McGarrity punched in the best times on the opening loop and led McNulty by 18.4secs at the Antrim service halt. Gass, in third, was followed by Midleton’s, Daragh O’Riordan (Subaru WRC), who selected an intermediate tyre when slicks transpired to be the better option.
McNulty took a gamble on tyre choice on the first two stages of the repeat loop and he cut the deficit to just 2.2secs — although McGarrity stalled on the start line of SS4. On last night’s final stage, McNulty made a slight error — but it cost him dear — as he slipped almost 20 seconds off the lead.
Meanwhile, in Rally Northern Ireland, Fermanagh’s, Garry Jennings (Mitsubishi) is 27.9secs ahead of the Citroen DS3 of Derry’s Marty McCormack, with Longford’s, Tommy Doyle (Renault Clio) 32.2secs adrift in third.
On the opening loop, Kerry’s Alan Ring stopped on the stage; Elfyn Evans (Mitsubishi) punctured and Mark Donnelly (Renault Clio) had electrical woes.
1. D McGarrity/J McKee (Subaru WRC) 42:09.7; 2. T McNulty/P Kiely (Subaru WRC) 42:29.0; 3. D Gass/E Sherry (Subaru WRC) 43:34.0; 4. D O’Riordan/T McDaid (Subaru WRC) 44:12.8; 5. K Barrett/S Mullally (Subaru WRC) 45:11.6.
1. G Jennings/R Kennedy (Mitsubishi) 43:46.4; 2. M McCormack/D Moynihan (Citroen DS3) 44:14.3; 3. T Doyle/L Moynihan (Renault Clio) 44:46.5; 4. D Bogie/K Rae (Mitsubishi) 44:54.1; 5. S Moffett/J O’Reilly (Mitsubishi) 45:19.8; 6. C Black/P Wakely (Suzuki Swift) 45:49.2; 7. J Greer/D Roberts (Skoda Fabia S2000) 45:49.9.