McGarrity eases to second win
Published 16/03/2009 | 00:00
Derek McGarrity made it two wins in a row in the Northern Ireland rally with another dominant victory at Bishopscourt on Saturday.
The triple Circuit of Ireland winner, from Mossley, won the McGrady Insurance Stages by a comfortable 29-second margin from Connor McCloskey - a repeat of the result in the first round at Kirkistown three weeks ago - to lead the Hankook-sponsored series by six points.
The combination of McGarrity's ability to attack hard from the word go and the advantages of an S12 Subaru - he was driving the ex-Stephen Murphy Impreza this time - were again too much for McCloskey and his hired 05 Ford Focus.
Just as he had done in the similar sprint-format Eurocables Rally at Kirkistown, McGarrity left reigning champion McCloskey and the chasing pack trailing with a stunning time on the opening stage - he was 11 seconds faster - and never looked back.
For the rest of the day he built steadily on his lead, setting fastest times on all six stages, just as he had done at Kirkistown.
McCloskey finished 11 seconds ahead of the Subaru of Seamus Leonard with two other former champions, George Robinson and Denis Biggerstaff, taking fourth and fifth positions.
Banbridge’s Emma McKinstry scored her best championship result in sixth, holding off the similar cars of Kieron Graffin and Ray Brammer.
Mark Massey won the production category in ninth place ahead of Donagh Kelly (10th), the two Mitsubishi drivers separated by just three seconds. First round winner Raymond Johnston’s Mitsubishi trailed flames on the first stage and fellow competitors put out the flames.
Trevor Moore won the two-wheel-drive category in 13th in his Escort.
- SEBASTIEN Loeb scored a landmark 50th World championship victory on the Cyprus Rally, resisting a last-day charge by Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen to make it three wins out of three this season.