Reversal of fortune for Greer as he wins Lakeland on last stage
Published 11/09/2012 | 07:59
In 2010 Jonny Greer was denied a first Northern Ireland championship victory in a last stage shoot-out with Alastair Fisher on the Lakeland Rally.
Last gasp: Jonny Greer won in Fermanagh in a Mitsubishi
Two years on and it was Greer’s turn to seal success on the final stage of the Fermanagh event. Co-driven by Gordon Noble, he saw off the challenge of Garry Jennings, who crashed out, to win by 24 seconds from Mark Donnelly in a Mitsubishi one-two finish.
The 24-year-old from Carryduff was taking time out from the British championship and dusted down last season’s Mitsubishi Evo 9 for his first appearance of the year in the Northern Ireland series.
Now, more used to a Citroen DS3, he struggled initially to re-adjust to the bigger, four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi and was down in seventh place after the first two stages.
But Greer jumped to first on the 14-mile third stage, Carrigans, only to lose the lead again on the penultimate stage, Lough Navar, to Donegal International winner Jennings.
However, on the last stage, a repeat trip through Carrigans, Jennings was forced to retire when his Subaru slid off the gravel track and stuck in a ditch.
Greer, in contrast, soared through the stage, beating the bogey (minimum) time by 11 seconds but still comfortably clear of Donnelly whose Mitsubishi lost turbo boost. Martin Cairns (Subaru) was just a further second back in third place.
Championship leader Derek McGarrity struggled throughout the day with low oil pressure in his borrowed Subaru but finished fifth to maintain a 10 points advantage over Derek McGeehan who was fourth on his first trip into the forests in his WRC Mini.
Drew Stewart remains third in the standings despite retiring his Ford Escort on the last stage while seventh place was more than enough to secure the production championship for Trevor Ferguson.