Ulster Rally at Armagh

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Dungannon’s Kris Meeke is feeling ‘mighty’ today as he has just scored one of the most emphatic victories of his spectacular career – winning the Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rally over the weekend from an off form Eugene Donnelly.

‘The Magician’ was simply in a league of his own throughout the two day event, setting blistering times in his Pirelli Subaru WRC car at the start of each day and leaving his rivals tasting Orchard County dust!

“It’s amazing,” said Meeke afterwards, “because up until a fortnight ago I was planning to be on holiday the weekend of the Ulster. Then the last minute offer of Mark Higgins’ car came from Pirelli at Lurgan Park and I jumped at it. It was only my fourth event in a WRC car, but the Ulster is my home rally and I felt comfortable from the off. The car was superb and myself and co-driver Paul Nagle decided on a maximum attack at the start of each day, which enabled us to build a cushion which we held to the end!”

Current Irish Tarmac Championship leader Eugene Donnelly found that his usual magic had gone awol on the Ulster, losing to Meeke by almost three minutes, but second place still meant a good points haul for ‘The Genie’ which means that only Mark Higgins can challenge him for this year’s ITC title – to be decided in Cork in a few weeks time.

The National battle was a more closely fought affair, with Camillus Bradley’s superquick Mk2 Escort swapping seconds with John Price’s pocket rocket Metro 6R4. In the end it was Hereford man Price who prevailed, his screaming 6R4 using its four wheel drive to advantage on the tricky Armagh and Tyrone lanes.

Lisburn brothers Phillip and Simon Morrow won the closely contested Mitsubishi Evo Challenge at the Ulster International, and need just a few more points to clinch the overall title, with its golden prize of a Mitsubishi ‘works’ drive for next season.

“This year’s Ulster International has totally lived up to its billing,” said main sponsor Philip White of Philip White Tyres. “Our congratulations go to Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle for what was simply a magic performance. We look forward to seeing Kris, Eugene and a host of other leading crews do battle again next year on the Ulster, as it is always and will continue to be a pivotal event in the Irish Tarmac Championship.”

<strong>Results:
</strong>1 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1.54.31.5
2 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1.57.13.5
3 Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1.59.16.0
4 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N12B) GpN 2.00.19.6
5 Gwyndaf Evans/Huw Lewis (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.01.06.2
6 Colm Murphy/Ger Loughrey (Subaru Impreza N12B) GpN 2.04.28.7
7 Phillip & Simon Morrow (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.05.31.6
8 James Cullen/Reba Graham (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.06.05.2
9 Conrad Rautenbach/Dave Senior (Citroen C2 S1600) 2.07.10.7
10 Sebastian Ling/Aled Rees (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.07.12.1

<strong>Leaders After:</strong>
SS1-16 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)

<strong>Stage Winners:</strong>
SS1 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS3 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS4 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS5 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS6 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS7 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS8 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS9 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS10 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS11 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS12 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS13 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS14 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS15 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS16 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)

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About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at grahamcurry.com

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