Title Battle Resumes at Lakeland Stages!

The Carryduff Forklift MSA N.I Stage Rally Championship bursts back into action this Saturday with the penultimate round of the 2012 series, the BJT Commercials and Plant Hire Lakeland Stages Rally.

Organised by Enniskillen Motor Club, stages will be based in the County Fermanagh forests with the headquarters based at Enniskillen Gaels Club, although the rally will start from Fisher Engineering, Ballinamallard, at 10am on Saturday.

The event could prove pivotal in the outcome of this year’s Carryduff Forklift series. Derek McGarrity currently heads the standings but his rivals have played catch-up after he failed to score at the Mourne and Ulster rallies.

Nonetheless, McGarrity’s lead still stands at a healthy 11 points, with Derek McGeehan in second position, just two points ahead of Drew Stewart. All three crews have already dropped two scores, and with championship regulations stating that the best seven scores count towards overall results, another retirement for any of them could prove disastrous for their championship hopes.

McGarrity, McGeehan and Stewart all still have a chance of lifting the 2012 title but the odds are certainly stacked in McGarrity’s favour. In fact, victory at the Lakeland event would allow him to clinch the prestigious trophy with one round remaining.

The Glengormley driver is listed to drive a Subaru Impreza WRC at the forestry event which has attracted more than 50 crews, while challenger Derek McGeehan will wheel out his MINI WRC. Meanwhile, Drew Stewart may struggle to match the pace of his rivals on the loose surfaces with his two-wheel-drive Mark 2 Escort.

Also joining the mix will be British Rally Championship regular, Jonny Greer. Son of Carryduff Forklift owner David Greer, Jonny will wheel out a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 on this occasion and could feature prominently within the top 10.

Enda McNulty, the recent Davagh Sunset Stages winner, also returns to action in his Impreza, although he may struggle against the more modern machinery on this occasion. Englishman Ray Brammer returns to the series in his Impreza WRC, while Strabane’s Martin Cairns is also set to wheel out an Impreza.

Garry Jennings is perhaps a surprise addition to the Lakeland field. He has won a number of Irish forestry events this year, and will be a strong contender for the rally win in his Group A Impreza.

Meanwhile, WRC Academy contender, Alastair Fisher, is another notable two-wheel-drive entrant. He is amongst a strong 2WD field that also includes entertainer Frank Kelly, and organisers have pulled out all of the stops to cater for the clubmen.

All two-wheel-drive classes, up to 1650cc, will run first on the road ahead of the ‘big guns’. Spectators will also have the opportunity to see a five litre Bowler Wildcat in action, which will run as the final safety car before the powerful four-wheel-drive crews hit the stages.

The event organisers have also teamed up with the Lakeland Special Olympic Squad, who will be selling programmes at scrutiny in Fisher’s yard, Ballinamallard, this Friday from 7-9pm, and again between 7-9am on Saturday.

Go Motorsport

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