The final round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship, the West Cork Hotel Fastnet Rally in Skibbereen, was won by Cavan’s Patrick Elliott and his co-driver, Paul Goodman.
As their rivals encountered problems, Elliott and Goodman stayed out of trouble.
They set a fine pace in very slippery conditions and at the end of the day’s eight stages were over a minute ahead of nearest rivals Michael Barrable and Dermot O’Gorman, who retained second in spite of a strong challenge from the Ford Focus WRC of Aaron MacHale.
The rally determined the outcome of the Patterson’s RallyNews Group N award, which was annexed by Alan Ring. With co-driver Adrian Deasy (Subaru) he did enough to guarantee the title against their only rivals Willie Fannin and Mick Courtney.
Following an off-road excursion, Ray Breen, the outgoing Dunlop National Rally Champion, dropped from second and eventually finished 22nd while Denis Cronin, who was second over the early stages, lost time with a puncture on S.S.4, which he finished in 82nd place.
He finally finished 24th.
Elliott led all through and although he had no launch control for the final two stages he wasn’t deprived of victory. Having finished third in the Fastnet Rally for the last few years, he took a deserved victory by a margin of one minute and five seconds.
James O’Sullivan was fourth on his first outing in a WR car while Mel Evans (Subaru) came home fifth.
The Group N category was won by Kevin O’Donoghue (Mitsubishi) following the demise of Kevin Kelleher with a sensor problem.
Phil Collins took his expected victory in the two-wheel-drive class and was seventh overall.
Willie Fannin was second in the Group N category and eighth overall.
The new Dunlop Group N champions, Alan Ring and Mark Morgan (Mitsubishi), completed the top 10. Non-starters included Gareth Jones and Martin Doherty.
1. P. Elliott/P. Goodman (Subaru WRC) 1h. 05m. 37s.
2. M. Barrable/D. O’Gorman (Ford Focus WRC) 1h. 06m. 42s.
3. A. MacHale/P. Nagle (Ford Focus WRC) 1h. 07m. 45s.
4. J. O’Sullivan/B. Duggan (Subaru WRC) 1h. 07m. 57s.
5. M. Evans/S. Mullally (Subaru WRC) 1h. 08m. 17s.
6. K. O’Donoghue/J. O’Leary (Mitsubishi) 1h. 09m. 24s.
7. P. Collins/D. Brannigan (Ford Escort) 1h. 09m. 51s.
8. W. Fannin/M. Courtney (Subaru) 1h. 10m. 19s.
9. A. Ring/A. Deasy (Subaru) 1h. 11m. 07s.
10. M. Morgan/T. Fisher (Mitsubishi) 1h. 11m. 24s.
Dunlop National Rally Championship provisional positions after Round 10
1. C. Donnelly 152 points.
2. P. Elliott 152 points.
3. A. MacHale 120 points.
4. M. Barrable 93 points.