Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) and co-driver Emmet Sherry led from flagfall to win the Murroe based Lyons of Limerick Forest Rally the penultimate round of the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship.
They finished a minute and 2.6 seconds ahead of the Skoda Fabia R5 of Antrim’s Desi Henry and Millstreet’s Liam Moynihan, who move into the lead of the series as Henry celebrated his 27th birthday.
Series leader Gerard Lucey (Mitsubishi) was an opening stage retirement when the gearbox failed halfway through the stage. Moffett was untroubled through the three-stage loop and led Tyrone’s Darren McKelvey (Mitsubishi) by a minute and 16.4 seconds, the latter punctured on the first stage.
So too did Henry, who also lost time when the alternator belt came adrift on S.S. 2. Omagh’s Patrick O’Brien (Mitsubishi) developed power issues while a low-lying tree limb snapped off one of the wiper blades. Moffett and Henry both punctured on the repeat loop as the former took victory. Henry was fastest on the final three stages and with the demise of another series contender Michael Carbin (Mitsubishi) with differential woes the Antrim driver became the new leader of the series. McKelvey was third and Shane McGirr (Starlet) in fourth was the top two-wheel drive competitor.
Meanwhile, Waterford’s Craig Breen (Citroen Ds3 WRC) finished tenth in Rally Spain after suffering driveshaft failure and the loss of seven minutes during Saturday’s second leg. Teammates Kris Meeke and Killarney’s Paul Nagle enjoyed a good second leg as they slotted into fifth despite a spin and a puncture.
However, their rally ended yesterday with electrical troubles. Breen spun on S.S. 15 as set-up issues hindered his progress although he made up three places in classification and claimed a championship point. Wexford’s Eamonn Boland and Waterford’s Mickey Morrissey (Fiesta R5) were 20th; Northern Ireland’s Jon Armstrong and Killarney’s Noel O’Sullivan (Fiesta R2) were 23rd.
The event was won by Sebastien Ogier (VW Polo WRC), who clinched a fourth World Championship crown, the fourth driver to achieve this feat.
Third place in the Down Rally was enough for Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity (Fiesta WRC) to secure the Northern Ireland Rally Championship for a seventh time.
The six-stage event was won by Camillus Bradley (Escort), who finished 8.7 seconds ahead of the similar car of Damien Toner.
In dreadful conditions, Bradley led all through. McGarrity dropped down to 26th after the second stage with a heavily misted over screen but made a good recovery to annex the championship. Fourth-placed Kenny McKinstry (Subaru WRC) lost time with gear troubles.
The West Cork duo of Dermot Whelton/Mark McCarthy (Subaru) won the Cork Startrek Navigation Trial, the opening round of the National and Munster championships. They finished a penalty point ahead of the Monaghan/Cork pairing of Derek Mackarel/Muireann Hayes (Subaru) with Ulster’s Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes third.
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