi. Josh Moffet, who heads the southern series will be next, also in a Mitsubishi, followed by 2010 winner Martin Cairns (Subaru) and Desi Henry (Mitsubishi). Based at the Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh, it starts at 9am on Saturday.

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