Gass Grabs Mourne Glory!

Darren Gass and Enda Sherry secured victory at Saturday’s Modern Tyre Service Mourne Rally, round five of the 2013 Carryduff Forklift MSA ANICC Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship. They brought their Subaru Impreza WRC to the finish line more than one minute ahead of the Focus WRC belonging to Derek McGarrity and James McKee, with Paddy McVeigh and Paul Hamill third.

From the outset it was Markethill’s Darren Gass who dominated, taking fastest times on the opening loop of the Black Hill, Deadmans Hill and Ballydougherty stages. Derek McGarrity settled into second, on his first event in a newly acquired Focus WRC, which had been used in Belgium. A couple of stalls and an overshoot meant that he was already nearly 30 seconds off the lead at first service.

In a surprise third place was Paddy McVeigh on his third event in a WRC Subaru, the Brantry man having used Group N machines in the past. Next up was Maynooth man Kevin Barrett, looking for a good finish here after retirement on the previous Sperrins round, then Derek McGeehan in the Mini WRC, who admitted to be slightly off the pace.

Sixth overall was two wheel drive leader Davy Armstrong in his MK2 Escort, who led the similar machine of Frank Kelly by six seconds, with Adrian Hetherington next up in eighth. The drama in this class started on stage one, with the demise of Camillus Bradley who rolled his Escort, and Hetherington was soon to depart the fray with a broken clutch.

Jim Feenan in his Escort WRC was ninth and Jonny Leonard tenth in his Group A Evo 6. He had been lying as high as third, but a broken driveshaft dropped the Fermanagh driver back on stage three.

Group N leader at this point was event sponsor Rory Byrne in his Evo 10, but he was set to retire on the final stage, handing the category victory to local man Damien Toner.

Little was to change at the top of the leaderboard through the remainder of the event as 24-year-old Darren Gass powered away from the field. Derek McGarrity lost further time on stage four with two stalls, but maintained his second place to the finish, ahead of Paddy McVeigh in a fine third.

Kevin Barrett was very happy to get a good finish and take some championship points in fourth, just ahead of the frenetic two wheel drive battle. It was Frank Kelly who took the honours in fifth overall, just three seconds in front of Davy Armstrong in his MK2, both loving these superb twisting stages.

Derek McGeehan dropped to seventh behind this big race with the Mini WRC, admitting to be slightly off the pace. Then there was a bigger gap to Jonny Leonard in the Evo 6 in eighth, Keith White in his 2.5 litre MK1 Escort ninth and former outright winner Norman Armstrong in tenth with his MK2.

1 Darren Gass / Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC S10) 1:13:30.8
2 Derek McGarrity / James McKee (Ford Focus WRC) +1:08.9
3 Paddy McVeigh / Paul Hamill (Subaru Impreza WRC S10) +2:10.0
4 Kevin Barrett / Sean Mulally (Subaru Impreza WRC S11) +2:39.0
5 Frank Kelly / Stephen Quinn (Ford Escort MK2) +3:08.5
6 David Armstrong / Paul Mulholland (Ford Escort MK2) +3:12.0
7 Derek McGeehan / Michael Orr (Mini JCW WRC) +3:15.7
8 Jonny Leonard / Niall Burns (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) +5:06.8
9 Keith White / Damien McCabe (Ford Escort MK2) +5:44.9
10 Norman Armstrong / Lisa Allen (Ford Escort MK2) +7:04.4

Go Motorsport

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you think...

You must be logged in to post a comment.