Kenny McKinstry gets off to perfect start by winning Icebreaker Rally
Kenny McKinstry started 2016 by adding yet another victory to his vast list, winning the Icebreaker Rally in the Co Antrim forests by more than 40 seconds in his S14 Subaru.
The multi-champion from Banbridge was quick to acknowledge the performance of a driver just starting out on his career, 18-year-old Patrick O'Brien who finished in second place.
Making his first appearance in a four-wheel-drive car, an aging Mitsubishi Evo 6, the Irish junior forestry champion from Omagh proved to be the star of the day, mastering the wet, slippery conditions and setting fastest times on the final two stages to snatch second place.
Phillip Morrow was the leader after the first of the six stages but McKinstry took over at the front, blitzing the field with a time 41 seconds faster than anyone else over the seven miles of Slieveanorra, to lead from the Escort of Oran Donnelly. McKinstry was able to ease back on the final loop to win comfortably.
But young O’Brien charged through the final two stages, climbing from fourth to second and edging out Sinclair by just over a second.
Adrian Hetherington was fourth and best of the two-wheel-drive cars in his Ford Escort with Niall Henry taking fifth in his Mitsubishi and Seamus O’Connell sixth in another Escort.