Second place on the Sunset Rally at Nutts Corner for Belfast’s Jonny Greer (Citroen DS3R5) was enough to win the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship and deny Derek McGarrity an eighth title.
Entering the tenth and final stage Greer led by just three-tenths of a second, however, heavy rain saw him opt for a steady pace to guarantee his first major championship win.
Greer led McGarrity by half a second on the opening short stage but the latter dominated the second stage to move 3.2 seconds clear. Although Greer cut the deficit to 1.9 seconds a stage later, McGarrity pushed hard through S.S. 4 and extended his lead to 3.7 seconds.
By the halfway the margin between them was 3.3 seconds with McGarrity (Skoda Fabia R5) leading the way. Greer whittled away McGarrity’s advantage and the Belfast man went ahead on the penultimate stage. On the start line of the final stage rain dictated the outcome with Greer settling for second to clinch his inaugural championship.
Derek McGeehan (Mini WRC) netted third in the event. Antrim’s James Kennedy (Ford Escort) was the top two-wheel drive exponent, he also claimed the championship two-wheel drive title. Armoy’s John Adams (Escort) won the Historic section. Despite retiring on the sixth stage with clutch failure, Fermanagh’s Raymond Johnston (Escort) had enough points to win the NI Historic series.
Elsewhere, Youghal’s Jason Ryan (Honda Civic) won the Carrick on Suir Rallysprint at the Waterford Airport Business Park.
He led all through the six timed runs where Carrick on Suir’s James Coleman (Escort) and the BMW of Limerick’s Sean Liston were his nearest challengers.
Three fastest times allowed Ryan lead Coleman by 1.8 seconds at the half way mark with Liston third. The order was unchanged to the finish with Ryan winning out by 5.4 seconds, Coleman in second fended off a late challenge from Liston who finished 1.2 seconds further behind.
Meanwhile, Cork racer Matt Griffin and his Clearwater Racing team mates Mok Weng Sun (Malaysia) and Kieta Sawa (Japan) had to be content with fourth place in the LMGTE category of the 6 Hours of Shanghai where they lost the lead of the series.
The Aston Martin Racing outfit that included ex-F1 star Pedro Lamy went on to win the race and take the series lead — 10 points ahead of Dempsey Racing and 11 in front of Clearwater with one event remaining. In the Drivers’ series Griffin and his team mates are also third.
Maynooth’s Padraic MacHale (Hyabusa Special) won the Midland Autocross in Roscommon.
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