Mountmellick driver Anthony Culleton (Semog Buggy) extended his lead in the 5 Star Catering National Loose Surface Autocross Championship with an impressive victory in yesterday’s Skibbereen and District Car Club’s Loose Surface Autocross at Derryleigh.
His performance on the first of three timed runs proved to be decisive as he took a 1.29 second victory over the Subaru Special of Ballyvourney’s James Lucey with Clonakilty’s Paul O’Driscoll (Semog) 3.14 seconds further behind in third.
In the saloon category, Killarney’s Michael O’Donoghue (Subaru) took the spoils - finishing 1.76 seconds ahead of national series leader Limerick’s Matt Shinnors (Subaru).
Of the 44 entries, Culleton topped the timesheets on the first run – with Ennis driver Declan O’Regan (Semog) 7.51 seconds adrift and just 0.62 ahead of O’Driscoll, who incurred a five-second penalty.
Culleton’s first run time held true on the second run as he too clipped a chicane and collected a five-second penalty on his second run. Wexford’s Paul Furlong (Semog) slotted into second but lost time when he drifted wide at one point.
Although O’Regan improved his time by 1.20 seconds, he slipped to third. Having taken an early lead in the saloon section, Matt Shinnors was pushed down to second by O’Donoghue, who led by 1.07 seconds, the latter was another to collect a penalty.
Although Culleton failed to improve on his opening run time, it proved to be enough and even though Lucey clipped some seconds off his own previous time, it was only enough to claim the runner up spot. O’Driscoll’s best time was also on the final run and it secured third.
Furlong did likewise to claim fourth and increase his advantage in the Barrett Transport/Daly Motor Services Munster Autocross Championship. Vicarstown’s Dermot O’Riordan (Semog) and O’Regan completed the top six. Chris Snow Jr. (Honda Civic) won the two-wheel drive saloon category.
Meanwhile, Armagh’s Damian Toner (Ford Escort) continued his domination of the Rainbow Communications Loughgall Country Park Rally in Armagh with a fifth successive victory that was never in doubt throughout the six stages. He finished 51.1 seconds ahead of the similar car of Derry’s John Bradley with Lisburn driver Wesley Patterson (Ford Escort) just 2.3 seconds further behind.
On the first stage, Toner took a 7.1 second lead over Bradley with Patterson third. With another strong performance on the second stage, Toner stretched his lead over Bradley to 21.6 seconds with Patterson best of the rest over the two stages that were described by the top drivers as being very greasy.
Toner went on to complete his fifth straight win with fastest times on all six stages. A trio of Escorts in the hands of Bradley, Patterson and Armagh’s James Kennedy battled for the runner-up spot with Bradley seemingly in a strong position.
However, on the penultimate stage he lost time to both his rivals but hung on to take second. Patterson made a late rally but while he didn’t foil Bradley, he edged out Kennedy by seven-tenths of a second to claim third. Morris was fifth.
The Donegal Motor Club are to issue a statement later this afternoon concerning their Mini Stage Rally that was scheduled for August 10th. Following the tragedy in the recent Joule Donegal International Rally that claimed the life of Manus Kelly, the Irish Examiner understands that the club are to postpone the six-stage event.