After the five timed runs over the 6.5 kilometre course that was predominantly on tarmac surface with a small portion on gravel, O’Brien, who saw his lead cut to 2.1 seconds prior to the final run, took victory by 9.22 seconds.
Carrick on Suir’s James Coleman (Ford Escort) was 27.43 seconds further behind in third.
On the first of the four timed runs O’Brien was quickest but only by 1.06 seconds with O’Connell staying very much in touch.
Trevor Mulligan (Ford Escort) also made a bright start – 2.6 seconds further behind to annex third with Mark Nangle (Subaru) fourth.
O’Brien impressed in his second run and moved 4.5 seconds ahead of O’Connell with a consistent Paul Lennon topping the Buggy class with the third overall fastest time from Mulligan and James Coleman.
Even though O’Connell clouted a tyre barrier on his third run it didn’t prevent him from posting the best time as he cut the deficit to O’Brien to 4.5 seconds.
With third placed Lennon (Buggy) not eligible for the overall awards, Mulligan and Coleman shared equal third.
On the penultimate run O’Connell again set the best time to trim the deficit to 2.1 seconds and increase the pressure on O’Brien.
Nangle slotted into third with Coleman fourth. With the track fully dried out, O’Brien utilised the power of his Millington engine with telling effect and with the best lap time of the day he sealed the victory with O’Connell acknowledging that he had no more to offer on his final run.
Lennon was best of the Buggy class from Paraic Cummins and Robbie Allen.
Elsewhere, yesterday’s Cork Autocross, the penultimate round of the O’Shea Bus Hire Munster Loose Surface Autocross Championship at Ladysbridge was cancelled due to a waterlogged course.
The final event of the series, the Killarney Autocross, goes ahead at the Tralee Racecourse on Saturday.
Meanwhile Fernando Alonso will channel his “rage” to find a way back to success in the Formula One world championship, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said.
The Honda-powered McLaren struggled during the 2017 season, much to the Spaniard’s frustration. Boullier is now working on finding a return to winning ways with the team’s new Renault engine.
Alonso punpunched a hole in the wall of his room in McLaren’s facility when he was taken out of the Singapore GP at the first corner.
“He has this rage inside him that he knows he can do better,” Boullier told Motorsport.com. “He knows he can be the best. And he needs to show it.
“I always compare him to a shark. When he can sense the blood, he goes straight there,” said Boullier.
“And that is why if he feels he can be on the podium or competitive enough to be there, he will not give up one inch to anybody. So the pressure on the team will be there, but it is a good pressure.”