National Rally leader Ian Barrett says he has to keep the focus today as he bids to stave off the attention of Kevin Gallagher.
There’s a huge battle between the Darrians of Barrett and Gallagher.
Barrett is the CEO of the rally sponsors Joule, but says all his attention this week has been on the competition.
Barrett – who has Milford-based Garda Sergeant Paul McGee on the notes – has 33.8 seconds to spare on Gallagher and Noel O’Sullivan.
“I’ve extracted myself out from the other side,” Barrett said.
“I did carlow as a test. I planned to come up this week and do the proper recce and I did that with Paul this week.
“I don’t even know what’s going on, to be honest, but I’ve been told it’s brilliant. I’ve seen the crowds on the stages, so I know it’s going great.”
A hairy moment on a chicane on the Trentagh stage yesterday served as a reminder to Barrett to keep the cool.
He said: “It’s going well. We made a mistake on Trentagh that we didn’t want to do the second time around. We want to conserve the lead but still stay on it. We’ll keep at it.
“Kevin’s putting the pressure on, but we’re doing our own thing. We’re grand. We’re fine.
“I took it handy a bit yesterday and the concentration was wavering. I have to keep it steady. All told, if we’re quick enough to win, we’re quick enough to win.
“Kevin’s pushing hard. He’s a fine lad. He builds engines for us and he’s 110 per cent. It’s best man for he win today.”