Derek McGarrity heads entry for TNR Alusystems Tour of the Sperrins Rally

(Image: Grainne O’Kane) More than 100 crews are set to contest this Saturday’s TNR Alusystems Tour of the Sperrins Rally, round four of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship.

Based at Walsh’s Hotel, Maghera, this year’s event returns to its closed road format with two loops of three stages. Starting at 10am in Maghera, competitors will tackle three stages before returning to the town for service shortly after 1pm.

Crews will then tackle a further three stages before returning to the Walsh’s Hotel finish ramp where the winners will be crowned at 5.25pm.

“Many months of hard work have gone into the preparation for this event,” said Clerk of the Course, James McKeefrey. “I cannot thank or praise enough the army of volunteers who have assisted, from rally officials to marshals and timekeepers.”

“A special thanks goes out to the neighbouring clubs who have offered assistance as well as the residents on the special stages, Magherafelt and District Council and the PSNI.”

Reigning champion Derek McGarrity tops the entry in his Subaru Impreza WRC. He currently holds the joint series lead with Stuart Biggerstaff, who has been seeded just outside the top 10.

Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan start the event at number two in their Ford Focus WRC. Kelly was forced to retire from round three with oil pressure problems but those issues have now been cured so he is hoping to enjoy a trouble free rally.

Declan McNaughton, who narrowly missed out on victory in 2009, is seeded at number three in his Mark 2 Escort. He heads Draperstown’s Camillus Bradley, while Raymond Johnston is the top seed in the Sunoco Fuels Group N category.

George Robinson and Tommy Speers complete the top six entrants with their Subaru Impreza WRC, while the remainder of the top 10 seeds are all Mark 2 Escort competitors.

Further down the order, there is a selection of Montgomery Motorsport Historic crews, with Gary Owens and Ciaran Donnelly topping the entry ahead of Tommy O’Connell and Sean Magee.

Plenty of thrills are guaranteed and spectators are welcome to come along and catch some of the spectacular action. Programmes, which include stage maps, are available to purchase from shops in the Maghera area, and more details can be found online at www.nirally.com and www.madmc.org.

TNR Alusystems Tour of the Sperrins Rally – top 10 entries

1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC)
2 Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Focus WRC)
3 Declan McNaughton/Sean Hayde (Escort Mk2)
4 Camillus Bradley/Danny O’Neill (Escort Mk2)
5 Raymond Johnston/TBA (Lancer Evo 9)
6 George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Impreza WRC)
7 Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Escort Mk2)
8 Seamus O’Connell/TBA (Escort Mk2)
9 John Waring/Alan Whyte (Escort Mk2)
10 David Armstrong/John Rowland (Escort)

Go Motorsport

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