The Ulster International Rally played host to the fourth round of the Citroën C2R2 Cup, part of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship this weekend.
The two day, all asphalt event was won by a margin of just 32 seconds by Irish crew Martin McCormack and Liam Moynihan after 160 miles of competition.
Also registered for the Irish C2R2 Cup, the crew had pulled around forty seconds clear of Jason Pritchard and George Gwynn by the first service on Friday, although stage two was cancelled after an accident.
By the overnight halt the gap was down to just four seconds, McCormack sustaining a puncture on the final stage of the day. “We dropped about fifty seconds, but Jason had already taken a bit back on stage five. I really didn't enjoy it.” he said at the final service.
Pritchard struggled with the car's differential, presuming that a rebuild of the whole transmission before the event had left it tight. “The car is pulling one way on acceleration and the other under braking,” he explained, “It is quite un-nerving.”
As the crews bedded down for the night, championship leaders Andrew Hockridge and Rich Mills were third, despite a front puncture on stage three. They drove two miles out of the stage but put in a great time overall.
Fourth and another crew with puncture problems were Cornish pair Matt Cotton and Anthony Godden. They suffered with even more time dropped, as the puncture caused them to spin, the cable that engaged reverse gear snapping.
Martin Roberts and Eric Pritchard had some problems with the brakes binding after adjusting the free play in the pedal. “The brakes were a lot more positive, but I think we may need to de-adjust the rod to free them off a bit.” concluded Roberts. They had a couple of moments in the dark but held fifth at the final service of the day.
2007 C2R2 Cup Champion Martin Laverty had Vincent Fergus alongside, but their car was misbehaving from the outset, the rear axle appearing to be out of line. “The wheel is rubbing on the bodywork,” he said, “and I'm concerned it will; wear through the tyre.”