The Waterford/Kerry duo of Craig Breen and Paul Nagle finished ninth overall in Rally di Roma Capitale, round three of the European Rally Championship.
Indeed, it was a difficult weekend for Irish crews with Callum Devine/James Fulton the only other Irish crew to finish the 13 stage event - they were 22nd.
Breen in the MRF Hyundai i20 R5 ended Saturday’s opening leg in 12th - 52.9 seconds behind the similar car of rally leader Italian ace Andrea Crugnolia. Motorsport Ireland Academy driver Josh McErlean rolled his Hyundai i20 R5 on S.S. 10 while Pauric Duffy retired on the previous stage after breaking a wheel of his Hyundai i20 R5.
Devine, another of the MI Academy members punctured on the second stage and dropped to 81st. Breen’s best performance came on S.S. 9 where he was sixth fastest before eventually coming into the top ten and claiming ninth - a minute and 29.1 seconds behind rally winner Giandomenico Basso (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo).
Breen said: “It’s been another weekend of development (tyre), the rally has been really nice and in my opinion merits a place in the World Rally Championship.
Meanwhile, Carlow’s David Condell (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk. 2) took a 13.4 second victory in the Laois Rallysprint on the grounds of Stradbally Hall. Driving the NPL Rally Hire & Preparation car that Keith Cronin campaigned on his return to the BRC a few weeks ago, Condell took the lead on the second of the day’s six stages and finished ahead of the Fiesta R5 of Tyrone’s Ashley Dickson, who edged out the Fiesta R5 of Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin by a mere tenth of a second.
In the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship at Mondello Park, Dubliner Derek Sheils (BMW S1000RR) took a brace of wins after retiring from the opening race that was won by Kilkenny’s Richie Ryan (Yamaha R1). Offaly’s Kevin Keyes (Kawasaki ZX6R) won all three Dunlop Supersport races, each time ahead of the similar bike of Cork’s Mike Browne.
Another Cork rider Stephen Tobin (Yamaha FZR) netted a hat-trick of wins in Moto 400 series.