Donegal driver Declan Boyle, co-driven by his cousin Brian Boyle, took their Subaru Impreza World Rally car to a dominant victory on Sunday’s Fel’s Point Hotel Circuit of Kerry Rally.
Boyle lead from the start and afforded to back off over the final loop of three stages to take his third win out of three starts this season. He has now won the opening two rounds of the Dunlop Irish National Rally Championship.
Welsh visitor Hugh Hunter and co-driver Andy Marchbank were second despite their Impreza suffering fuel pressure problems all day. Nevertheless, he gallantly admitted at the finish of the ninth stage event the even with a perfect car they would not have been able to stay with the winner’s pace at the head of the field.
Former Rally of the Lakes winner Darragh O’Riordan inherited third in a rally of high attrition. He was never happy with the times he was setting. A misfiring engine on the opening Mount Eagle stage was cured by fitting new spark plugs on the road section to stage two, Headley’s Bridge, only for the problem to reoccur several times later in the day.
Rally legend Kenny McKinstry enjoyed a trouble-free run to fourth in his Impreza WRC S14. Fifth placed Sam Moffat was out for the first time in his new Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Car and admitted it took a while to settle in to. He was also forcing himself to use the regulation control tyres used on European Championship events ahead of his planned participation of the Circuit of Ireland at Easter.
Paddy McVeigh overtook Niall Maguire over the latter few stages while Welsh visitor Steve Wood completed the top eight.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]
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Breen appearance in Kerry
Factory driver Craig Breen brought his Peugeot Team and the brand new Peugeot 208 T16 to Tralee as part of a high speed test session ahead of their appearance on the Circuit of Ireland. They were very lucky to make the start after the car broke its gearbox in the hands of teammate Kevin Abbring during a private test session on the eve of the rally. A new gearbox was shipped in from France on Saturday evening a fitted by the crew late on Saturday night. Breen got off the a good start and was only five seconds off Boyle on the opening Mount Eagle stage. However his rally began to fall apart later in the loop, a broken front drive shaft was quickly followed by the rear windscreen smashing in the car after a heavy landing of a stage three, Kilduff, jump. He crashed out two stages later after misjudging a square junction and while there was limited damage inflicted on the car he was unable to extract it from the North Kerry hedge.
It was a rally of high attrition and that same stage that claimed Breen also claimed several more front runners. Ballyduff-born Kildare man Kevin Barratt retired when the engine on his Impreza let go on junction 17 while the hard charging Kevin Kelliher, who was at one stage running as a high as third also disappeared in the stage.
Later, Darrian T90 driver, James Stafford, who up to this point had put in one of the drives of the rally, crashed out on stage seven. One stage later, local hero Mike Quinn was side-lined after his Ford Escort suffered a mechanical problem, costing him a potential top-ten place.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]
Two wheel drive battle
Killarney-based Escort driver won a tight two-wheel battle over the Renault Clio of Tommy Doyle. Just 3.3 seconds separated the crews at end of the event. Quinn was in the mix to until hi stage eight demise while Frank Kelly , fresh from his top ten result on Rally Trinidad last week, survived a opening stage trip to the Kerry scenery to take third overall.
As side from Quinn’s hard luck and Murphy’s class win there were plenty of other Kerry crews who had stories to tell after the day. Ed Synan and his Killflynn co-driver were 14th overall and third in class 14 despite clutch failure early in the event. Father and son team Charlie and Johnny Hickey fest they were not on the pace early in the day but got quicker as the day went on to finish 16th overall, one place ahead of Tom Relihan and Maurice McElligott in their Ford Escort Mk1. Knocknagoshel’s Mike Nelligan and John Hurley won the rear-wheel-drive 1600cc class while Mike and Paddy Costello, from Ballybunion, were second. Pat Barry and Stephen O’Connell, from Lisselton, separated the 160cc runners in the overall standings in 22nd.
