Purcell wins Tipperary Forest Rally

Even though they led from the first of the eight stages, Waterford’s, Andrew Purcell (Subaru WRC) and his co-driver, Mick Courtney had to fend off a determined challenge from reigning national forest champions, Stephen Moore/Tony McHugh (Ford Focus WERC) to win the Sean Conlon Memorial Tipperary Forest Rally.

Even though they led from the first of the eight stages, Waterford’s, Andrew Purcell (Subaru WRC) and his co-driver, Mick Courtney had to fend off a determined challenge from reigning national forest champions, Stephen Moore/Tony McHugh (Ford Focus WERC) to win the Sean Conlon Memorial Tipperary Forest Rally.

The rally, based in Mitchelstown, was the first round of the Hankook Tyres National Forest and the opening round of the new Junior Rally Championship that was won by Cork pair, Jason Ryan/ Tadhg O'Sullivan (Honda Civic)

Purcell began proceedings by taking a 16 second lead on the first stage, Moore in second, lost precious time with a spin.

Moore powered his way back into contention while Purcell had to turn off the anti-lag when his Subaru overheated. By the end of the third stage, Purcell’s lead was cut to two seconds.

On the fourth stage, he gained three seconds and arrived at the Mitchelstown service with a five second advantage.

Ray Breen in a Ford Focus, on what was his first forest event in over 15 years, held third from Colin Britton (Mitsubishi) and Denis Cronin (Subaru).

Purcell moved 24 seconds in front as Moore lost time with a puncture on S.S. 5.

However, he made a stunning response on S.S. 6 and duly trimmed Purcell’s lead to six seconds.

There was no change on the penultimate test as they both set the same time.

In a final throw of the dice, Moore was five seconds to the good through the last stage but agonisingly fell sort of overall victory by a single second.

Breen finished third with Denis Cronin bringing his Subaru home in fourth place.

Others in the top ten included John Reid (Toyota Corolla WRC) and Brian Lawlor (Mitsubishi), who came out best in the Group N category.

1. A. Purcell/M. Courtney (Subaru WRC) 57m. 22s.

2. S. Moore/T. McHugh (Ford Focus WRC) 57m. 23s.

3. R. Breen/C. Breen (Ford Focus WRC) 58m. 51s.

4. D. Cronin/H. O'Sullivan (Subaru WRC) 59m. 49s.

5. J. Reid/E. Shiels (Toyota Corolla WRC) 1h. 00m. 45s.

6. B. Lawlor/P. Cavanagh (Mitsubishi) 1h. 00m. 55s.

7. C. Britton/A. Kierans (Mitsubishi) 1h. 01m. 38s.

8. P. Keenan/M. McNulty (Mitsubishi) 1h. 01m. 56s.

9. J. Heany/L. McLaughlin (Mitsubishi) 1h. 02m. 01s.

10. C. Smith/B. McNamee (Ford Sierra) 1h. 02m. 48s.

In the Junior category, Damien McCarthy/Eamonn Hayes (Civic) took the early initiative and within two stages, they had amassed an eleven second advantage over Ryan/O’Sullivan.

In a tense contest, Ryan moved ahead at the end of S.S. 3, albeit by a second and then added two more seconds on Stage 4.

McCarthy’s Honda developed suspension trouble on S.S. 5 as Ryan forged ahead and when McCarthy slid his Honda off the forest track – that was undamaged in the episode - Ryan went to take a fine victory.

Jack Newman/David Coyle (Honda Civic) were second with Peter Wilson and his co-driver, John Kilmurry finishing third.

Juniors:

1. J. Ryan/T. O'Sullivan (Honda Civic) 1h. 06m. 45s.

2. J. Newman/D. Coyle (Honda Civic) 1h. 07m. 32s.

3. P. Wilson/J. Kilmurry (Honda Civic) 1h. 07m. 42s.

4. E. Power/W. Power (Peugeot 106) 1h. 08m. 32s.

5. A. Lehane/D. Fleming (Honda Civic) 1h. 10m. 10s.

6. B. Mulvihill/E. Geraghty (Honda Civic) 1h. 10m. 10s.

7. M. Sheehan/A. O'Connaill (Peugeot 206) 1h. 11m. 16s.

8. S. Moynihan/A. Moynihan (Peugeot 206) 1h. 11m. 17s.

More in this section

CourtsMotorsportHeathrowPlace: MitchelstownPlace: CorkPerson: PurcellPerson: Andrew PurcellPerson: Mick CourtneyPerson: Stephen MoorePerson: Tony McHughPerson: Jason RyanPerson: Tadhg O'SullivanPerson: MoorePerson: Ray BreenPerson: Colin BrittonPerson: Denis CroninPerson: BreenPerson: John ReidPerson: Brian LawlorPerson: A. PurcellPerson: M. CourtneyPerson: S. MoorePerson: T. McHughPerson: R. BreenPerson: C. BreenPerson: D. CroninPerson: H. O'SullivanPerson: J. Reid/E. ShielsPerson: B. LawlorPerson: P. CavanaghPerson: C. BrittonPerson: A. KieransPerson: P. KeenanPerson: M. McNultyPerson: J. HeanyPerson: L. McLaughlinPerson: C. SmithPerson: B. McNameePerson: Damien McCarthyPerson: Eamonn HayesPerson: Ryan/O’SullivanPerson: RyanPerson: McCarthyPerson: Jack NewmanPerson: David CoylePerson: Peter WilsonPerson: John KilmurryPerson: J. Ryan/T. O'SullivanPerson: J. NewmanPerson: D. CoylePerson: P. WilsonPerson: J. KilmurryPerson: E. PowerPerson: PowerPerson: A. LehanePerson: D. FlemingPerson: B. MulvihillPerson: E. GeraghtyPerson: M. SheehanPerson: A. O'ConnaillPerson: S. MoynihanPerson: A. MoynihanEvent: Tipperary Forest RallyEvent: Sean Conlon Memorial Tipperary Forest RallyEvent: Hankook TyresEvent: Junior Rally ChampionshipOrganisation: WaterfordOrganisation: Subaru WRCOrganisation: Ford Focus WERCOrganisation: Honda CivicOrganisation: SubaruOrganisation: MitsubishiOrganisation: Toyota Corolla WRCOrganisation: Ford Focus WRCOrganisation: FordOrganisation: Ford SierraOrganisation: CivicOrganisation: HondaOrganisation: Peugeot 106Organisation: Peugeot 206
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