He started the final stage with a comfortable lead of 40 seconds over Kelly. Nesbitt who had been leading by a minute and a half from Laukkanen, clipped a rock on a stage in the Sperrin Mountains and shortly after his car left the road. Ron Neely was a very creditable 10th in his Cooper S. The next three slots were also filled by Mantas, McRae, Fisher and Coleman finishing third to fifth respectively. Keith McIvor was first in the Historic event in his Porsche Alongside running a successful car business with his brother Ronnie, Dessie competed regularly in rallies over five decades and no doubt his top class experience and expertise will serve him well this weekend.
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Donegal Rally 1976
Wilson retired and McRae finished in 8th. Alistair Fisher lead initially in his Fiesta R5, however he had a puncture on stage 3 and dropped to 5th place, leaving Elfyn Evans, also in a Fiesta R5 in the lead.
However Jean-Joseph was unable to come and his place was taken at the last moment by Sebastien Ogier. Cronin had to settle for fifth behind Bogie in the Skoda Fabia R5. The Story so far Osian Pryce was first in the Rally NI category and fourth overall. Garry Jennings was first in Rally NI and fifth overall. The Historic category winners were: Ogier won his class by over 5 minutes and finished 13th overall, beating much more powerful machinery.
Elfyn continued at the front adding another Evans Ulster win to the two his father Gwyndaf had in 89 and Norwegian Andreas Raply entered, but did not start.
Llewellyn had many problems but seemed to pull back much time, while his competition from Wilson and McRae struggled for grip in their Sierras. Keith McIvor was mccartneyy in the Historic event in his Porsche Eamonn Boland had been in third until the penultimate stage when mechanical problems put him out of the rally. Two time winner Mark Higgins had a big spin early on but despite this was leading well ahead of Donnelly, until a driveshaft gave way on the last leg of stages and dally rally was essentially over.
The next three slots were also filled by Mantas, McRae, Fisher and Coleman finishing third to fifth respectively.
Tapio Laukkanen finished down in 10th place in the Renault Magane Maxi. Richard Smyth was an excellent third in his Sierra Cosworth. When the International Ulster Rally announced the use of notes, Fisher came out of semi-retirement. Finn Michael Sundstrum was third in a Peugeot T Seeded 12 out of entries Dessie finished 8th overall behind four works cars.
Dessie McCartney | Taken at the Lurgan Park Rally, 31st July… | Ali Jackson | Flickr
Nesbitt who had been leading by a minute and a half from Laukkanen, clipped a rock on a stage in the Sperrin Mountains and shortly after his car left the road. The Bangor man first took up rallying in and the Ulster Rally holds some very special memories for Dessie as he took the main trophy at the motorsport event back in when the course took drivers from Craigavon to Larne and up the Causeway coast.
The National Rally was cancelled as the crews had not started. Gwyndaf Evans won Group N and finished in 7th place. Pennti Airikkala retired his Mitsubishi Starion. An accident at the end of the third stage resulted in the tragic death of local driver Timothy Cathcart.
Colin McRae won his class and finished desske overall in a Vauxhall Nova. Although Austin had been coming to the Ulster on and off for over 20 years by this stage, this was actually his first podium finish on this prestigious event. Bertie Fisher has felt strongly over the past couple of years that Irish asphalt rallying needed legal pace notes.
Fisher rolled his Imprezaon stage one and the oil lost resulted in an engine failure later in the event. He started the final stage with a comfortable lead of 40 seconds over Kelly.
Andrew Nesbitt in the Impreza WRC who was challenging Mark Higgins in the opening stages crashed heavily on the third stage which put him out of the event. Jennings set a string of fastest times and by the second stage on day 2 he had taken the lead of the rally.
History Oly McCollum T