Yesterday’s, Cavan Rally was marred by tragedy during the first stage of the event near Bailieborough.
A competing car went off the road after landing over a crest and crashed into the front garden of a house. Two people, a photographer and a female spectator, were killed and seven others injuries. The stage was immediately stopped and the rally was cancelled.
The accident took place about a mile from the stage start between junctions two and three, not far from Bailieborough where the rally was being hosted for the first time.
A spokesperson from the organisers, the County Cavan Motor Club, said, “At this time all our energy is focused on the families of those involved in this tragic accident. The relevant authorities were immediately advised of the incident and the rally rescue services attended the scene. An investigation has begun into all facts surrounding the accident.”
Motorsport Ireland has extended its sympathies to the families and friends of the two spectators who were killed and the seven others who were injured. The governing body has launched a full investigation with the relevant authorities.
Tyrone’s Alastair Fisher (Fiesta R2) continues to lead the FIA WRC Academy series after finishing second in the category on the Acropolis Rally, the second round of the series. Welsh ace, Elfyn Evans took hismaiden victory in the series courtesy of a faultless display. He was co-driven by the vastly experienced Phil Pugh.
Evans led throughout and finished over two minutes in front of Fisher, who survived a roll on the final leg. Brendan Reeves took third after the demise of Pontus Tidemand with driveshaft failure two stages from the end. World rally champion, Sebastien Loeb in his Citroen DS3 secured his 71st career victory on the Acropolis Rally, the French ace giving a masterful display, capping his victory with a win on the Power Stage to increase his lead of the WRC to 30 points after six events. Loeb joins legends Miki Biasion, Walter Rohrl and Carlos Sainz as a three-time winner in Greece.
Starting out yesterday’s final leg, Petter Solberg (Ford Fiesta WRC) was only 10.2 seconds behind Loeb but the Norwegian driver and his Irish co-driver, Chris Patterson, crashed out. They ripped a rear wheel off their Fiesta when it struck a tree. That elevated Loeb’s team-mate Mikko Hirvonen into second and he went on to finish 40 seconds behind Loeb. Jari Matti Latvala, who returned to the Ford outfit after injury, took third — two minutes and 24.8 seconds further adrift. The Finn was challenging for victory until he lost considerable time when his Fiesta hit a bank and punctured during the penultimate leg. Mads Ostberg (Fiesta) was fourth followed by Martin Prokop (Fiesta) and Thierry Neuville (Citroen). Sebastien Ogier (Skoda) was seventh for Volkswagen Motorsport.
Corkonian, Gerard Quinn, Ford Racing motorsport manager remarked, “Jari-Matti made a strong return after injury and a podium was the least he deserved, given the pace he showed. The battle for the lead yesterday (Saturday) was thrilling.
“Petter, too, challenged for victory and on another day perhaps he would have taken the win. Rallies are won and lost in split second incidents and that’s something we saw today.”
In the Premier Autoparts Munster Autotest Championship double header at Bandon, Waterford’s Paddy Power (Mini Saloon) and Cork’s, LiamCashman (Toyota Starlet) were therespective winners of the third and fourth rounds. On Saturday’s test, Power had a comfortable winning margin of 25.7 seconds over the Mini Saloon of Ian White. Yesterday,Cashman had to fend off the challenge of Damian Doran (Mini Salon) who finished 8.4 seconds behind. Former double British rally champion, Keith Cronin (Citroen DS3) is seeded at number two for the Jim Clark Rally in Scotland, the fourth round of the British Rally Championship that begins on Friday. Northern Ireland’s Mark Donnelly (Renault Clio) occupies the number one berth and Finland’s Jarkko Nikara (Citroen DS3) runs behind Cronin.
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