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Ulster Rally - 3-4 Sep 04

Posted: September 6, 2004 4:25 PM - 7399 Hits

AnswerCall Direct Ulster Rally - 3 September - 4 September

Round 7 - 2004 Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship
Counting Round: British Rally Championship

Photo: Seamus Counihan

Mark Higgins/Mike Gibson wins as McGarrity runs under appeal

Posted: September 6, 2004 4:25 PM

Manx-born Mark Higgins (Ford) has won the Armagh based AnswerCall Direct Ulster Rally, round seven of the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Driving a Ford Focus, he took a start to finish victory from Ulsterman Eugene Donnelly (Maghera). Higgins last won the event in 1997, the same year that he lifted the British Rally Championship title.

Higgins said: "After only getting the call to drive the car two weeks ago, to go on and win the Ulster is fantastic! It's great to be back in the British Championship."

Eugene Donnelly (Toyota) has boosted his chances of lifting the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Championship title with second position.

Donnelly inherited second after Armagh's Andrew Nesbitt (Subaru) crashed while challenging for the lead. Rathcoole's Austin MacHale (Ford) finished third and is the first Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship registered competitor to cross the finish line. He is second in the championship, one point behind series leader David Higgins (Hyundai) who recovered from driveshaft problems to finish ninth.

Jonny Milner's hopes of retaining the Championship title faded after he crashed on day two. The Yorkshire Subaru driver needs a good result at his home event, the Trackrod Rally, to keep his dreams of a hat-trick of titles alive.

Irishman Dessie Keenan won the Production category by 24 seconds from Ulsterman Dickie Curran, both driving Mitsubishis. Welshman Sebastian Ling held second after day one but crashed during day two.

Welshman Gwyndaf Evans (Ford) made a successful return to the Championship with Super 1600 victory. The former British Rally Champion held off Darlington's Guy Wilks (Suzuki) to win by 1.4 seconds.

Wilks said: "With three stages to go we were only six seconds behind Gwyndaf so we decided to make an honest man out of him. We took three seconds off him on the next stage but I didn't want to take any risks as I wanted maximum championship points."

The AnswerCall Direct Ulster Rally was hosted by Armagh in Northern Ireland. Competitors faced 135 miles of timed stages and of the 59 starters, 28 crews reached the finish.

1 Mark Higgins/Mike Gibson (Ford Focus WRC)
2 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Toyota Corolla WRC)
3 Austin MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
4 Tim McNulty/Eugene O'Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
5 Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
6 Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin (Ford Focus WRC)
7 David Higgins/Daniel Barritt (Hyundai Accent WRC)
8 Gwyndaf Evans/Huw Lewis (Ford Puma S1600)
9 Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Suzuki Ignis S1600)
10 Sean Devine/Brendan Connor (Subaru Impreza WRC)
Total for Derek McGarrity/Dermot O'Gorman =
Derek McGarrity & Dermot O'Gorman to run under appeal
Issued on behalf of the Northern Ireland Motor Club

Regarding the Stewards meeting held in the Armagh City Hotel (Rally HQ) at 20:00hrs on Thursday 2nd September:

The Stewards of the Meeting have excluded Derek McGarrity and Dermot O'Gorman (car number 1) from the competition for a breach of the regulations covering the event.

This decision was issued at 23:00hrs, 2nd September 2004.

After considering the evidence (including examination of event documentation) the Stewards were satisfied that an offence had been committed in the Messers McGarrity and O'Gorman contravened event regulation 10.3.1 by driving over part of a Special Stage before the start of Official Reconnaissance.

The parties have exercised their right of appeal under the International Sporting Code (section 152 etc sec).

This mean that subject to the approval of a starting order by the Stewards the crew may drive in the event but will not be included in the official classification, results, prize-giving and podium ceremonies.

As the matter is subject of an appeal no further comment can be issued.

Topics: Ulster Rally 

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