Second round of FIA European Rally Championship got underway with the qualifying stage. But the slippery conditions made it very difficult for the crews to keep the car on the narrow Irish roads. Brit Elfyn Evans made a good start by going quickest on the 4.22 km stage. The same stage was used as free practice, so lots of mud was pulled into the road making it slippery and muddy and making grip levels unpredictable.
Elfyn Evans, leader of BRC set a time of 2min 28.9sec in the Tardree qualifying stage. Polish driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz was second fastest 4.575secs slower than Evans. Local star Alastair Fisher finished third making it top three Fiesta R5 on the leader board. Last year Circuit winner Craig Breen was fourth quickest ahead of Keith Cronin driving a DS3 R5. Martin McCormack was sixth in Fabia S2000 ahead of Fredrik Åhlin (Fiesta R5) and Jaromír Tarabus (Fabia R5). Federico Della Casa crossed the line ninth in-spite of broken front left wheel and a puncture to his DS3 R5.
With the grip levels on the stage was treacherous Robert Consani had a bad start to the event. A high speed spin damaged the front end of his DS3 R5, leaving him limping to the end of stage. David Botka too driving a DS3 R5 went into a ditch a could not make it to finish.
Qualifying stage was followed by ceremonial start in Lisburn, and drivers choosing their starting position for the Leg 1 of rally. No wonder Elfyn Evans wanted to be first on the road. Followed by Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Alastair Fisher. Craig Breen had no choice and had to settle for fourth. Leg 1 comprises of six stages and no doubt it will be typical Irish conditions for the crew.