After the conclusion of the eight stages of the first leg of the Murphy Construction Cork “20” International Rally, Tim McNulty/Anthony Nestor in a Subaru WRC hold a 28 second lead over the Subaru WRC of Derek McGarrity/Dermot O’Gorman.
The Toyota Corolla WRC of Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely a further four seconds behind in third place.
McNulty was the star performer on the early stages and that gave him the advantage over his rivals.
However, he did have to overcome brake problems and like many others - tyre selection difficulties.
Of the eight stages in the Macroom region, the Meath driver was quickest on four of the special stages.
McGarrity is staying in touch but the Glengormley driver knows he must deliver a win to have any realistic chance of taking another Irish Tarmac title.
His title adversary, Eugene Donnelly, is ideally placed and expressed satisfaction with his performance that saw the Derry driver deliver two fastest stage times, illustrating that he isn’t content to hang around.
Fourth placed Eamonn Boland (Ford Focus) is trouble free followed by the Toyota Corolla WRC of Pieter Tsjoen, the Belgian punching in fastest time on the day’s penultimate stage.
Former triple winner of the Cork “20”, Austin MacHale was the quickest driver through S.S. 8 to hold sixth place at the overnight halt. The puncture on the opening stage damaged the rear differentials that were locked for the next three stages.
Denis Cronin (Subaru WRC) is the top Cork driver, he is seventh in a top ten that also includes Group N leader, Colm Murphy (Subaru); Garry Jennings (Mitsubishi) and Nigel Hicklin (Subaru WRC).
The day’s principal retirements were Donal O’Donovan, his Toyota suffered differential failure; fellow West Cork driver, Liam McCarthy (Toyota Corolla WRC) slid off on the penultimate stage and Belgian ace, Tim van Parijs in a Mitsubishi retired on S.S. 6.