Circuit of Ireland National (Easter Stages) 2007.
Over 100 different rally teams turned up for the circuit of Ireland based in Londonderry. Glenn Allen set the pace in his Toyota Corolla WRC, and in the end he claimed his second successive Northern Ireland series victory. After the long wait for Glenn to regain the number one position it now looks like he is un-stoppable. Allen had this to say "The fact that we’re doing the National championship left us at a good pace for the event, we were match fit and although we had a puncture about four miles from the end of the third stage, we already had a healthy lead. I was afraid that the Fiestas may have caused some problems on the Sunday but I must admit, the rally was run very well."

Mean while Raymond Johnston successfully finished in second place but was luckily to finish at all. His Subaru suffered another cracked brake disc, leaving him with a difficult task in his hands. He was forced to drive for the finish and thankfully for him he secured the runner up spot as well as a very useful number of points. Raymond Johnston had this to say "Another one cracked on the second last stage! I didn’t think we were going to reach the finish but I’m very happy with the result. Even without those problems, I don’t think I could have challenged Glenn for the win. It was a good event, very well run and very competitor friendly. Fair play to the club for putting it together in such a short space of time."

Raymond Johnston
Source of Picture.

For third place there was a much tighter battle between Stephen Moore and Neil McCance. The power was definitely in Moore’s favour but McCance was not letting him get the final position without a fight. McCance briefly nipped ahead of Moore on stage eight only for Moore to retaliate and go back in front on stage nine. McCance tried to regain third position but in the end he decided. McCance decided that fourth overall and maximum points was much better than nothing at all, so he settled for fourth, less than one second behind Moore.

McCance had this to say " With the exception of the punctures on stage three we had a brilliant rally. We did nothing wrong and we didn’t leave the tarmac throughout the whole rally. I just stayed calm, drove what I felt was a good pace and let the result come to us. We desperately needed to get points on the board and it would have been very easy to get sucked into a battle with Stephen Moore. But if I put the car over the hedge, Sean (Ferris) would have kicked the living daylight out of me!"

Neil McCance
Source of Picture.

Fifth position went to Seamus Heron who had a clean run in his Ford Focus WRC, whilst Camillus Bradley had a solid drive to secure the superdrive two wheel drive prize. Meanwhile the battle for seventh between Paul Britton, Stanley Ballantine and Aidan Toner raged throughout Sunday, but Stanley Ballantine was removed from the equation over Banes Gap. He had this to say "We just went over the crossroads in Barnes Gap too hard. I couldn’t get her slowed down enough for the junction and the back wheel clipped a bank. There was a wild bang and she went up on two wheels and broke a hub. I tried to drive on but in the end I had to pull over."

With Ballantine forced to the sidelines, Britton and Toner were in locked horns. Toner had the upper hand on this occasion though as he powered his car on into seventh position. He entered the final stage more than 20 seconds ahead of Britton, but when a local resident decided to enter the stage and drive in the opposite direction to the rally traffic, both Toner and Britton had a huge scare midway through the test. Britton had this to say. "We just came out of a square right and saw a Mercedes 100 yards in front of us; I actually thought I was on the wrong road for a split second. Luckily the road was wide enough and he drove on past so I went to the next time control and got the stage stopped. It could have been very dangerous."

Camillus Bradley
Source of Picture.

Toner had this to say "I came over a crest and was in the air when I saw him. I suppose I panicked and looked for the next right hand corner, I saw a bit of an opening and threw her into it. No harm to him but he was very stupid. If I had been another three or four seconds quicker, I’d have met him head on. Other than that, we had a good weekend. We had some alternator problems on Saturday and dropped a bit of time with that. I really didn’t expect to finish where I did. It was a real good rally, brilliant stages and super weather."

With Toner finishing in seventh and Britton in eighth overall. Geoffrey Bolan was perhaps that biggest surprise of the rally as he finished ninth overall almost 10 seconds ahead of George Robinson. Gareth Logan had held tenth at the overnight halt, but he crashed out of the event on Sunday morning when his Mitsubishi went over a 100ft drop. Thankfully neither crew was injured.

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