Portglenone's Desi and Mark Henry claimed a last gasp victory at the Eakin Bros Brian James Trailers Dogleap Stages Rally, round two of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK N.I. Rally Championship!
Based at Shackleton in Ballykelly, the Henrys trailed long-time rally leaders Carryduff’s Jonny Greer and co-driver Kirsty Riddick by over 10 seconds as they entered the final stage. Having set fastest times on the five previous stages, it looked as though Championship leader Greer was on course for victory until his hopes were dashed by hitting a pothole early on the sixth and final stage. Hitting the pothole punctured a front tyre, leaving him struggling for virtually the whole stage losing over a minute and dropping them to fourth.
In second place, Aaron McLaughlin and Darren Curran entered the final test determined to hold on to third. When they discovered they had finished second, it came as a complete surprise for the former event winners. Third-placed Stephen Wright and Liam Moynihan were another crew that were lucky to reach the finish. A difficult start to the day saw the reigning champion slide into a trackside hay bale on the opening stage. The resultant damage was only superficial but dropped them to eighth. Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick started as Championship leaders and quickly made their intentions clear with five fastest times from the outset. They led the event from the opening stage, but lady luck was not on their side with that puncture thwarting their dreams of success.
Coming home in fifth, Jason Mitchell and Peter Ward finished just over one second behind Greer. A deflated rear tyre on the last stage slowed their progress but they still managed to set third fastest time. Completing the top six, Derek and Mark McGeehan had made a last gasp effort to overhaul Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson. The McGeehan’s thought their chances were over when they caught a car on the stage, but they didn't know that McGarrity had caught two cars – including Greer's struggling Citroen. In the end, it was the McGeehan’s who claimed the position, with McGarrity forced to settle for seventh after a day of struggling with a badly misfiring Fiesta WRC. "I think we must have lost around 10 to 15 seconds per stage today," McGarrity said. "The car was fine on the last stage but then we caught a couple of cars. Just one of those days."
Final leader board: 1 Desi Henry/Mark Henry, 2 Aaron McLaughlin/Darren Curran, 3 Stephen Wright/Liam Moynihan, 4 Jonny Greer/Kirsty Riddick, 5 Jason Mitchell/Peter Ward, 6 Derek McGeehan/Mark McGeehan, 7 Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson, 8 Barry Morris/Dylan Doonan, 9 Peadar Hurson/Damien Connolly, 10 Ian Millar/Ronan O'Neill.
Style and elegance from the award-winning Renault Clio
The award-winning Renault Clio range has been added to with the addition of the Lutecia Limited Edition. Featuring Diamond Black metallic paint as standard, and set off by contrasting brass detailing, the Lutecia Limited Edition is indeed stylish and elegant in appearance. The special edition, of which only 300 will be available in our market, adds sophistication via a high level of standard equipment designed to enhance connectivity, convenience, comfort, and safety. Its rarity and specification will ensure the Lutecia Limited Edition will be a hit with Clio fans.
Sitting above the S Edition and with additional features to the flagship “R.S. Line version”, the Lutecia combines stunning styling with an efficient drivetrain. Customers enjoy the simplicity of the latest Clio variant being available solely with the turbocharged petrol TCe 90 engine, giving nimble performance and frugal fuel economy of up to 53.3mpg.
Standard features include a heated leather steering wheel, heated seats, Blind Spot Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control with Detector, 17-inch Viva Stella alloy wheels with brass detailing, modal fabric upholstery and a brass-coloured front grille. It also features tinted windows, a 9.3-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and shark fin antenna. Add to that, climate control, ambient lighting and selectable driving modes, front parking sensors and rear-view camera, electronic parking brake with autohold, electric windows and 7-inch TFT driver infotainment display.
It also benefits from the safety features that are found in all Clio variants, such as Hill Start Assist, Active Emergency Braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, Emergency Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) and Renault Automatic Emergency Assist. No need here to add any options! The Lutecia is priced from £20,200 on-the-road.
Mazda placed fourth in most respected survey
Mazda has achieved a strong performance in the 2021 Auto Express Driver Power new-car ownership survey. Now in its twentieth year, the survey sees the readers of Auto Express Magazine vote on their cars across 10 categories, assessing areas such as reliability, practicality, handling, and performance. One of the most comprehensive and respected new car ownership surveys, this year Driver Power graded 75 cars from 29 brands.
From this huge sample of UK cars and owners, the Mazda brand finished fourth out of 29 brands and highest placed Japanese manufacturer. The Mazda CX-5 was the third most popular car in the survey taking the overall Car of the Year Bronze medal as well as being named Best Mid-Size SUV in the survey.
Commenting on the CX-5’s performance, Auto Express Editorial Director, Steve Fowler, said: “According to owners, Mazda’s CX-5 is something of a star. Not only was it the best rated mid-size SUV, the most competitive class in the entire survey, but it also topped the exterior design category thanks to its stunning design and strong build quality, talents that helped the CX-5 finish third overall in our survey of the 75 best cars on sale today.”
Led by the CX-5’s exceptional performance, it’s no surprise that Mazda as a brand put in a deeply impressive appearance in the 2021 results, finishing fourth behind only Porsche, Tesla, and Kia. This result is testament to the all-round ability of Mazda’s model range.
Commenting on the Driver Power results, Jeremy Thompson from Mazda said: “I’m delighted to see the results of this year’s Driver Power survey and Mazda’s strong performance. Recognition of our products is always great, but this is especially important because it’s our customers who are rating us. The Mazda CX-5 has always been a car that’s had huge popularity with owners and it’s great to see it coming out as top Mid-Size SUV, as this sector is more competitive than ever.”