Darren Gass wins Lurgan Park Rally!

Last Saturday’s Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally was won by Armagh’s Darren Gass, with 11 times winner Kenny McKinstry 2nd and Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity 3rd, all three driving Subaru Impreza World Rally Cars.

For 22 year old Gass, a former British Junior Rally Champion and Pirelli Star Driver, this was his first win in Lurgan Park. The rally has had many illustrious names on the winner’s trophy since the event’s inception in 1980 and Darren Gass is the youngest winner.

Multiple Circuit of Ireland winner Derek McGarrity led through the morning stages, but stalled his Subaru at a tight corner on the first afternoon stage. Although he only lost a couple of seconds, Glengormley man McGarrity slipped to third. That’s how tight it was at the top.

The battle for the lead then was between seasoned campaigner McKinstry and newcomer Gass. Kenny drove brilliantly through the afternoon’s tests, in his own words ‘ticking all the boxes’, but Gass had the edge. Although denied his 12th win, ‘King of the Park’ Kenny had one consolation in that Gass was driving one of Kenny’s ‘Hire Subarus’.

Gass did have one lucky escape in stage 5 when his Subaru slid very wide, off the course, and he had to hurl the car over the grass, back on track. In the process he went to the wrong side of a bale, which could have incurred a penalty, but the officials deemed it a racing incident which gained him no real advantage.

Interestingly, Darren was left without a co-driver the night before the rally and at midnight enlisted his cousin Nathan, who had no real rally experience.

Current Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly made his first rally outing of the year and finished a creditable fourth, driving his old Corolla WRC. Donnelly was also promoting the Children’s Hearbeat Trust associated with the Clark Clinic and children with serious heart conditions.

Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings had a quiet enough run by his standards and brought his Subaru to the finish unscathed in fifth. Wesley Patterson from Lisburn had a giant killing run in his Ford Escort Mk2 to finish 6th o/a and win his class.

There were many shapes and sizes of cars in the Park for the rally and in particular some classic GpB rally machinery. It all added up to a great day’s entertainment for the huge crowd of spectators who turned up. Despite some heavy rain before the rally the Park stayed as pristine as ever, a real credit to Craigavon Borough Council.

Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally Top Ten:-

1st Darren Gass/Nathan Gass (Impreza WRC) 15.27.0
2nd Kenny & Emma McKinstry (Impreza WRC) 15.28.3
3rd Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 15.30.1
4th Eugene Donnelly/Daragh Mullen (Corolla WRC) 15.34.2
5th Garry Jennings/Damien McPartland (Impreza WRC) 15.40.7
6th Wesley Patterson/Martin McGarrity (Escort) 16.20.7
7th Brian O’Mahony/John Higgins (Metro 6R4) 16.26.6
8th Mark Massey/Paul McKenna (Impreza N) 16.30.5
9th Gary White/Alan Purdy (Subaru) 16.34.1
10th Kieron Graffin/Vincent Fergus (Lancer N) 16.41.8

Issued by: Brian & Liz Patterson
Patterson Agencies Ltd: Email: PATTPACE@aol.com

Filed Under: Event news

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