Champion Derek McGarrity eyes up McGrady Insurance Stages hat-trick!

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Round two of the Hankook MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship brings competitors to Bishopscourt Race Circuit this weekend for the McGrady Insurance Stages Rally!

The event has attracted almost 100 crews to the venue, which is based a few miles outside Downpatrick. And topping the entry is round one winner and reigning champion, Derek McGarrity.

The Glengormley car and helicopter dealer will wheel out his S12B specification Subaru Impreza World Rally Car in a bid to maintain his winning streak at Bishopscourt. McGarrity has won the McGrady Insurance sponsored event for the last two years running, so another success in 2010 will complete a hat-trick of victories.

Number two seeds, George Robinson and Tommy Speers, will be aiming to stop the champion in his tracks. Robinson was on course for finishing second overall at the season’s opening event until he was forced to complete the final miles in two-wheel-drive.

The incident dropped Robinson to third but at least he completed the rally, unlike number three seeds for this weekend, Gary White and Dominic Carson. The crew retired from round one after they lost a wheel when their Impreza sheared wheel studs at the start of stage one.

Stuart Biggerstaff is hoping to continue his run of great form at this Saturday’s event. The 21-year-old has made a scintillating start to his stage rally career, having finished second overall on each of his debut events. Biggerstaff, who will be navigated by Damian McCann, is hopeful of securing another solid points finish in what will be his third stage rally.

Raymond Johnston and Fabian McAleer will start the McGrady Insurance Stages at number five in their Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. The crew are the leading Sunoco Fuels Group N entrants, and they will face stiff opposition from Kieron Graffin, John McGlaughlin and Alan Carmichael.

Drew Stewart, who dominated the two-wheel-drive category at round one, will start Bishopscourt with number nine on his door. Piloting his Mark 2 Escort, he will be aiming for another category victory, although event sponsor, Fintan McGrady, will have other ideas!

This Saturday’s rally will also play host to a number of titanic battles throughout the field. The Montgomery Motorsport Historic category, Superdrive Junior category and Autofashion.ie Group A Cup have all received entries from a number of leading competitors.

The action kicks off on Saturday morning at approximately 9am. Competitors will face six stages, all based within the confines of Bishopscourt Race Circuit. More details are available online at www.nirally.com and www.ballynahinchmotorclub.com.