GARRY JENNINGS AND Rory Kennedy are in a position of real command at the end of day one at the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally.
Kesh driver Jennings, with Letterkenny’s Kennedy calling the notes in the Subaru, hold a lead of two minutes 27.7 seconds Citroen of Keith Cronin with six special stages remaining tomorrow.
It has been a day of drama and departures in the west.
Tim McNulty’s Mini spun and hit a rock to confirm his exit on the first corner of today’s nine stages. It set the tone.
Donegal’s Declan Boyle and Declan Gallagher have both had teeth-chattering experiences that ended their involvement.
Boyle had a big moment on stage 4 that he survived and was in second place when he went off on the sixth stage, the car clipping a tree on a left-hander over a bridge.
It meant that Jennings and Kennedy – quickest on all bar one of today’s stages – have left the rest in their slipstream.
After stage 1, Jennings flexed the muscles when he opened up a 6.8 second advantage. Many crews were blocked by McNulty’s accident and the event was running around 45 minutes behind scheduled for the afternoon.
By the end of the third stage, Jennings and Kennedy led by 21.4 seconds.
On the second loop of Corbally Beg, Boyle looked like he was making a move, but he was soon left to a watching brief after crashing out in extremely testing conditions.
Declan Gallagher and Ryan Moore swapped the Starlet for a Subaru for this event and were leading the modified category when they crashed out on a tightening left-hand corner on stage five.
They were over a minute ahead of Eugene Meehan’s BMW when their event – their first in the Jennings–owned Impreza – came to an end, but both driver and co-driver were ok.
Lurgan’s Wesley Patterson has Letterkenny native Johnny Baird on the pacenotes in the Mk2 Escort and at the overnight halt are just 1.8 seconds behind Meegan and Sarah Whelan, with their battle resuming in the morning.
This was despite Patterson encountering alternator problems on stage 9, but as they headed for Parc Ferme were well in the hunt.
In the main field, Joseph McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney are 10th in the S2000 Skoda, while Kilmacrennan’s Paddy Robinson is co-driver for David Guest who leads Group N after day one.
Patrick McHugh and Pauric O’Donnell from Dungloe are into fifth in the modified category.
Marty Gallagher and Dean O’Sullivan are third in class two after today’s action, with Ardara’s John Watters and Shane O’Donnell leading class 9.Tags: