As Northern Ireland Rally Championship victories go, they won’t get any easier than this for Jonathan Greer.
He dominated the second round at Bishopscourt on Saturday aboard his new Citroen C3 Rally2 supermini to triumph by 31.1 seconds.
The Carryduff driver recorded scratch times on five of the six stages to highlight his brilliance at the single-venue meeting, and preserve his perfect start to the Championship alongside Darragh Mullen.
“We knew the package car was strong from last year and that is the case once again this year,” said Greer. “We are still learning about the new car with every event, but from our side everything is working well.
“It was a brilliant day. The car was faultless and was really well suited to the event. We kept it clean and everything went to plan,” he added.
Prior to the rally in County Down, Greer confirmed he was still undecided about mounting a defence of his drivers’ title, although this performance should entice him to start round three at the end of May.
Eight-time Northern Ireland champion Derek McGarrity initially took the fight to Greer only for his Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo to lose out in the drier conditions to the faster Ford Fiesta World Rally Car belonging to Aaron McLaughlin.
That extra speed came in handy for McLaughlin after he lost 15 seconds on stage two due to a front right puncture – the result of him hitting a culvert that was hidden at the side of the race track.
Regardless, he had no answer to Greer’s times and admitted second was the best he could have hoped for. “He is a machine,” McLaughlin, who was fastest on the day’s closing special stage, said of the winner.
A maximum time for Darren Gass on the penultimate stage when the Markethill man took the wrong route promoted Joseph McGonigle to fourth, while Joe Hegarty survived a spin to secure fifth.
In the modified battle, Robert Erwin leapfrogged James Kennedy two stages from the end in his Toyota MR2 to seal the win.
Results: 1 Jonathan Greer/Darragh Mullen [Citroen C3 Rally 2] 41m02.3s; 2 Aaron McLaughlin/Darren Curran [Ford Fiesta WRC] +31.1s; 3 Derek McGarrity/Graham Henderson [Skoda Fabia R5 Evo] +39.4s; 4 Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney [Ford Fiesta Rally 2] +1m00.9s; 5 Joe Hegarty/Ashleen Hegarty [Ford Fiesta R5] +1m49.0s; 6 Michael McGarrity/Damien Garvey [Ford Fiesta R5 Plus] +1m56.7s; 7 David Kelly/Dean O Sullivan [Ford Fiesta] +2m11.1s; 8 Mark Massey/Alistair Wylie [Ford Fiesta] +2m16.8s; 9 Emma McKinstry/Kenny Hull [Ford Fiesta R5] +2m16.9s; 10 Robert Erwin/Andrew Wilson [Toyota MR2] +3m14.5s.