With his sixth victory of the season Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (27) clinched the Triton Showers National Rally Championship with a comfortable victory in the FAAC Simply Automatic/Sligo Park Hotel Rally.
Co-driven by Bandon’s Karl Atkinson, the pair finished a minute and 35.6 seconds in front of the Skoda Fabia R5 of Derry’s Desi Henry and his Cork co-driver Liam Moynihan. Former triple champion Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) and his fellow Monaghan co-driver Enda Sherry were a minute and 22.2 seconds further behind in third.
Moffett (Fiesta WRC) led initially – a 3.7 second gain over former champion Declan Boyle (Fiesta WRC) on the first stage with late entry Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5) some 8.1 seconds further behind in third followed by outgoing Triton champion Roy White (Fiesta WRC).
Further to some set-up adjustments Boyle moved ahead and by the end of the loop he led Sam Moffett by 9.4 seconds with Josh Moffett retaining third 17.4 seconds further behind.
Roy White was untroubled in fourth followed by Derry’s Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia R5) and fellow Ulsterman Jonny Greer (Citroen DS3 R5).
Having slid wide on a right-hander and lost a few seconds Boyle retained the lead until the sixth stage where he punctured and dropped three minutes and subsequently withdrew.
Jonny Greer also retired when he slid his Citroen DS3 R5 off the road.
Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5) lost third spot when he was forced to stop and change the punctured front left wheel.
At the final service Sam Moffett was in a comfortable position even though he was concerned about a vibration that was still present even though his service crew had changed rims and tyres. Henry, who moved into second reckoned his Skoda lacked power due to a turbo problem. Next in general classification Niall Maguire and Roy White both lost time with overshoots — the latter beached his Fiesta in the process.
Moffett went on to seal his sixth win of the season to claim the Vard Memorial Trophy — securing all but one of the 126 points available.
Henry netted second but had a moment on the seventh stage when he clouted the front of his Skoda Fabia R5, Maguire was third and Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5) eventually finished fourth.
In Group N, Monaghan’s Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) took victory — his rival David Guest (Mitsubishi) had a frustrating event, mostly because of tyre choice.
Monaghan’s Mickey Conlon (Escort) won the modified category and also netted the Triton Showers Drive of the Day award.
The Junior event was won by Monaghan’s Jonny Treanor (Honda Civic), who finished over a minute ahead of the Toyota Starlet of Armagh’s Jason Black with series leader Meath’s Brian Brady (Honda Civic) third.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Fredrik Ahlin (Skoda Fabia R5) has reclaimed the lead of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship courtesy of victory in the Nicky Grist Rally in Wales where two of his rivals failed to finish. Ballylickey’s Keith Cronin was forced out on yesterday’s second leg when he slid the M-Sport run Fiesta R5 off the road and damaged a front wheel.
On the opening leg Cronin hit a chicane bale and punctured on another stage as he struggled in the dust of his fellow rivals and ended the leg in fourth spot.
Pre-event series leader Osian Price (Fiesta R5) stopped close to the location where Cronin retired. The top Irish finishers were Derry’s Marty McCormack and his Cork co-driver David Moynihan, they campaigned the Fiesta R5 normally driven by Alastair Fisher to fourth spot.
Cork driver Matt Griffin and his Spirit of Race team mate Duncan Cameron had to withdraw from the British GT Championship rounds in Spa Francorchamps after Cameron crashed during practice.
The Skibbereen Autocross at Clonakilty was won by Maynooth’s Paraic MacHale (Yakar Buggy).
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