Belfast Telegraph

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Jennings turns on the style for French victory

 

By Sammy Hamill

It is 16 years since Garry Jennings last competed in France but he bridged the gap to win the Rallye du Bethunois, a round of the French national tarmac championship.

The former Irish Tarmac champion dominated the rally, he and co-driver Rory Kennedy in their WRC Subaru Impreza S12 taking the lead on Saturday morning and steadily pulling ahead to become the first overseas crew to win the Pas de Calais based event.

Jennings last appeared in France back in 2002 as a junior in the Peugeot Cup but after crashing out of the Donegal International in June he decided to look for a different challenge rather than continue in the Irish series.

He admitted he didn't know what to expect against a line-up of French national competitors as well as Citroen factory driver Stephane Lefebvre in a WRC Citroen Xsara. Lefebvre won last year but he was an early casualty, his Citroen retiring on the second stage with engine failure.

From that point Jennings took control, building a 24 second advantage by Saturday evening and maintaining the gap through yesterday's stages.

Marc Amourette in a Peugeot 208 T16 took second place with Christophe Wilt in an R5 Skoda Fabia snatching third from the WRC Ford Fiesta of Christian Vincent.

"Not knowing what to expect I started fairly cautiously but then started to get a feel for the rally and enjoy it," said Jennings. "It was a great rally, well run and in a lovely part of northern France."

Jennings is now expected to make another trip to the continent for the RallyLegends event in San Marino next month when Kris Meeke will make his first appearance since being sacked by Citroen after crashing out of Rally Portugal in May.

Meanwhile, Jonny Greer finished in third place in the Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland.

The 2017 Northern Ireland champion, partnered by Liam Regan in his R5 Ford Fiesta in place of regular co-driver Kirsty Riddick who was part of the organising team, finished 50 seconds down on the winning R5 Skoda Fabia of multi Scottish champion David Bogie and his Ulster co-driver John Rowan.

Gary Pearson was second in another R5 Fiesta.

At Kirkistown, Adrian ­Pollock in his F3 Dallara set fastest time in the Larne round of the NI sprint championship to edge out the Pilbeam of John Morgan.

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