UNOFFICIAL LEADERBOARD AFTER STAGE 1 Nowen Hill 1st (2) Michael Barrable/Deermot O'Gorman (Impreza WRC) 9.26 2nd (3) Melvyn Evans/Alun Davies (Escort WRC) 9.32 3rd (5) Kenny McKinstry/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC) 9.33 4th (6) Liam McCarthy/Kieran...
UNOFFICIAL LEADERBOARD AFTER STAGE 1 Nowen Hill
1st (2) Michael Barrable/Deermot O'Gorman (Impreza WRC) 9.26
2nd (3) Melvyn Evans/Alun Davies (Escort WRC) 9.32
3rd (5) Kenny McKinstry/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC) 9.33
4th (6) Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Corolla WRc) 9.38
5th (4) John & Caroline Price (Metro 6R4) 9.40
6th (11) Ollie O'Donovan/David Moynihan (Impreza) 9.43
7th (14) Cathal Arthurs/Bob Kelly (Celica) 9.46
8th (7) Patrick Elliott/Sean Moriarty (Impreza) 9.49
9th (9) Denis Cronin/Helen O'Sullivan (BMW M3) 9.56
(10) Bob Fowden/Jerry Hynes (Lancer N) 9.56
Wet slippery conditions greeted the drivers on the first stage of this Fastnet Rally, but at least the overnight storm had drifted on over the Irish Sea to be replaced by watery sunshine. First on the road, Michael Barrable, looked coolly determined at the end of the first stage, and reported no problems. Second on the road, Melvyn Evans, told of a bit of a hairy moment and he eased off a bit afterwards. The Welshman is of course bidding to win the Get Connected series here in Skibbereen. John Price reported no problems, nor did Kenny McKinstry or Liam McCarthy.
Cavan man Patrick Elliott felt he was being too cautious. Frank O'Mahony was on his first run in a world rally car, and looked distinctly shaky at stage finish, and said "The car feels so wide, it's a baptism of fire". Co-driver Hugh McPhillips laughed and said "Without the flames!"
Bob Fowden is the first gpN car on the road and he survived a spin to still set a very impressive time. Damien Cole is also in gpN and he was nearly a minute slower than Fowden, Cole complaining of no turbo boost. Kieran Molloy is 3rd gpN on the road and he recorded a time of 10.31, seemed to have a bit of a problem but wouldn't specify what it was. Denis Cronin is the first 2 wheel drive car on the road, and although Denis is on his home patch here, the best he could manage was 9.56, his BMW M3 a real handful on the wet roads. Kieran O'Neill in the Kadett had a 10.02 and that was despite catching Molloy on the stage. Phil Collins was another to have a good run, his Mk2 Escort stopping the clocks on 10.05, Phil feeling that he had softened the rear suspension just a bit too much, and the Escort was a tad wayward on the jumps.
Major retirements so far include Barry Coleman and Don Butler. Both their Subarus stopped in the stage, reason unknown. Some further times from that first stage include Tommy Graham on 10.08, on his first run after his accident earlier in the season. Sean Gallagheer was 10.05. Anthony O'Halloran did 10.19, having lost a few seconds getting past Don Butler's stricken Subaru. Nigel Hicklin, a top contestant in both the 023 Tiles series and the Get Connected, was on 10.16. Jer O'Donovan on his first run in his new Escort WRC was 10.18. Andrew Haddon, debuting a new SEAT Super Kit Car was on 10.46, Tom Randles, having had a spin at the hairpin, 10.42. More news later.