Belfast Telegraph

McGarrity’s Mini will mix it with big guns

By Sammy Hamill

Derek McGarrity will head up the entry list for Saturday’s McGrady Insurance Rally at Bishopscourt — in a WRC Mini Countryman.

That will be just a prelude to the five-times winner tackling the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland at Easter in the Mini, one of the new breed of World championship cars.

“It has been a fairly last-minute decision and the car won’t be here until Friday so the Bishopscourt rally will be all about getting acquainted with it,” said McGarrity.

“The plan is to do this rally followed by the Circuit of Kerry in a fortnight’s time to learn more about it. For the Circuit of Ireland the Mini will be converted to Regional Rally Car specification to make it eligible for the Intercontinental Challenge category.”

The IRC series, of which the Circuit is round three, is based on Super 2000 cars, requiring McGarrity’s WRC Mini to be slightly de-tuned.

The Mossley rally car trader is a former two-times Northern Ireland champion and won the opening round of this year’s series in his S14 Subaru Impreza, but that car has now been sold and his search for a replacement has taken this surprising turn.

“I had intended going for another S14 Subaru, but there are very few available,” he explained.

“The opportunity to buy the Mini came up and I decided to take it. The bonus is that it will allow me to take part in the main part of the Circuit and take on the IRC regulars like Andreas Mikkelsen and Jan Kopecky in their works Skodas.

“Wouldn’t it be something special to get a sixth win against those guys?”

McGarrity’s Mini will be one of two in action at Bishopscourt on Saturday.

Derek McGeehan, who brought the first of the Prodrive designed and built Minis to Ireland, will also be taking part in the car in which Eugene Donnelly finished second on the Galway International last month.

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