UNOFFICIAL LEADERBOARD AFTER STAGE 6 1st (1) Niall Maguire/Paul McLaughlin (Impreza WRC) 50.39 2nd (4) Patrick Elliott/Sean Moriarty (Impreza) 52.28 3rd (11) Sean Gallagher/Liam Costello (Escort Cos) 52.48 4th (8) Hugh Dunne/Derek Brannigan ...
UNOFFICIAL LEADERBOARD AFTER STAGE 6
1st (1) Niall Maguire/Paul McLaughlin (Impreza WRC) 50.39
2nd (4) Patrick Elliott/Sean Moriarty (Impreza) 52.28
3rd (11) Sean Gallagher/Liam Costello (Escort Cos) 52.48
4th (8) Hugh Dunne/Derek Brannigan (Impreza WRC) 52.58
5th (9) Denis Cronin/Helen O'Sullivan (BMW M3) 52.59
6th (5) David Armstrong/Herbie Blackburn (Esc.Cos) 53.29
7th (3) Ollie O'Donovan/David Moynihan (Hyundai WRC) 53.50
8th (24) James & Paul McCann (Esc.Cos) 54.06
9th (12) Ed Synan/Kieran Cusack (Impreza) 54.11
10th (25) Stephen Bird/Dominic Downey (Escort) 54.58
Niall Maguire's lead on this Clare Stages is starting to look ever more substantial, and indeed the Monaghan man now has the luxury of being able to ease back in some of the more difficult places. He told us after stage 6 "I wasn't as aggressive over the jumps that time, but every lift-off of course costs a couple of seconds". The same jumps caused a crack to appear on Patrick Elliott's windscreen, while Sean Gallagher told us that since his Escort Cosworth suffered a really heavy landing after those same crests and jumps, a vibration has come into the car. Sean's co-driver Liam Costello, only half joking, chirped in "And a vibration in my neck as well!". Hugh Dunne was equal 3rd after stage 4, and said himself that he is disappointed that his times weren't a little bit better after stages 5 and 6. "I'm driving her on rightly" observed the Naas man.
We reported on the last RallyNews that there was no sign of James McCann at the end of stage 4 - his Escort Cosworth came through eventually, James having stopped to change a punctured tyre at the start of the test. He reports no problems over the last few stages. Ollie O'Donovan arrived into service late, his Hyundai having suffered a turbo waste gate problem towards the end of the Ruan stage. Ollie managed to get it sorted, but then was a fraction slower through stage 6, as he was running late on the road and behind slower cars. Liam McCarthy is setting a reasonable pace now in his Corolla WRC, but at the same time not breaking any records as the engine temperature warning light is flashing in the digital display. Denis Cronin is still doing a fantastic job in the BMW M3. Denis was 2nd fastest overall through Ruan - quite a sight and sound - but then lost a few seconds in stage 6 when he spun the BMW over gravel at a junction following a long fast straight. There is no sign of Tim Randles here at service. We have an unconfirmed report that his bright orange Escort has broken a halfshaft. In Group N Martin Brady has edged ahead of Gerard McKieran by 4s, unofficially we reckon Martin's Escort Cosworth is in 11th place on 54.58. Gerard McKieran 55.02. In the Ford Focus category there is a brilliantly close battle - after stage 5 Oliver Stanley was just 4s ahead of Colm Murphy.