Firies crew Cyril Wharton and Helen Duggan won class 12 in their Ford Escort Mk2 from Glenflesk’s Denis Hickey and Eoin O’Leary. Paddy O’Rourke and Tony Healy, from Brosna, came home in 29th position. Local co-driver Keith McCarthy guided Limerick’s Pat Ryan to first in class nine. Jason Costelo and Garry Carrol were third in class 11R. Eddie Kennelly and Jonathan Keane were second in class 12 while Birmingham based Listowal man Joachim Buckley made his trip home worth while by winning class seven in his newly acquired Peugeot 306. Tralee’s Graham Kelliher and David O’Brien recorded their first-ever rally finish despite a coming together with a wall on the Headley’s Bridge stage in their hired Escort. Radio Kerry engineer Trevor Galvin retired early in the rally but was allowed re-join under Rally2 rules in his Subaru Impreza.
Leading local retirements included Alan Ring whose Impreza broke its gearbox off the start of stage four.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Tralee’s PJ O’Dowd and John Young, the defending Top Part West Coast historic rally champions, recorded their second historic national rally win of the year and are now clear leaders of this category in the national series. Tralee co-driver Paidraig Brick guided County Louth’s Phillip McKibben to second in this section.
DUNLOP Drive of the Day
London-based Sligo man Anthony O’Brien took the prestigious Dunlop Drive of the Day award on Sunday’s Fel’s Point Hotel Circuit of Kerry in Tralee on Sunday.
The Mitsubishi Lancer driver admitted at the end of the rally that it was big surprise to get nominated for the award. He competes in class 20 and he started Sunday morning against some of the biggest names in Irish rallying.
Factory driver Craig Breen was using the rally as a test session for the forthcoming Circuit of Ireland , a counting round of the European Rally Championship, but his Peugeot test team elected to bring their test ca to Kerry and as that was not homologated it was forced to run in Class 20 alongside O’Brien’s machine. He also faced Roy White’s MG ZR. White arrived in Kerry holding second place overall in the Dunlop National Rally Championship.
However White Crashed out on stage one and Breen followed soon after (see main report) and that left O’Brien with a commanding lead in the class.
He said: “We came here to race John Folan who is on much the same pace as us but when I heard he withdrew his entry I said there is no way we will get a result on this rally given the massive opposition. Early in the day I broke and engine mounting after a heavy landing over a big jump and definitely thought all chances of a result were gone out the window.
He went on to finish 18th overall and record his best result in a national rally. He praised his team from CCS Race and Rally and his co-driver Aidan Gannon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_tabs][vc_tab title=”OVERALL” tab_id=”1396894583-1-97″][vc_column_text]1 Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Impreza WRC) 63m 56s,
2 Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank (Impreza WRC) 65m 52s,
3 Daragh O’Riordan/Tony McDaid (Fiesta WRC) 66m 57s,
4 Kenny McKinstry/Kenny Hull (Impreza WRC) 67m 21s,
5 Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (Fiesta RRC) 67m 22s,
6 Paddy McVeigh/Gary McElhinney (Impreza WRC) 67m 43s,
7 Niall Maguire/Conor Foley (Impreza WRC) 67m 49s,
8 Steve Wood/Keith Moriarty (Impreza WRC) 68m 35s,
9 Ed Murphy/John McCarthy (Escort) 69m 11s,
10 Tommy Doyle/Liam Moynihan (Clio R3) 69m 14s.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”OTHER AWARDS” tab_id=”1396894583-2-100″][vc_column_text]
Group N Production class:
Neil Tohill/Gerard Tohill (Lancer Evo 9) 72m 16s.
rally.ie Two wheel drive award:
Ed Murphy/John McCarthy.
1 P J O’Dowd/John Young (Sunbeam) 52m 42s,
2 Philip McKibbin/Padraig Brick (Escort) 54m 09s.
1 Cormac Phelan/Katja Auhl (Civic) 50m 17s,
2 Niall O’Sullivan/Carrie Moloney (Citroen C2) 52m 19s,
3 Paul Considine/Alan Lane (Civic) 52m 41[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][/vc_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]