Mike Faulkner continues to lead the Merrick Rally after 5 of the day’s 6 stages. Robbie Head has closed the gap to 7 seconds – from 8 seconds! So it’s all a bit close and tense out there.
Faulkner leads on 30m 49s from Head (30m 56s) and Jonny Greer (31m 23s). “The last time I was out on gravel was the Pirelli,” said Jonny, “so this was just to get a bit of gravel practice ahead of the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire. The Mitsubishi is bigger and heavier than the Fabia S2000 and handles completely different, but it’s still good to get out on the gravel.”
Fourth is Wayne Sisson (31m 40s) but is worried about his head gasket and fifth is Euan Thorburn (32m 05s) fighting his way back up the order after his first stage problem. “The diff pump’s not working now,” said Euan, “so the car’s handling is a bit interesting!”
Chris Collie is sixth (32m 15s) from Dougal Brown (32m 28s) who is also worried about head gasket problems. Mark McCulloch is next up (32m 33s) from Andrew Gallacher (32m 41s).
Liam Regan is enjoying himself in the interesting Peugeot 206 4WD. “I was told about Glentrool before I came over here,” he said, “you have to be seriously committed to get a good time in here right enough. And I’m just not committed enough.” Finding that out the hard way is Donnie MacDonald. He’s out having gone straight on over a crest in Glentrool South.
David Bogie was an interested spectator this morning. “We actually damaged the car quite badly on Ulster,” he explained, “we got a bit too much air over one crest and then hit the next one and landed hard. It pushed the front chassis up nearly two and a half inches. So it had to go away and get re-jigged ahead of the Trackrod.”