Josh Moffett second in first gravel rally

On his first gravel rally in his CombiLift Ford Fiesta WRC Monaghan’s Josh Moffett took an impressive second place in the Plains Rally in Wales where his older brother Sam, in an identical car, was sixth.

Josh Moffett second in first gravel rally

The younger Moffett, co-driven by John Rowan finished just six seconds behind the Subaru WRC of Dave Weston/Kirsty Riddick. Sam Moffett was co-driven by Bandon’s Karl Atkinson.

On the short opening stage Weston was quickest – two seconds up on top seed Eaun Thorburn (Ford Focus WRC) with both Sam Moffett and Hugh Hunter (Subaru WRC) tying for third – a second further behind. Josh Moffett held sixth – five seconds off top spot.

On the first run through Gartheiniog, Josh Moffett moved to third as Thorburn set the best stage time to join Weston at the head of classification – Moffett was 13 seconds off the lead with brother Sam fifth – 24 seconds off top spot. Second quickest on S.S. 3 was enough to promote Josh Moffett into second, 17 seconds adrift of Weston. Thorburn lost time with a puncture, Sam Moffett was fifth.

Both Monaghan drivers punctured on S.S. 4 – ironically, both rear left wheels and while Josh maintained second Sam slipped to sixth.

Punching in the best time on the penultimate stage Josh consolidated his second place position and cut Weston’s advantage to 15 seconds and although he was quickest again on the final stage Weston won by six seconds. Sam, on what was his first gravel event in eight months came home sixth.

Meanwhile, another Monaghan driver Stephen Wright in a Ford Fiesta R5 netted third in the Sezoens Rally in Belgium. The event was won by Freddy Loix (Skoda Fabia S2000), who finished 12.4 seconds ahead of the Citroen DS3 R5 of Vincent Verschueren.

Wright, co-driven by Belgian Eddie Smeets was over a minute further behind in third. Chris Van Woensel led until he crashed his Mitsubishi WRC on S.S.12. Wright collected a ten second penalty on S.S. 3 but grew in confidence as the rally progressed – he was third fastest time on S.S.13 and was second quickest on the penultimate stage.

Cork racer Matt Griffin and his British team mates Duncan Cameron and Aron Scott finished fifth in the LMGTE category of the 4 Hours of Imola, the second round of the European Le Mans Series.

In the LMP2, the Irish owned Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03R-Nissan driven by Nathanael Bertyhon finished second behind the Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca-Nissan of Tristan Gommendy.

In motorcycling, Antrim’s Alastair Seeley equalled Robert Dunlop’s all-time North West 200 record of 15 wins courtesy of victories in the second Supersport and Superbike races on Saturday.

The Carrickfergus rider was denied the opportunity to set a new all time record when he was edged out by Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston in the Superstock race.

In the Birr and District Motor Club Autotest double-header there were wins for Dubliners John Nolan (Toyota Starlet) on Saturday and Alan Auerbach (Toyota Starlet) yesterday.

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