Moffett/Rowan keep title hopes on track

Dominating the Ballina based Mayo Forest Rally from the start, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his co-driver John Rowan took their Mitsubishi Evo IX to an important victory to remain in contention to win the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship.
Moffett/Rowan keep title hopes on track

They finished 36.6 seconds ahead of the Ford Focus WRC of title rivals and series leaders Michael O’Brien/James O’Brien. The Tyrone/Donegal pairing of Martin Cairns/Gary McElhinney (Subaru WRC) were just four tenths of a second behind the Cork crew in third.

Moffett demoralised the opposition on the opening stage where he was 24.5 seconds quicker than the Subaru WRC of Martin Cairns with O’Brien another 1.4 seconds behind in third.

The Mitsubishi duo of Tyrone’s Frank O’Brien and Ballyvourney’s James Lucey and the Mk. 2 Escort of John Gordon completed the top six. On the second stage Moffett and O’Brien were credited with the same time with the former leading by 25.9 seconds, Cairns was just six tenths of a second behind O’Brien in third.

Frank O’Brien and Lucey retained their positions as former champion John Reid (Toyota Corolla WRC) slotted into sixth ahead of top two-wheel drive exponent Gordon. As Moffett extended his lead on the third stage to 34.4 seconds, O’Brien was still being hotly pursued by Cairns. With a clean sweep of fastest stage times Moffett ran out a comfortable winner – 36.6 seconds ahead of O’Brien with the series now resting between both ahead of next month’s final round.

Gerard Lucey (Mitsubishi) was in a strong position to move into third in the series until a few kilometres from the end of the final stage when he braked too late for a chicane. He had to revert to throwing the car off the track so as not to make contact with the bales, but unfortunately couldn’t get back on track. Ironically, his brother James — in line for a class win, bowed out on the previous stage when he beached his Honda Civic as he tried to overtake another car.

In the Cambrian Rally in the forests of north Wales on Saturday, fastest times on all bar two of the nine stages saw Scotland’s David Bogie (Ford Fiesta R5+) take a commanding victory. The Moffett brothers Josh and Sam in identical Ford Fiesta WRC’s, were third and fourth respectively.

Quickest through the opening three stages Bogie led the Mitsubishi of Luke Francis by twenty seconds. Josh Moffett in fourth was followed by the Citroen DS3R5 of Jonny Greer and Sam Moffett. On S.S. 3 Sam Moffett and his Bandon co-driver Karl Atkinson punctured the rear left wheel about a third of the way from the stage finish.

After opting to continue driving and changing the wheel after the stage finish, they posted their best time on the day’s fifth stage. Josh Moffett moved into second on the sixth stage – 57 seconds adrift of Bogie but Greer was forced to retire after the stage finish. On the final stage Francis punched in the best time to deny Josh Moffett runner-up spot.

Dean Raftery retired his Citroen DS3 R3.

In the 4 Hours of Estoril the AF Corse team of Cork’s Matt Griffin and his British team mates Aaron Scott and Duncan Cameron finished fourth in the LMGTE category of the ELMS, in championship terms, they had to be content with third.

Meanwhile, in the Iame World Karting Finals in Le Mans, Sam McDonnell, a member of the Motorsport Ireland Junior team gave the best performance but failed to make to qualify for yesterday’s finals. Cork karter and privateer entry Luca Allen from Ballymaloe had a small accident in the heats that ruled him out of the finals.

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