Rally Northern Ireland, saw Alastair Fisher and Rory Kennedy, in their Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9 clock up an impressive third place overall finish amongst the British Rally Championship runners and also claim more valuable points in their quest for the Citroen Irish Tarmac Championship.

After some ill fortune on the previous British Championship rounds for the Team UK member, Alastair’s main championship hopes now lie with the Irish Tarmac Championship and the result from the weekend leaves him second in the series, four points behind leader Gareth MacHale and three points ahead of Aaron MacHale both in Ford Focus WRCs.

It will now go to the wire on the final round in Cork as to who takes the elusive tarmac crown.  

“It will be tough in Cork, even though there are bonus points available. Really we would need the conditions to favour us to stand any chance of keeping ahead of Aaron never-mind chasing Gareth which is really out of the question. It felt good to get a solid result on the Ulster and build my confidence up again.”

The pace was furious on the all dry Ulster stages for Rally NI and Alastair was under instructions to finish the 14 stage event, after an indiscression on the last event on the Isle of Man.

“I was happy at the end of stage one, feeling our way back in after the Isle of Man and then on Glendun, stage two we had a great run setting second fastest time. However on a jump close to the finish we broke the left front damper and had to drive with caution through Torr Head. It was a bit un-nerving on some of the jumps and corners and we lost around 15 seconds.”

The Gerry McGarrity Motorsport team changed the damper swiftly at first service. By the end of the day Alastair had maintained that fourth position in the BRC and lay ahead of Aaron in the Irish Tarmac Championship race. The WRC cars were running in a separate rally on this event.

Day two moved into faster stages the first using the famous Cairncastle Hill-climb course near Larne.

“This was a super fast stage with some big jumps and with just a few junctions and bale chicanes. We were happy with the way the car was taking the big jump and I really enjoyed the Cairncastle stage. We were within a few seconds of the fastest time and it was a good start to the day.”  

The Revolution Wheels backed crew had a faultless second day, moving up to third overall in Rally NI when Gwyndaf Evans made a mistake on the Langford Lodge stage. This result saw Alastair and Rory take another BRC podium and score their second UK Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge victory of the year. The team also secured the Irish Tarmac Group N title with one round to spare.

Alastair commented after the event, “I really enjoyed the rally and it was nice to get back into the swing of things and get a good clean run. We drove with a finish in mind but nevertheless we were still driving quickly and the pace was very hot. The Irish Championship is still up for grabs so we will have to give Cork a real go.”

Over the past couple of weeks Alastair has attended two Team UK meetings, one at M-Sport where the drivers were given an in depth session with one of M-Sports’ top suspension engineers. The second was at the Porsche Human Performance Centre at Silverstone which incorporated; fitness assessments, psychology support along with media and PR training.     

Now the Lancer Evo 9 is being readied for Cork, with the possibility of a run on the Fisher Engineering Lakeland Stages on September 11.  

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