Third place on the Galway Summer Rally was enough for Aaron MacHale to clinch the Dunlop National Rally Championship today.
With outright victories in Carlow, Cavan, Sligo and Kilkenny (Raven’s Rock Rally), the Dubliner netted maximum points to clinch the Vard Memorial Trophy.
The eight stage Athenry-based event was won by Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru) who finished six seconds ahead of the S12 Subaru of Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan.
MacHale and his co-driver, Killian Duffy (Ford Focus WRC) finished third – three places ahead of Niall Maguire to claim the Vard Memorial Trophy.
It completes a unique family collection for the MacHales with Aaron’s national title adding to his father, Austin’s Tarmac Championships and brother, Gareth’s, victory in the National Forestry series.
The Group N category was won by Willie Fannin/Paddy Robinson (Subaru).
The top two wheel drive performers were Brian O’Mahony/John Higgins (Renault Clio).
McNulty set the pace and led from the start while MacHale always kept his eye on his title bid.
1. T. McNulty/E. O’Donnell (Subaru WRC) 1h. 02m. 35s.
2. E. Boland/F. Regan (Subaru WRC) 1h. 02m. 41s.
3. A. MacHale/K. Duffy (Ford Focus WRC) 1h. 03m. 07s.
4. M. Barrable/D. O’Gorman (Ford Focus WRC)1h. 03m. 19s.
5. P. Elliott/P. Goodman (Subaru WRC) 1h. 03m. 56s.
6. N. Maguire/P. McLaughlin (Subaru WRC) 1h. 04m. 25s.
7. D. McGarrity/D. Falvey (Subaru WRC) 1h. 05m. 38s.
8. S. Gallagher/E. Sherry (Subaru WRC) 1h. 05m. 55s.
9. W. Fannin/P. Robinson (Subaru) 1h. 06m. 07s.
10. I. Barrett/E. O’Flaherty (Subaru) 1h. 06m. 40s.
Dunlop National Rally Championship (Provisional standings after Round 8):
1. A. MacHale - 136 points.
2. N. Maguire - 117 points.
3. P. Elliott - 84 points.
4. M. Curran - 76 points.
5. G. Allen - 75 points.
6. K. Barrett - 74 points.
7. M. Barrable - 72 points.