Derek McGarrity stretches lead after tough race
The numbers are stacking up for Derek McGarrity. His victory on the Tour of the Sperrins was his fourth of the season, his fifth on the Maghera-based event and takes him clear at the top of the points table in his quest for a record sixth Northern Ireland rally title.
Five-times Circuit of Ireland winner McGarrity, with Kerryman Dairmuid Falvey alongside him instead of regular co-driver James McKee, led the MKS Sperrins rally from start-to-finish in his S14 Subaru, winning by some 15 seconds from the older S9 Impreza of Desi Henry with Derek McGeehan third in his WRC Mini.
McGarrity was fastest on five of the seven of the stages in the foothills of the Sperrins with Henry quickest on the other two as they distanced themselves from the McGeehan Mini which was involved in a fierce dogfight with the S2000 Skoda Fabia of Marty McCormack and Subaru of Paddy McVeigh.
By stage five McCormack had edged in front only for McGeehan to squeeze ahead again and take third place by one second with McVeigh falling to fifth after he stalled on the final stage.
Former Scottish champion David Bogie, using the Ulster event as a tarmac test session for his R5+ Ford Fiesta, finished in sixth place with a hard-charging Frank Kelly winning the two-wheel-drive category in seventh in his Ford Escort just ahead of Camillus Bradley and David Armstrong.
Jon Armstrong was 10th, winning the important R2Wales competition for young drivers in his R2 Peugeot by 17 seconds from the Ford Fiesta of Rob Duggan but both had been put in the shade initially by 22-year-old Callum Devine who led the competition until the halfway point but was forced to retire when his Opel Adam broke a driveshaft on stage four.