Fisher and Greer heading for the Lakes
Derek McGarrity and Kenny McKinstry resume their duel for the Northern Ireland rally championship on the Lakeland Stages in Fermanagh on Saturday.
But the attraction of the Fermanagh forests has drawn in several drivers from outside the championship, notably Alastair Fisher and Jonny Greer in their Mitsubishi Lancers.
The young Ulster pair are third and seventh respectively in the British championship and, after three successive tarmac events, they will use the Fisher Engineering-sponsored Lakeland event to re-acclimatise to gravel competition ahead of the final round of the series, the Yorkshire Trackrod Rally on September 26.
Also taking part are two of Britain’s newest champions, Draperstown’s Marty McCormack and young Aussie Molly Taylor.
McCormack has secured the British junior championship with a round to spare and swaps his title-winning Citroen C2R2 Max for a car he loves to drive, his brother Greg’s historic Ford Escort.
And with the little Citroen redundant this weekend, Greg has offered it to Molly Taylor, who has been based in England this year on a rally scholarship and made the experience pay off by winning the British ladies title in her Suzuki Swift.
The Lakeland line-up also includes two drivers from the opposite end of the experience scale.
Former championship runner-up Stephen Whitford returns to an event he won seven years ago while 18-year-old Matthew Cathcart takes part for the first time.
The younger brother of Richard Cathcart, who won the Lakeland event last year, Matthew only made his full rally debut a fortnight ago — and won the Sunset Rally!
Meanwhile in the Hankook NI championship chase, McGarrity still leads despite missing the previous round, the Dogleap Rally, after being controversially refused an entry. His absence allowed McKinstry to close to within 17 points but, with just four events left, he needs to make significant inroads inro McGarrity’s lead this weekend.
The event starts at 10am and is based in the border town of Garrison.
Top of the entry list: 1 Derek McGarrity (Subaru Impreza), 2 Kenny McKinstry (Subaru Impreza), 3 Donagh Kelly (Mitsubishi Lancer N), 4 Raymond Johnston (Mitsubishi Lancer N), 5 Stephen Whitford (Mitsubishi Lancer N), 6 Seamus Devine (Subaru Impreza), 7 Alastair Fisher (Mitsubishi Lancer N), 8 Jonathan Greer (Mitsubishi Lancer N), 9 Matthew Cathcart (Subaru Impreza N).