Boyle keeps title hopes alive with Clare win

With their fourth win of the campaign Donegal’s Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Subaru WRC) remain in contention to win back-to-back Dunlop titles.

The pair were successful in yesterday’s Oakwood Arms Hotel Clare Rally, the penultimate round of the series. They finished a minute and 14.4 seconds ahead of Welsh pair Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank (Subaru WRC).

Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver, James O’Brien (MG ZR), were a minute and 16.2 seconds further behind in third — they claimed 16 Dunlop points to move into the lead of the series.

Even though the cockpit of his Subaru WRC began to fill with smoke, Boyle still managed to set the pace in the opening stage and led Hunter by 3.8 seconds. On the road section Boyle stuffed the opening of the oil header tank with paper and it prevented the smoke from entering the car.

With two more fastest times Boyle stretched his lead over Hunter to 17.3 seconds, the latter having picked a tyre compound that was far too soft for the conditions. He changed the wheels around with the assistance of all the top crews. White was 15.7 seconds further behind. Limerick’s Ed O’Callaghan stormed his way up the leaderboard and slotted into fourth overall followed by the Subaru of Kevin Barrett and the Starlet of Richard Moffett.

Meanwhile, Paddy McVeigh (Subaru WRC) lost time on the opening loop with suspension set-up, but recovered to take fourth and remain in the title hunt along with Steve Wood (Subaru WRC), who actually retired on the opening stage with engine troubles.

Monaghan’s Shane Maguire/Stephen Thornton (Mitsubishi) won the Group N category, Maguire has strengthened his lead Motorsport Safety Group N as his rival Josh Moffett (Mitsubishi) retired on the final loop.

With their fourth win of the campaign Roscommon’s Cormac Phelan/Katja Auhl (Citroen C2) won the Dunlop junior national rally championship.

Meanwhile, Peugeot Rally Academy driver Craig Breen retired on the final stage of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship due to a mechanical failure. He entered the stage in sixth place but stopped midday through the 21.05-kilometre test. Despite repairs by the Waterford ace and his British co-driver Scott Martin that allowed them finish the stage some 16 minutes slower than the stage and rally winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Ford Fiesta R5), they were unable to complete the 65-kilometre road section back to the finish in Nicosia.

Elsewhere, Grenagh’s Ray Casey in his Honda CBR 100 took victory in the West Cork Motorcycle Club’s Hilllclimb at Twohig’s Hill in Clonakilty. Donal Curtin (Yamaha R6) from Halfway took second and former winner Declan Swanton (Yamaha R6) from Carrigaline completed a Cork top three.

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