Garry steers his way to superb treble in Lurgan Park Rally

Winners of the Lurgan Park Rally Garry Jennings and Michael Moran.
Winners of the Lurgan Park Rally Garry Jennings and Michael Moran.

Garry Jennings followed on from his superb win in Donegal to take the honours at the Lurgan Park Rally – his third win in a row at the venue.

Driving his GO Subaru World Rally Car, the Kesh driver had to pull out all the stops to record a popular victory ahead of 11-times winner Kenny McKinstry, he too was behind the wheel of a Subaru.

McKinstry put in a major effort over the closing stages in an effort to catch Jennings in an attempt to record his twelfth win in the parkland.

Derek McGeehan completed the top three with his Mini WRC, he had led the opening three special stages, and this was the same result as in 2014.

Derek McGarrity brought his Subaru WRC into fourth place, but admitted that a few mistakes had spoilt his chance of an overall win.

Stuart Biggerstaff rallying on a limited budget was delighted to bring home his Subaru WRC in fifth place and Jonny Leonard rounded off the top half dozen in a Mitsubishi Lancer.

Lisburn’s Wesley Patterson one of the leading Ford Escort drivers in Ireland won the Mk 2 Escort class which was well supported and finished eighth overall.

Other class winners included Paul Barrett who won the Group N category in a Subaru Impreza, Stephen Mawhinney was best of the Historics with his Talbot Sunbeam and the class 2 honours went to Alan Smith driving a Citroen.

Sebastien Ogier repelled his Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen’s fierce challenge to secure his second consecutive Rally Poland victory and net his fifth FIA World Rally Championship success in seven rounds.

The French driver won by 11.9 seconds after almost 300km of super-fast action in north-east Poland, leaving Mikkelsen still searching for his maiden victory.

Ott Tanak equalled his career-best result in third after Jari-Matti Latvala crashed in the final stage.

The final day was something of a short sprint featuring just the one stage, contested two times, Kris Meeke set off in pursuit of ex-F1 driver Robert Kubica in an attempt to secure two extra points for the Drivers’ Championship. Faster than his rival, he beat the Pole by 4.8 seconds on stage eighteen to close the gap to just 5.4 seconds ahead of the Power Stage and after setting the fastest time on the final stage at that point, Meeke then saw Kubica pick up a puncture, therefore gained another place to finish seventh overall.

The organising North Armagh Motor Club, supported by the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council put in a massive organisational effort, with safety and security the priority.

Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally Top Ten: 1st Garry Jennings/Michael Moran (Impreza WRC) 15.42.5; 2nd Kenny McKinstry/Michael Gilmore (Impreza WRC) +0m 06.8s; 3rd Derek McGeehan/Laurie Smyth (Mini WRC) +0m 10.7s; 4th Derek McGarrity/Alan Beattie (Impreza WRC) +0m 25.0s; 5th Stuart Biggerstaff/Stephen Jess (Impreza WRC) +0m 33.0s; 6th Jonny Leonard/Geraldine Leonard (Lancer) +0m 54.6s; 7th Pat O’Connell/Mark Wiley (Lancer) +1m 00.7s; 8th Wesley Patterson/Johnny Baird (Escort) +1m 05.0s; 9th Ray Brammer/Mo Downey (Impreza WRC) +1m 05.1s; 10th Denis Biggerstaff/Adam Carson (Metro 6R4) +1m 06.9s.

Class Winners: - CL1 Paul Barrett/Declan Tumilty (Impreza N): CL2 Alan Smyth/Richard Kinloch (Citroen C2R2): CL3 Alastair Cochrane/Jason Craig (Escort): CL4 Wesley Patterson/Johnny Baird (Escort): CL5 Jonny Leonard/Geraldine Leonard (Lancer): CL6 Garry Jennings/Michael Moran (Impreza WRC): CL7 (Historics) Stephen Mawhinney/Alex Couples (Sunbeam): CL8 (Historics) Drew Wylie/James Leckey (Escort).