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McGarrity out in the cold at Dogleap

By Sammy Hamill

Arow has erupted over Saturday's Dogleap Rally, sixth round of the Northern Ireland championship, with series leader Derek McGarrity complaining he has been refused an entry.

His original entry was rejected in a disagreement over entry fees but the triple Circuit of Ireland winner said he was unconcerned because he has a 29 point lead in the series and none of the drivers closest to him in the standings were included in the published entry list.

But that changed when it emerged that Kenny McKinstry, second in the championship table, would be taking part after all even though his name does not appear on the 'final entry list' published on the website of the organising Maiden City Club.

“Initially I didn't mind that I wasn't doing the rally because I've a good lead in the championship and with most of the people who were challenging me earlier in the season falling away it gave me the opportunity to do some other events,” he said.

“I planned to skip the Dogleap Rally and the following Lakeland Stages in Fermanagh before coming back to the series for the Bushwhacker Rally in September.”

In between McGarrity intended to focus his attention to the Lurgan Park Rally on August 8 and then the Ulster International two weeks later.

“I haven't been to Lurgan Park for a couple of years but Brian Stinson of Orchard Motorsport, the new sponsor of the event, has asked me to do it and I'm looking forward to having another crack at it.

“And with the Ulster Rally coming back to some of my favourite stages up in Co Antrim that was always going to be on my list so I was happy enough to sit it out.

“But then I discovered Kenny McKinstry would be doing the rally even though he was not on the published list and that changed the situation. But now I've been told they won't accept an entry from me.”

McGarrity has protested to championship co-ordinator Kieran O'Neill who has contacted the organising team but can do little as the regulations permit them to refuse entry to any competitor.

Michael Carlin, clerk of the course, and event secretary Martina Lynch could not be contacted to explain why he has been excluded.

Meanwhile, for the first time in six years there will be a new Dogleap winner on Saturday.

Former NI champion Kevin Lynch has dominated his home round of the series since 2003 but the Dungiven driver has resisted the temptation to go for win No.7 and instead sponsors the event via his KPL Utilities company.

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