Taking the lead on the second stage, the Antrim/Monaghan duo of Desi Henry and Damien Connolly (Ford Fiesta WRC) went on to win the Enniskillen based Lakeland Rally that counted as rounds of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship and the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally series.
A winning margin of 20.4 seconds by Monaghan’s Sam Moffett and co-driver James O’Reilly (Ford Fiesta R5) in the Crafted Fitted Furniture Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally, masks a tremendous battle with fellow countyman Barry McKenna and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes (Ford Fiesta R5) that wasn’t resolved until the penultimate stage.
The Joule Donegal International Rally ended in tragic circumstances early yesterday when Manus Kelly, who won the event for the last three years, lost his life after his Hyundai i20 R5 crashed and left the road on Stage 15, Fanad Head.
Donegal’s Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) and his Monaghan co-driver Conor Foley pulled out all the stops to deny the Monaghan/Wexford duo of Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes victory in the Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Rally, round three of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
Josh Moffett’s victory in the Enniskillen Trailer Parts & Spares Lakeland Rally that saw him clinch the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship, was mired in controversy after he was excluded from the results; but after two appeals and a stewards’ meeting the decision was overturned and he was re-instated as rally winner some five hours later.
With maximum points from the Prestone British Rally championship category of the Renties Ypres Rally in view, there was final stage agony for the Cork-Kerry duo of Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Hyundai i20 R5) — a puncture that relegated them to third of the BRC contenders.
The Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Rally ended in dramatic fashion as the Donegal/Monaghan pairing of Donagh Kelly/Conor Foley guided their KN Group liveried Ford Focus WRC to a final stage victory to deny long time leaders, the Monaghan/Cork duo of Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R5).
Cork driver and four-time British Rally Champion Keith Cronin will campaign the new generation Hyundai i20 R5-N in this year’s British Rally Championship that includes rounds of the World Rally Championship (Wales Rally GB) and the European Rally Championship (Rally Ypres).
After a dramatic opening on the final leg of the Easter Rally in Antrim, when the Subaru WRC of overnight leaders Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson failed to start after transmission troubles, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes took the spoils and consolidated their lead in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
Leading from the start Donegal’s Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) swept to a fifth successive victory in the Quality Hotel West Cork Rally. Co-driven by Monaghan’s Conor Foley they finished 45.8 seconds clear of Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and co-driver Andy Hayes with Irish Tarmac champions Monaghan’s Sam Moffett and Cork’s Karl Atkinson (Fiesta R5) in third.
There are events that will always buck the trend in Irish rallying and this weekend’s Quality Hotel West Cork Rally, the opening rounds of the Irish Tarmac Championship and the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship is a prime example.
Another Moffett win, but, this time, it was the younger sibling, Josh: he won the Enniskillen-based Trailer Parts and Spares Lakeland Forest Rally, the penultimate round of the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship and a round of the Northern Ireland Rally series.
Triple British rally champion Keith Cronin from Ballylickey, with co-driver Killarney’s Mikie Galvin, are back into contention for this season’s Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) as they annexed top points in the Ypres Rally in Belgium, the first overseas round in the 59-year history of the BRC.
The first day of the Joule Donegal International Rally in Letterkenny was a battle of the Kellys — Frosses driver Donagh Kelly and Letterkenny’s Manus Kelly — while Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings remains very much in touch.
Donegal’s Donagh Kelly has won numerous Irish rallies some of which culminated in National and Tarmac Championship titles — one of three drivers to win both in the same season. Yet, the one rally that has eluded him is, ironically, the Joule Donegal International Rally.
The Rathkeale House Hotel Circuit of Munster on Sunday marks the halfway point of the eight round Triton Showers National Rally Championship. However, it also contains several subplots including preparation for the next rounds of the British and Irish Tarmac Championships and also forms part of the Top Part West Coast regional series.
The Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship is likely to have a new leader after tomorrow’s Abbey Hotel Donegal Forest Rally, the third round of the campaign as series leader and former champion Josh Moffett has withdrawn his entry due to business commitments.
Denied victory in last week’s third round of the British GT Championship at Rockingham by a controversial penalty, Cork’s Matt Griffin turns his attention to tomorrow’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) second round at the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
There was late drama in the Cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes in Killarney, where Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (Fiesta R5) and his Bandon co-driver Karl Atkinson took victory after long-time leaders, Roy White and co-driver James O’Brien, clattered their Fiesta WRC against a chicane bale on SS 13 and limped to the stage finish before retiring.