Dubai crash costly for Matt Griffin and Dragon Racing

A collision by one of his Dragon Racing teammates ended the aspirations of Matt Griffin and company of achieving a good result in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai. The team finished 19th of the 81 classified finishers.

Griffin and British drivers John Hartshorne and Alex Kapadia and Kuwaiti Kahled Al Mudhaf were joined by Briton Robb Barff, a late addition, as they qualified 11th on the grid.

Griffin drove for the opening stint and ran as high as sixth until a technical issue cost the team about five laps. Kapadia, Al Mudhaf and Hartstone all had stints. Then, Barff had a crash and they spent about 20 laps in the pit repairing the car. Griffin, who had four different stints in the car, totalling just over seven hours, did have the satisfaction of setting the fastest lap of all the Ferrari 458s. The race provided Audi with its inaugural win in the Dubai event as the Belgian Audi Club Team took their R8 LMS to the chequered flag. The No. 16 Black Falcon team finished second with its Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 — five laps down on the winners.

Meanwhile, in the Dakar Rally, French driver Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot) took his 12th victory and Peugeot’s first in 26 years. He finished 34 minutes ahead of the Mini of Qatari driver Nasser Al Attiyah. Nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot), who led for most of the first week, won the final stage and was ninth overall.

On the home front, the Monaghan/Longford pairing of Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes (Subaru) won a competitive Cork 1000 Shakes Navigation Trial based in Macroom. They finished with eight penalties to consolidate their lead in the Motorsport Ireland series.

The West Cork crew of Dermot Whelton/Mark McCarthy (Subaru) were second. They led initially — only dropping time at T.P. 6 near Clondrohid. However, the winners fared better over the intricate lanes after Carriganimmy.

The Limerick pair of Alan Shinnors/George Shinnors (Subaru) then moved into second, albeit a penalty ahead of Whelton/McCarthy, who finished strongly to reel in the Limerick pair. Owen Murphy/Daire Hayes (Subaru) were fourth from fellow Cork crew, Donal Healy/Denis O’Donovan (Starlet). The top Novice crew of Ulster pair Aidan Sherry/Oisin Sherlock (Subaru) were sixth overall.

Elsewhere, Steven Ferguson (Mini Special) won the weekend’s Hewison Autotest Championship double-header in Waterford. On Saturday, he finished 1.6 seconds clear of the Mini Saloon of multi champion Eamonn Byrne, with Robin Lyons (Mini Saloon) third. Ferguson was fastest in eight of the day’s 12 tests. Yesterday, Ferguson won seven of the day’s 12 tests to finish 2.1 seconds ahead of Lyons. Byrne was third.

The entry list for Rally Sweden has been approved by the FIA, the event — the second round of the World Rally Championship — shows the Irish pair of Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen DS3 WRC) seeded at number seven while Craig Breen/Scott Martin, who will make their debut with the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team, occupy the No. 15 berth.

The WRC begins next Thursday with Rallye Monte Carlo.


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