McKinstry faultless as he claims Kirkistown triumph
Kenny McKinstry was a comfortable winner of the first rally of 2011, the New Year Stages at Kirkistown, but for much of the way the former Northern Ireland champion was matched by another Subaru Impreza from his Banbridge stable, this one in the hands of 2009 Kirkistown winner Alan Carmichael.
They were tied for top place just after half distance, but a couple of minor overshoots by Carmichael on stage five allowed McKinstry some breathing space going into the final stage. Then, in his efforts to close the gap, Carmichael stalled his Subaru, allowing McKinstry to run out a clear winner by 14 seconds.
Carmichael, in fact, dropped back to finish level with George Robinson, but still took second place on a tie-break.
John McGaffin made it three McKinstry-run Subarus in the top four with Kenny’s daughter Emma bringing a fourth car home in seventh place just ahead of the production category winner Mark Massey in Robbie McGurks’s Group N Impreza.
Circuit of Ireland winner Derek McGarrity elected to drive an Evo 10 production Mitsubishi and was in the top six until a driveshaft broke and he was forced to retire after stage three.
New Year Stages: 1. K McKinstry/A Nicholl (Subaru Impreza) 1456s; 2. A Carmichael/I Lamont (Subaru Impreza) 1470s; 3 G Robinson/T Speers (Subaru Impreza) 1470s; 4. J McGaffin/L McGaffin (Subaru Impreza) 1482s; 5. D McNeill/M Carey (Ford Escort) 1482s; 6. G White/A Purdy (Subaru Impreza) 1485s; 7. E McKinstry/K Hull (Subaru Impreza) 1486s; 8. M Massey/D McDermott (Subaru Impreza) 1487s; 9. D Biggerstaff/G Stewart (Subaru Impreza) 1490s; 10. K Graffin/V Fergus (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1492s.