BOYLE IS KING IN KERRY
REIGNING Dunlop National Rally champions Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Subaru WRC) took an emphatic victory in the Tralee based Fels Points Hotel Circuit of Kerry Rally, the second round of the series.
Dominating all nine stages they finished a minute and 56.3 seconds in front of the Subaru WRC of British crew Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank. The Cork/Derry duo of Daragh O’Riordan/Tony McDaid (Ford Fiesta WRC) were a minute and 4.3 seconds further behind.
Several of the top ten retired during the event, amongst them European Rally Championship leaders, Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 T16), who slid off the road on the fifth stage.
On the opening stage, Mount Eagle, to the east of Castleisland, Boyle was quickest – 5.5 seconds ahead of Breen with Hunter 9.7 seconds further behind in third. James Stafford in his rear wheel drive Darrian T90 was fourth overall in a top six completed by the Subaru of Kevin Kelleher and Daragh O’Riordan (Ford Fiesta WRC). Sam Moffett in his Fiesta that was converted to Regional Rally Car (RRC) specification, was seventh.
Boyle also dominated the remaining two stages of the loop, Headley’s Bridge and Kielduff and returned to the Tralee service park with a commanding lead of 44.5 seconds. However, the rally leader remarked that the tyre compound he had selected was far too soft. Meanwhile, second placed Hunter reckoned his Subaru was down on power along with having fuel pressure problems during the entire loop of stages. Kevin Kelleher (Subaru WRC) was quite happy with his third place position and opined that he had made the right tyre selection.
Hot on the heels of the Cork driver was James Stafford even though his Darrian had a transmission glitch on the second stage, he was only three tenths of a second behind Kelleher.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][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_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Daragh O’Riordan changed the spark plugs after the opening stage where his Ford Fiesta WRC developed a misfire, he was a minute and 14.4 seconds of the lead. Kenny McKinstry (Subaru WRC) was untroubled in sixth.
Meanwhile, Craig Breen arrived at the service park having smashed the rear window following a heavy landing over a jump on the second stage. The car suffered a broken drive shaft at the start of the third stage and he dropped down to seventh overall. Sam Moffett admitted he was struggling to get to grips with the Fiesta RRC and the car was too soft. “It’s bottoming out a lot and it is taking time to get accustomed to these controlled tyres.” The Subaru WRC’s of Niall Maguire and Paddy McVeigh completed the top ten.
Elsewhere, Roy White crashed on the opening stage and although he re-joined under Rally2, his opportunities of netting Dunlop points had evaporated.
There was considerable change during the second loop, third placed Kelleher made his exit on S.S. 5 when his Subaru stopped with transmission failure. Breen slid his Peugeot 208 T16 off the road on the same stage while Kevin Barrett, who was eleventh entering the stage, stopped with a clutch malady. A stage earlier, Group N leader, Alan Ring retired his Subaru with gearbox problems at the beginning of the stage.
Meanwhile, a trio of fastest stage times allowed Boyle extend his lead over Hunter to a minute and 26.3 seconds. The rally leader had changed the tyres to a harder compound and also stiffened the suspension. Hunter’s Subaru still suffered with low fuel pressure and he lost significant time on the faster sections of the stages. An untroubled Stafford moved in the third and was followed by a somewhat downbeat Daragh O’Riordan (Ford Fiesta WRC). Kenny McKinstry was fifth as Sam Moffett continued to acclimatise to the Fiesta RRC. The Subaru WRC duo of Niall Maguire and Paddy McVeigh slotted into seventh and eighth respectively. The final places in the top ten were occupied by Steve Wood (Subaru) and Mike Quinn (Escort), who led the battle of the Escorts with Killarney driver Ed Murphy just 3.5 seconds behind.
Boyle eased off on the final stage to take his second victory of the series. Hunter claimed his first batch of Dunlop points with O’Riordan (Ford Fiesta WRC) taking third following the demise of James Stafford, who crashed out on the penultimate stage.
Kenny McKinstry in his first outing in a left hand drive car in almost six months came home in fourth place followed by Sam Moffett, who was quite pleased with his shakedown for the Circuit of Ireland Rally.
Tyrone’s Paddy McVeigh (Subaru WRC) made up a few places to claim sixth place and garnered enough Dunlop points to move into second in the series. Former triple champion Niall Maguire (Subaru) was seventh followed by British driver Steve Wood (Subaru WRC).
Killarney’s Ed Murphy (Escort) won the Modified category – his rival Mike Quinn (Escort) retired on S.S. 7 with mechanical failure. Tommy Doyle was the top Dunlop Championship registered two-wheel drive exponent.
Victory in the Group N category went to Dubliner Neil Tohill (Mitsubishi EvoIX).
The Dunlop “Drive of the Day” was won by London based Mayo driver Anthony O’Brien and co-driver Aidan Gannon (Mitsubishi EvoVIII).
Roscommon’s Cormac Phelan/Katja Auhl (Honda Civic) won the Junior category and the Kerry combination of PJ O’Dowd/John Young (Talbot Sunbeam) took the laurels in the Historic section.
1. D. Boyle/B. Boyle (Subaru WRC S12B) 1h. 03m. 56.0s.
2. H. Hunter/A. Marchbank (Subaru WRC S11) 1h. 05m. 52.3s.
3. D. O’Riordan/T. McDaid (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1h. 06m. 56.6s.
4. K. McKinstry/K. Hull (Subaru WRC S14) 1h. 07m. 21.2s.
5. S. Moffett/J. O Reilly (Ford Fiesta RRC) 1h. 07m. 22.1s.
6. P. McVeigh/G. McElhinney (Subaru WRC) 1h. 07m. 43.3s
7. N. Maguire/Conor Foley (Subaru WRC S11) 1h. 07m. 49.4s
8. 9. S. Wood/K. Moriarty (Subaru WRC) 1m. 08m. 35.0s.
9. E. Murphy/J. McCarthy (Ford Escort) 1h. 09m. 10.6s.
10. T. Doyle/L. Moynihan (Renault Clio R3) 1h. 09m. 13.9s
Dunlop National Rally Championship (Provisional Positions after Round 2): 1. D. Boyle 40pts; 2. P. McVeigh 30 pts; 3. S. Wood 26pts. 4. T. Doyle 22 pts & =5. H. Hunter & R. White 18pts.
Dunlop National Rally Championship.
– Report courtesy of “Dunlop Proud Sponsors of the National Rally Championship”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]