Donegal’s Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) and his Monaghan co-driver Conor Foley pulled out all the stops to deny the Monaghan/Wexford duo of Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes victory in the Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Rally, round three of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC) were 27.1 seconds behind in third.
Moffett dominated the opening loop of three stages and in particular the third stage (16.08km) where its technical nature suited the local ace as he gained seven seconds on the stage. In overall terms, he led Kelly by 15.5 seconds, while White (Fiesta WRC) was 6.7 seconds further behind.
Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Fiesta WRC) took a cautious approach and was fourth, followed by the Fiesta R5 of Sam Moffett, who claimed his car was down on power. Darren Gass (Skoda Fabia R5) held sixth, but bemoaned his choice of tyres.
The top duo exchanged times on stages four and five, then on SS 6, Josh Moffett lost the lead when his Fiesta punctured the rear right wheel. New leader Kelly reckoned he should have been on a softer slick tyre. White remained in third, two-tenths of a second behind the unlucky Moffett.
Boyle was next, but a suspected differential issue was a concern. Sam Moffett’ Fiesta was back on song courtesy of a new coil pack and spark plugs.
Gass was untroubled in sixth, as an impressive Eves dictated the pace in the two-wheel drive category. Declan McCrory (Subaru WRC), Joe McGonigle (Mini WRC) and the Ford Focus WRC of Hugh Hunter rounded out the top 10.
Meanwhile, Welsh driver Tom Cave (Hyundai i20 R5) won the Pirelli International Rally, round three of the British Rally Championship. He finished 17.6 seconds ahead of the Skoda Fabia R5 of England’s Rhys Yates. Hyundai factory driver Jari Huttunen, who was quickest on the opening stage, placed third. David Bogie finished fourth after his Skoda Fabia R5 punctured midway though the event.
Defending champion Matt Edwards retired after his Fiesta R5 suffered two punctures on the third stage. He tried to nurse the car to service, but he was struck from the overall results, as he was in breach of regulations. Antrim’s Desi Henry was a non-starter.
In the Junior BRC, Northern Ireland’s Josh McErlean (Peugeot 208 R2) took maximum points for the second event in a row. They led from the start to finish 53 seconds ahead of the same car of former champion William Creighton, who lost time after hitting a bridge on the third stage.
Scot Finlay Retson (Fiesta R2) edged out Derry’s Jordan Hone to claim third by just 0.7 of a second. Billy Coleman award winner, Armagh’s James Wilson (Peugeot 208 R2), retired on the second stage with engine problems.
Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 WRC) led home teammate Andreas Mikkelsen to win Rally Argentina, round five of the World Rally Championship, by 48.4 seconds. With the best time on the Power Stage reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier (Citroen C3 WRC) denied Kris Meeke (Toyota Yaris WRC) his first podium of the season by 6.6 seconds.