The sibling rivalry between Monaghan’s Sam and Josh Moffett scaled new heights on the Tuffmac Trailers Lakeland Rally, the fifth round of the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship in Enniskillen.
There was little between them throughout the eight stage rally and they were even level at the top on two occasions.
The second time they were on the identical time was at the end of the rally and the organisers had to use the rules to determine the winner. Even then, the drama intensified as they recorded the identical time on the opening stage.
Their times for the second stage provided the solution as Sam, driving the Fiesta WRC, was the quickest through the stage to get the verdict, albeit on a tie-break.
With pre-event series leader Monaghan’s Michael Carbin putting his Mitsubishi off the road on the seventh stage, Ballyvourney’s Gerard Lucey, (ninth overall), moves into the lead of the series with two rounds remaining.
Omagh’s Mark Donnelly (Subaru) led after the opening stage where a margin of just two seconds covered the top four with Sam Moffett and Josh (Fiesta R5) tying for second – one second behind and similar margin ahead of the Skoda R5 of Antrim’s Desi Henry and his Millstreet Cork co-driver Liam Moynihan.
The situation remained close after the second stage where Sam Moffett set the best time to edge ahead – a second clear of Donnelly with Josh Moffett and Henry tied for third a second back.
On the third stage Donnelly lost time with a puncture while Henry’s title bid took a tumble when the turbo pipe came adrif.
Meanwhile, Sam Moffett took control and led Josh by five seconds with Donnelly seven seconds further adrift. Josh Moffett punched in equal fastest stage time on S.S. 4 to move within a second of his elder brother but Donnelly lost more time with yet another puncture.
Henry, who posted the same time as Josh Moffett, moved up to eighth.
On the first of the afternoon stages Josh was best to tie up proceedings at the head of the leaderboard. Donnelly remained in third and Henry gained another place.
The Moffett rivalry continued on stage six when Josh displaced Sam in top spot by a mere second.
Then on the 10.9-mile stage, Ballintempo, Sam used all the power of his WRC to reclaim the lead with Josh four second in arrears.
Donnelly in third was 28 seconds off second spot as Henry anchored his Skoda in fourth. In a dramatic final stage Josh was quickest to level matters and the organisers had to use the rally rules to determine the winner.
As the rally was run under an MSA (Motor Sports Association) permit the rule book states that ties will be resolved by whoever was quickest on the opening stage and failing that the second stage and so on.
Donnelly and Henry completed the top four. Josh Moffett took the top championship points while Henry collected second placed points to move to third in the series. Ballyvourney’s Gerard Lucey suffered clutch trouble from the third stage to the finish.
Shane McGirr (Toyota Starlet) was the top two-wheel drive competitor, his main rival Mickey Conlon (Escort) damaged a wheel and plummeted down the order.
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