Swapping roles from that of co-driver, Brian Murphy won the Carlow Motor Club Rallysprint at Mondello Park that attracted an entry of 150 drivers.
With multi-tarmac champion Austin McHale as co-driver, Kildare-based Murphy, driving a Stan Harper-prepared Subaru Impreza, managed to fend of a late challenge from London based Limerick driver, Ollie O’Donovan (Subaru Legacy).
Having sorted a misfire that stymied his reconnaissance run, Murphy was fastest of the 150 drivers on the first run over the ice-covered track.
Stopping the clocks on a time of 3 mins 42.61 seconds, he was more than 0.4 of a second faster than the Subaru WRC of Maurice Gass with Niall Maguire - debuting the ex-Andrew Nesbitt Subaru WRC, occupying third place.
Murphy - with a 1.12 sec lead - remained in control through the second run and as Ollie O’Donovan leaped from fourth to second.
Maguire retained third as Gass and Kevin Barrett filled the top five places.
Although O’Donovan charged through the third and final run, Murphy’s early pace was enough to seal victory - albeit by a tenth of a second.
Maguire lost third place when he had to overtake two cars on the back of the circuit and Maurice Gass slipped ahead of the former national rally champion.
Kevin Barrett was fifth, David James was sixth and former winner Eddie Kinirons had to be content with seventh.
1. Brian Murphy (Subaru Impreza) 11m 16.29s;
2. Ollie O'Donovan (Subaru Legacy) 11m 16.39s;
3. Maurice Gass (Subaru WRC) 11m 17.78s;
4. Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) 11m 19.53s;
5. Kevin Barrett (Subaru Impreza) 11m 26.46s;
6. Eddie Kinirons (Toyota Celica) 11m 37.55s;
7. David James (Escort) 11m. 54.74s;
8. Chris Grimes (Nova) 11M. 59.26S;
9. Fergal Allen (BMW) 12m 0.00s;
10. Bernard Smith (Toyota Celica) 12m 11.01s.