McGeehan swoops for late victory
Thursday, 5 January 2017
THREE different leaders over the course of six spectator friendly stages demonstrated just how open the end-of-season Turkey Run Rally proved to be at a cold - and largely dry - Shackleton complex.
Two World Rally Cars and the latest R5 specification Skoda Fabia headed up the leaderboard on an event that threw up every conceivable challenge for the ninety or so crews that started the meeting.
At the finish it was Derek McGeehan and Martin McNicholl who were left to celebrate a hard fought victory at the Maiden City Motor Club event. Fastest times on both the penultimate and closing tests proved the difference as they turned a 1.3sec deficit into a 1.2sec buffer to deny Joseph McGonigle.
For McGeehan - a winner of the same event in the same car in 2013 - it was the perfect way to sign off the season. "I knew I really had to push on the last two if I was to stand any chance of winning," he told Chronicle Sport. "We lost ground to the leaders on stage two because the timing beam was broken and we were awarded a time five seconds slower. But apart from that everything went well."
The event got underway with a familiar name dictating the early pace; seven times Northern Ireland champion Derek McGarrity threaded his Ford Fiesta WRC through the perimeter roads four seconds up on McGeehan with his brother Alan McGeehan a provisional third in another Mini Countryman WRC.
A timing glitch on the day's second special stage allowed Barry Morris - the leading two-wheel-drive contender - to make up ten places on the rest of the field and demote Derek McGeehan to third.
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