Alastair Fisher has secured his second runner-up finish in the Northern Ireland Rally Championship after taking second place on the Glens of Antrim Rally.
Partnered by Barry McNulty in Gerry McGarrity prepared Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9, Fisher took second place behind Kenny McKinstry in an event that provided an ideal test for the forthcoming IRC event in Scotland.
In the end on the Antrim event, Fisher finished just 15 seconds behind McKinstry in his S9 WRC Subaru and 16 seconds in front of a tying Jonny Greer (Group N Mitsubishi) and Derek McGarrity (Corolla WRC), with Greer winning the tie break decision for third place.
For Fisher the rally started with second fastest time on the opening Slieveanorra stage, eleven seconds down on McKinstry. Then things really picked up for the young Co. Tyrone driver with equal fastest time on stage two and fastest overall times on stages four and five to arrive at service just nine seconds behind the leader.
“It was a good morning for us and to set a couple of fastest times was a great feeling,” he said at service. “We seemed to lose some time on the first Slieveanorra stage, maybe it was on the big uphill sections, but on the other stages after that we could pull better times. The car felt superb. We carried out a test during the week before the event and made a few changes to the settings to deal with the predicted slippery conditions and I think this improved the car again.”
After service, Fisher recorded the joint fastest time on stage nine and went fastest on the penultimate stage, to arrive at the Loughguile finish just 15 seconds behind McKinstry.
“We were delighted to finish second again on a Northern Ireland Championship rally, and again closer to the top spot, and it has provided an ideal test before IRC Scotland,” Fisher reflected at the finish. “I haven't seen the entry list as of yet for Scotland to see who all we have to compete against. For sure one competitor will be Jonny Greer who drove well on the Glens of Antrim, and it was great for Jonny and I to be able to put into practice what we had learned in the BRC in the Glens.
"For Scotland our aim has to be a top Group N position, and also to gain experience of the event, the stages and the comprehensive recce.”