Controversy reigned at the Fiesta 6 Hour Endurance Race at Mondello Park yesterday where weather and track conditions led to the race being red-flagged at around half distance.
During the first hour, Ulick Burke (Smart Movers) did all the hard work before handing over to his brother Gareth, who led at the hour mark.
During the second hour, the Murray Motorsport teams upped their challenge with Greg Murphy moving into the lead ahead of Hugh Grennan in the second Murray car. The Barrable team retired with a blown engine.
Just a few minutes short of the three-hour mark, leader John Denning (Murray Motorsport) spun on a lubricant deposit and was subsequently hit by a fellow competitor and with his car badly damaged the race was stopped.
The other Murray car, with John Farrelly at the wheel, was involved in another incident that also damaged their car.
The clean up of the track took some 30 minutes but the foggy conditions gave cause for concern. Almost an hour after the incident they called time on the race.
Denning and his team-mates Michael Devaney and the Murray brothers Niall and Eoin were excluded as their car was not available for the intended re-start. The race win, provisionally, was awarded to the Murray Motorsport team of Farrelly, Grennan, Rod McGovern and Dave Maguire.
Meanwhile, in the Birr Autocross at Gravel Park near Moneygall - the final counter in the 5 Star Catering National Autocross Championship and a round of the O’Shea Bus Hire Munster Autocross Championship - Maynooth’s Padraic MacHale (Beresford Buggy) punched in the winning time on his first run at the circuit, finishing over two seconds ahead of the JB Buggy of Wexford’s Sean Cahill, who had already clinched the national series. Clonakilty’s Paul O’Driscoll (Semog Buggy) was third to retain the lead in the provincial series.
In the saloon class, Fermoy-based Polish driver Lukasz Czapnik (Subaru) won the category to clinch the national title.
Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen (VW Polo WRC) won the Kennard’s Hire Rally Australia, the final round of the World Rally Championship, finishing 14.9 seconds in front of teammate and world champion Sebastien Ogier.
The VW outfit, who will not be involved in next season’s WRC, took their 43rd win from 52 outings. Mikkelsen began the final day just two seconds ahead of Ogier, who then trimmed the margin to a mere three-tenths of a second after S.S. 18.
On the next stage, Ogier spun his VW Polo and lost some 20 seconds and had to settle for runner-up spot.
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