Following a drivers briefing on Saturday morning, the crews were allowed what one of the organisers described as a “sighting run” over the two special stages. However, it was agreed that it was unwise to continue and the event was cancelled. Aside from the stages involved, the condition of the routes of the emergency services gave further concern and the club had no option only to cancel the event. The Donegal organisers are scheduled to discuss the situation with Motorsport Ireland today with a view to making a refund of most of the entry fee to the competitors involved.
Meanwhile, Brian Armstrong (Escort) won the Gullion Rally in Newry where he finished 30 seconds ahead of the Escort of Michael Conlon, Alan Nesbitt, also in a Ford Escort, who was third. The event was dominated by Neil McCance (Mitsubishi), who built up a 57 second advantage courtesy of fastest times on all six stages prior to his exit on the penultimate test.
Derry’s Marty McCormack and his Cork co-driver, David Moynihan (Citroen C2R2) finished 24th overall in the Rallye du Var in France. The rally was won by Cedric Robert (Peugeot 307 WRC), who finished 27.3 seconds in front of the Peugeot 207 S2000) of Bryan Bouffier. Stephane Sarrazin, also in a Peugeot 207 S200, was third. Sebastien Ogier (Citroen DS3) finished fifth.
Portugal’s, Filipe Albuquerque secured a debut Race of Champions victory after he defeated Sebastien Loeb in the Grand Final in Düsseldorf. Some 64,000 spectators turned out to watch the Race of Champions spectacular at Esprit arena. Albuquerque beat Loeb 2-1 in the best-of-three Grand Final on the specially-constructed parallel track. Albuquerque dispatched F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel en route to the final. Meanwhile, Loeb had a quarter-final win over eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and a semi final win against Touring car specialist, Andy Priaulx in the powerful Audi R8 LMS. In the earlier round-robin group stage, that produced each of the quarter-finalists, Heikki Kovalainen was involved in a major accident. Just after he took the chequered flag, his Audi R8 LMS ploughed through the barriers and hit the concrete. The F1 driver escaped injury but needed a precautionary visit to a local hospital that ruled him out of the remainder of the event.
On Saturday evening, Team Germany, comprised of newly crowned Formula 1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, beat Team Great Britain (Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx) to win the ROC Nations Cup. World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb and F1 legend Alain Prost lost out at the semi-final stage along with Team Benelux (Jeroen Bleekemolen & Bertrand Baguette). In the final, Schumacher was pitted against Team GB’s Plato, both in identical KTM X-Bows for the first of the best of three races, Schumacher winning by just under two seconds. On board the all powerful Audi R8 LMS cars for the second race, Priaulx took the chequered flag to set up a title decider against Schumacher. In a close contest, Schumacher edged out Priaulx and clinched Team Germany’s fourth ROC Nations Cup crown in front of a 36,189 crowd.
Tipperary’s, Lionel Percy (Honda Special) and Cork’s James Lucey (Mazda Special) were the respective winners of the Birr Loose Surface Autocross double header at Shinrone, County Offaly over the weekend. On Saturday’s round of the Jerry Murphy Tyres Munster Autocross Championship, Percy set his best time in his third and final run to finish four tenths of a second ahead of the Subaru of James Lehane. David Fallon (Vauxhall Special) was third.
Yesterday, in a closely fought battle, Ballyvourney’s James Lucey punched in his best time on the second run that was enough to secure victory ahead of fellow Cork driver Daniel Cronin. Lehane was third. Meanwhile, Ian Stanley (Honda Civic) with two class wins and Mark Dolphin (Mini Special), who was second in Class 6 in both events, are in contention for the overall championship award that will be decided with the Munster Autocross and Cork Autocross events late next month.
Meanwhile, the Midland Navigation Trial at Drumlish, County Longford was won by the Expert crew of Andy Mackerel/Liam Higgins.