Fisher and McNulty are serving up a great spectacle
Tim McNulty carried a 28-second lead into the second leg of the Topaz Donegal Rally yesterday.
But the undoubted star of day one was Alastair Fisher.
The 22-year-old from Co Tyrone was in second place overnight in his S2000 Ford Fiesta, having outpaced all the more powerful WRC Subarus bar McNulty’s.
Indeed, after yesterday’s first loop of stages through Fanad Head, Atlantic Drive and Glen, Fisher was ahead of it too, leading the rally overall by three seconds.
But McNulty, winner of the Galway International earlier in the year, cranked up the pace in the afternoon, especially over the ultra-fast Fanad stage and surged ahead again.
In the afternoon Fisher again set fastest time on the more technical Atlantic Drive stage to finish the first leg 35 seconds ahead of Circuit of Ireland winner Derek McGarrity who was third.
Taking the opportunity of a break in his WRC Academy programme in the World championship — it re-starts with Rally Finland next month — Fisher is using the Donegal event to gain experience of S2000 cars, driving the Ford Fiesta in which Mikko Hirvonen won the Monte Carlo Rally in 2009.
McGarrity had a frustrating day, struggling to get to grips with a left-hand-drive McKinstry Motorsport S11 Subaru — and unhappy with his tyre choice.
He was a minute behind McNulty, having moved up to third after Seamus Leonard retired his Subaru late in the afternoon.
Rally of the Lakes winner Daragh O’Riordan was fourth, less than two seconds behind McGarrity, with Tarmac championship leader Kevin Barrett in fifth.
Donagh Kelly was sixth and headed up the production category in his Mitsubishi after Phillip Morrow and Garry Jennings, hit trouble.
Positions after stage 6: 1 Tim McNulty/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza) 49 mins 10.6 secs; 2 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Ford Fiesta) + 28.6 secs; 3 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza) + 1 min 04.4 secs; 4 Daragh O'Riordan/Tony McDaid (Subaru Impreza) + 1 min 06.1; 5 Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Subaru Impreza) + 1 min 47.2 secs; 6 Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Mitsubishi Lancer N) + 2 mins 54.6 secs; 7 Alan Ring/Adrian Deasy (Mitsubishi Lancer N) + 3 mins 48.4 secs; 8 Seamus Heron/Gerry McVeigh (Toyota Corolla) + 3 mins 52.2 secs; 9 Phillip Morrow/Jonny Hart (Mitsubishi Lancer N) + 3 mins 56.2 secs; 10 Garry Jennings/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer N) + 4 mins 01.4 secs.