After a dramatic opening on the final leg of the Easter Rally in Antrim, when the Subaru WRC of overnight leaders Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson failed to start after transmission troubles, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes took the spoils and consolidated their lead in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
At the finish in Ballymena, they were 4.6 seconds ahead of Monaghan’s Sam Moffett and his Cork co-driver Karl Atkinson, also in a Fiesta R5. Derry’s Marty McCormack and his Mallow co-driver David Moynihan (Skoda Fabia R5) were 11.8 seconds further behind in third.
Following McGarrity’s misfortune, McCormack set out on Saturday’s opening stage as rally leader, but Josh Moffett held the mantle by the stage finish. By the completion of the loop of three stages, where he was quickest on two and was one of four that were shown to have beaten the bogey time, Josh led brother Sam by eight seconds, McCormack was 2.3 seconds behind in third. The Fiesta R5’s of Robert Barrable, Daniel Cronin and Jonny Greer followed, Cronin lost time with an overshoot.
Second-placed Sam Moffett was in no mood to settle for second and was quickest on stages 10 and 11 to cut the deficit to 4.6 seconds.
However, the brothers were again credited with the bogey time for the repeat of S.S. 9 and Josh, who reckoned he had backed off too much, took victory. The only change to the top six saw Greer reel in Cronin for fifth. Donegal’s Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla) won the two-wheel category.
Yesterday, in the Rose Hotel Circuit of Kerry, round two of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship, Donegal’s Donagh Kelly and his Monaghan co-driver Conor Foley (Ford Focus WRC) won a hard-fought duel against Declan Boyle/James O’Reilly (Ford Fiesta).
Following the day’s stages in west Kerry, Kelly finished with a winning margin of 16.4 seconds, while Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC) were a minute and 19.3 seconds further behind in third.
Kelly led by 3.1 seconds on the opening stage, only for Boyle to move in front by 3.5 seconds on the next. Kelly responded to edge in front by seven-tenths of a second on the third stage. On the longest stage of the rally, Boyle grabbed a 9.7 second lead, but a puncture on the sixth stage cost him 20 seconds and he slipped 13.7 seconds behind Kelly, who subsequently led by 14.1 at the final service. Kelly’s advantage after 10 stages was 16.4 seconds and, with the final stage cancelled, that proved to be his winning margin. Stuart Darcy (Darrian) won the two-wheel drive category after Chris Armstrong overshot twice on the closing stages.
Meanwhile, French driver Sebastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta WRC) took his third victory of the WRC season, winning the Tour de Corse by 36.1 seconds from the Toyota Yaris WRC of Ott Tanak. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 WC) was 31.4 seconds adrift in third.
Citroen’s Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle crashed out of second place on Saturday’s final stage. They rejoined under Rally2 and took two points from the Power Stage.
Elsewhere, Cork racer Luca Allen collected his first points in the British F4 Championship at Brands Hatch where he finished 10th and eighth, respectively in Saturday’s two races. Yesterday, he retired the Fortec prepared car halfway through the third race.
Even though they finished outside the top 10 in the Cavan Navigation Trial, the Monaghan/Cork duo of Derek Mackarel/Muireann Hayes (Subaru) were crowned National Navigation Trial champions. The event was won by Michael Tynan/Ciaran Tynan (Subaru).
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