Mid-way through the opening leg of the Galway International Rally, defending champion, Eugene Donnelly in his Toyota Corolla WRC leads the Subaru WRC of Tim NcNulty by 2.6 seconds with Eamonn Boland in a Ford Focus a further 32.5 seconds adrift in third.
McNulty led initially. His bravery in opting for a slick tyre on the first stage paid dividends as he opened up a lead of 12.8 seconds over Donnelly with Derek McGarrity in third.
Donnelly was the pacesetter on the second of today’s eight stages and did likewise on stages three and four. Eamonn Boland is trouble free in third place while former national champion, Peadar Hurson is enjoying a solid run in his Subaru WRC.
Derek McGarrity lost time when his Subaru took to the Galway scenery although no damage was inflicted on his new Subaru. He’s now fifth with reigning national champion, Ray Breen completing the top six.
Five times Irish tarmac champion, Austin MacHale slowed off on the opening stage when he thought he punctured his Ford Focus WRC, he occupies seventh with Andrew Nesbitt (Subaru WRC) some seven seconds behind.
Top Group N exponent, Philip Morrow (Mitsubishi) and James Foley, also in a Group N Mitsubishi, complete the top ten, a tenth of a second apart.
E. Donnelly (Toyota) 35m. 35.0s.
T. McNulty (Subaru) 35m. 37.6s.
E. Boland (Ford Focus) 36m. 10.1s.
P. Hurson (Subaru) 36m. 18.7s.
D. McGarrity (Subaru) 36m. 33.8s.
R. Breen (Ford Focus) 36m. 46.2s.
A. MacHale (Ford Focus) 36m. 57.8s.
A. Nesbitt (Subaru) 37m. 04.5s.
P. Morrow (Mitsubishi) 38m. 02.4s.
J. Foley (Mitsubishi) 38m. 02.5s.