Three years after winning the Dunlop National Rally Championship, Kilkenny’s, Ray Breen (Ford Focus WRC) has won the Hankook Tyres Irish Forestry Championship.
He won today’s Nenagh based Birr Forest Rally, the final round of the series to clinch his second national title.
Breen, who was co-driven by Martin Brady, needed just to finish in the points.
However, the Kilkenny driver sealed his title success with a five second victory over the Subaru WRC pairing of Trevor Harding/Andrew Purcell (Subaru WRC).
Denis Cronin/Helen O’Sullivan (Subaru WRC) were third - almost a minute adrift.
Breen led after the first stage where he powered his Ford Focus into a four second lead.
However, by the end of the second test, Harding was 13 seconds in front as he revelled in the conditions.
The margin remained unchanged at the half way mark.
Harding was on course for victory until a gearbox malady cost him time, indeed, his seven second lead entering the final stage proved insufficient.
A dominant Breen took that stage victory by twelve seconds and event victory by five seconds.
Denis Cronin (Subaru) in third was followed by Colin Britton (Mitsubishi) and John Reid (Toyota Corolla WRC). Seamus O’Connell (Escort) was the top two-wheel drive exponent.
1. R. Breen/M. Brady (Ford Focus WRC) 45m. 44s.
2. T. Harding/A. Purcell (Subaru WRC) 45m. 49s.
3. D. Cronin/H. O’Sullivan (Subaru WRC) 46m. 47s.
4. C. Britton/A. Kierans (Mitsubishi) 47m. 11s.
5. J. Reid/E. Shiels (Toyota Corolla WRC) 41m. 18s.
6. L. Ryan/J. McGrath (Subaru) 48m. 38s.
Meanwhile, Wexford’s Eamonn Boland (Subaru WRC) was the top privateer in Rally de Espana, round twelve of the World Rally Championship. Co-driven by Waterford’s, Mickey Joe Morrissey, he finished fifteenth overall.
Their only moment of trouble came early yesterday when their Dom Buckley Motorsport run Subaru suffered a puncture.
Donegal’s, Shaun Gallagher (Citroen C2) and his Sligo co-driver, Paul Kiely were fourth in the Junior category of the WRC. Gallagher now shares second in the series with German driver, Aaron Burkart.