Declan and Brian Boyle, in their Subaru WRC car, set the pace right through day two of the Donegal International Rally, with a trouble free run.
The Leitirmacaward crew, bidding to be the first all Donegal winning crew in 31 years, set their stall out from very early on Saturday morning. And they held a 37.2 second lead over last year’s winners Sam Moffett and James Reilly, in their Fiesta at the end of special stage 13. Special stage 14 - Gartan - was cancelled following an incident on special stage 12, the first loop of Gartan. Special stage 12 was also ruled null and void following the incident which resulted in a service crew member breing hospitalised.
Darren Gass and Enda Sherry, despite having their problems in the course of the day, finished in third place.
Fermanagh driver and 2012 winner Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy, also in a Subaru, were in fourth place just over half a minute down on Gass and McSherry.
Boyle, who was having slight problems with the Subaru on the last couple of stages, was happy to be in front again at the end of day two.
But the Leitirmacard man did admit that he was a little concerned about the problem with the car.
“It is a slight concern all right; the car seems to be only firing off three or four cyclinders. Hopefully, it is not too serious and the boys will be able to sort it out when we get back into service,” said Boyle.
Looking ahead to Sunday and the final six stages Boyle said it was a matter of taking it steady in the first couple of stages and hope the chasing pack don’t make up too much ground and eat too much into his lead.
“I’ll take it handy early on and we will see how the lads behind go. It really is about driving hard but at the same time drive sensibly. It is all about being sensible tomorrow and not to push it too hard.”
Derek McGarrity and James McKee, in their Subaru, finished in fifth place. They moved up in fifth place after Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan were forced out of the rally on special stage 10, Carnhill, second time around. Kelly and Flanagan had been having gear box problems in the previous stage.
Josh Moffett and John Rowan,were the first of the Mitsubishi EVO 9s were in sixth place with Eugene Meegan and Sarah Whelan, also a Mitsubishi were seventh with Stephen McCann and Lisa Dowd, Aaron McHale and Paul McGee, ninth and Calum Devine and Liam McLaughlin, in tenth place.
Local crews Paddy McDaid/Oliver Doherty, 13th; Martin O’Donnell/John O’Donnell, 14th, Gavin Kelly/ Eamonn Gillespie, 15th; Mark Ewing/Danny Cannon, 18th; Joseph McGonigle/ Ciaran Geaney, 19th; Alistair Glen/ Paul Gallager, 20th and Pauric McGee and Emmett Brosnan, 21 st were all still in the rally.
Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans continued to set the pace in the National section of the rally. At the end of Saturday’s rallying they lead Gary McPhillips and Paul Sheridan by close on 20 seconds. The Letterkenny combination of Conor Harvey and Gerard Callaghan, in their first outing in an Escort, had a good second day and had moved up into third place.
Frank Kelly and Liam Brennan from Tyrone were in fourth place in the National with Brian Brogan and Damien McGettigan, in fifth place. Damien Gallagher and Mac Walsh, in eighth place and Wesley Patterson with his Letterkenny co-driver Johnny Baird, in ninth place, completed the local interest in the top ten in the National.
Manus Kelly and Donal Barrett, who were in third place, crashed out of the rally on stage 12.