Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

McCloskey focused on winning in title battle

Connor McCloskey will attempt to get his challenge for the UK gravel rally championship back on track tomorrow when he heads the line-up for the Woodpecker Stages based at Ludlow.

The former Northern Ireland champion from Coleraine dominated the early rounds of the series, taking two wins and two second places, but opted out of round five to get married.

He was back for round six and was in second place when the throttle of his Subaru jammed open and the car ended up on its roof.

McCloskey's exit allowed Yorkshireman Charlie Payne to take second place behind Scot Euan Thorburn and move clear at the top of the table.

However in the GetConnected championship drivers count their six best results from nine events which means McCloskey can discard his round six crash whereas Payne has already scored on all six rounds.

It also means that Thorburn could emerge as a major threat having now won three of the four rounds he has finished in his Ford Focus.

"We're going into the last three rounds and this is where it gets serious," said McCloskey. "Wins become all important now."

Meanwhile, Derek McGeehan, fresh from winning the Northern Ireland championship section of the Ulster Rally, will be back on home ground tonight for the Sunset Stages Rally based at Draperstown (7-30pm start).

McGeehan lines up at No.2 in his WRC Mini behind the Subaru of last year's winner Enda McNulty and ahead of Martin Cairns in his S12 Impreza for the three-stage sprint event in the nearby forests.