McGeehan’s Win Sets Up Championship Battle!

August 25, 2013 by  
Filed under R 6: Ulster Rally, Rally News

Derek McGeehan and Darragh Mullen claimed victory aboard their MINI WRC at this weekend’s Todds Leap Ulster National Rally, round six of the Carryduff Forklift MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

After an intense battle with the Mark 2 Escort belonging to Frank Kelly and Russell Harold, McGeehan emerged victorious by just 24 seconds from the chasing Ford, with Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott third in their Toyota Starlet.

The result enforces McGeehan’s second placed position in the championship standings. And with series leader Derek McGarrity failing to score after he opted to contest a separate Ulster event, McGeehan is just two points adrift of his rival with three rounds remaining. It is all to play for!

The Event

The National Rally got underway on Friday evening and it was McGeehan who was immediately on the pace in his MINI. Three seconds faster than the Impreza WRC belonging to Paddy McVeigh and Stephen O’Hanlon while Emma McKinstry and Kenny Hull were third, the Draperstown driver enjoyed the best of starts.

Through stage two it was Frank Kelly who set the pace in his Escort, jumping from seventh overall to second. One stage later, he moved into the rally lead and he maintained the advantage at the overnight halt.

Meanwhile, Derek McGeehan briefly dropped to third behind Paddy McVeigh but recovered the position through the final stage of the day to hold second overall, just 3.8 seconds behind Kelly.

McVeigh was third, 13 seconds behind the leaders, with Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott fourth ahead of Fergus O’Meara and James McNulty, while Chris Armstrong and Tommy Clinton completed the top six finishers at the end of the opening day.

Action resumed on Saturday morning and it was leader Frank Kelly who resumed where he left off with another fastest time, enforcing his position at the top of the order.

However, McGeehan refused to let him get away and a string of fastest times by the MINI pilot saw him surge to the top of the order. It was at the end of stage 11 that the Draperstown driver moved in front when Kelly was caught out on the wrong tyres. He lost over 20 seconds after an aquaplaning moment turned into an overshoot, allowing McGeehan into the top slot.

In the end, McGeehan’s winning margin was 24 seconds, leaving last year’s winner Frank Kelly to settle for second in his Mark 2 Escort. Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott were overjoyed with third overall, finishing one minute ahead of the Evo 6 belonging to Jonny Leonard and Niall Burns.

Chris Armstrong and Tommy Clinton brought their Escort home in fifth overall, with Brian Armstrong and Paul Mulholland sixth. Insurance expert Fintan McGrady and Mark Hanna claimed seventh, while Kieron Graffin and Paddy Robinson completed the top eight, taking the Group N win in the process.

The Ulster National Rally marked the final tarmac event in the season for the Carryduff Forklift N.I. Championship crews. The final three events of the series all take place on gravel, with the next round of the championship – the Lakeland Stages – based in the Fermanagh forests on Saturday 7 September.

Go Motorsport

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