Boyles clinch Dunlop title with fifth win

With their fifth win of the Dunlop National Rally Championship, Donegal cousins Declan and Brian Boyle (Subaru WRC) clinched the series with an emphatic victory in the Clonmel-based Sepam Tipperary Stone-throwers Rally.

They finished a minute and 57 seconds ahead of the Cork/Tipperary duo of Roy White and James O’Brien (MG S2000) with the Welsh crew of James Belton and Mark Glennerster (Subaru WRC) 29 seconds further behind.

On the first stage, Midleton’s Daragh O’Riordan (Ford Fiesta WRC) punched in the best time, a fraction ahead of Boyle (Subaru WRC) and followed by Clonmel’s Roy White (MG S2000) and the Subaru pair of James Belton and Niall Maguire.

O’Riordan dominated the opening loop and moved 9.7 seconds ahead of Boyle, who spun on SS3 near Fethard. The stage claimed his rival Niall Maguire, who crashed in the wet conditions.

O’Riordan seemed well in control, however, on the fourth test. He slid off on gravel and the impact broke a track control arm of his Fiesta WRC and brought instant retirement.

Boyle, concentrating on his title bid, took over at the top and moved clear of second placed White, who was 38.1 seconds in arrears. Welsh visitor Belton (Subaru WRC) improved to slot into third with Omagh’s Paddy McVeigh (Subaru WRC) fourth.

Meanwhile, Declan Gallagher (Toyota Starlet) gave an impressive performance to hold fifth and lead the modified category where, for the second event in succession, Jonathan Pringle retired his Escort with a sensor problem.

The Group N category developed into a family affair with Sam Moffett 2.3 seconds ahead of his younger brother Josh after six stages, both in Mitsubishi Evo IXs.

Dominating the final loop, Boyle took victory to claim the Vard Memorial Trophy with White and Belton completed the podium. Gallagher (Toyota Starlet) secured a fine fifth en route to victory in the Modified category.

Sam Moffett (Mitsubishi) fended off his brother to win Group N by 10.1 seconds with Stephen Wright, also in a Mitsubishi, third.

Wexford driver Conor Moore, co-driven by Ella Ryan (Honda Civic), won the Junior category and the Historic section was won by Ellis Belton and Gwynfor Jones (Ford Escort).

In the Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally, Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings finished 11.5 seconds ahead of multiple winner Kenny McKinstry, with Clonakilty’s Kevin Kelleher a further 36.6 seconds behind.

Jennings posted the best times on the opening pair of stages to lead McKinstry by 1.2 seconds. On SS3, McKinstry reduced the margin to just seven-tenths of a second as the pair moved ahead of the chasing pack led by Denis Biggerstaff (Subaru).

By the halfway mark, Jennings was 3.5 seconds in front of McKinstry with Kelleher moving into third after Biggerstaff overshot. Jennings maintained his lead and drew away from McKinstry to take victory.

Tipperary’s Pat O’Connell led Group N until his Mitsubishi was sidelined with differential woes allowing Mark Massey take the showroom honours, while Wesley Patterson (Ford Escort) was the top two-wheel drive competitor.

In the Neath Valley Rally in Wales, Derry’s McCormick (Escort) scored a narrow victory over Nick Elliott. Cork’s Owen Murphy and James O’Brien retired eight miles into the opening stage and retired.

Cork racer Matt Griffin and team-mate Duncan Cameron in the AF Corse-run Ferrari 458 Italia were out of luck in round seven of the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, black-flagged in the closing laps.

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