Derek McGarrity couldn’t quite make it two wins out of two as he began his build-up to what he intends to be a serious Circuit of Ireland challenge.
Indeed, even though he was a clear winner of the opening round of the Northern Ireland championship at Kirkistown on Saturday, defending the title he won last year is not on his mind. Nor is the Irish national championship in which he finished second on the opening round at Nenagh yesterday.
It is all about building up his speed and familiarising himself with the Subaru Impreza S12B in which Eamonn Boland won the 2008 Irish Tarmac championship in an effort to win a fourth Circuit of Ireland at Easter. The former Tarmac champion from Mossley was unchallenged as he swept the opposition aside to win the Pedro Pet Food Stages at the Co Down circuit on Saturday and then headed south for Nenagh and yesterday’s Birr Rally.
A spin on the second stage, resulting in McGarrity jamming the Subaru between narrow banks, cost 20 seconds but he came back to close within 22 seconds of winner Mel Evans.