Random gorse fire disrupts historic section of Rally of the Lakes as Welshman Evans leads overnight

Welsh visitors Meirion Evans and Dale Furniss lead the historic section of the Rally of the Lakes in their Ford Escort Mk2 but it is all very close at the top.

They have just 0.07 of a second the spare over the similar Escort of James Ford Neil Shanks who in turn are just 00.06 clear of the top Kerry driver Alan Ring in his Subaru Legacy.

The rally was disrupted by a gorse fire – only a handful of competitors had managed to get through the Banard stage before the fire took hold and the stage had to be neutralised to allow the emergency services to deal with it.

Ring, and his co-driver Adrian Deasy are chasing back-to-back Rally of the Lakes Historic victories.

Brake failure on stage one did “nothing for the confidence” said Alan at Parc Ferme on Saturday evening. He hopes to get a chance to bleed the brakes during the first service on Sunday morning.

Fergus O’Meara and Ronald Riordan hold fourth place just 4.2 seconds behind Alan in their Escort.

They suffered an overheating engine in the latter part of the day and had a small spin on the final hairpin in Gortnagane.  

Luke McCarthy and his Healy Pass co-driver are fifth after setting the fastest time on Gortnagne. Luke said the reason he was fastest on the stage was because it started in County Cork but he failed to mention that the stage ran entirely in County Kerry. Brian said he was the new king of Gortnagane.

Todd Falvey and Declan Casey reported no dramas on their way to an overnight event in their BDA Escort.

In other news Berian Richards and Ashley Trimble are 12th but the gearbox in their Escort is in trouble. A friend has left their Wales base and is hoping to get on the midnight sailing from Fishguard to Rosslare tonight. They then face the task of replacing the unit on Sunday morning.  

Ray Breen and Tamara Molinaro are 13th in their Subaru Legacy RS overnight, one place ahead of Ray Hillard and Megan Costello in their Ford Escort Mk1. Ray said he had no dramas but was giving out he only got one stage – ne never mentioned the gorse fire!

Pat Looney Amy Burke are leading their class and having great craic in their Ford Escort

Philip McKibbin and Tommy Commane  said Saturday was only a shakedown for Sunday’s “real

Robert Falvey and John Doody were another crew to get caught up in the gorse fire.

Just like Killarney and District Motor Club member Alan Watkins who said: “The staged had to be stopped or it would have taken the lot – it was scary.”

Donal O’Connor and John Nugent’s progress was also hampered by the fire.

As a result, these times and positions remain provisional until official nominal times are posted for the historic section of the rally.

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