Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes en-route to victory in the Waterford based Kilsheelan Limestone Quarries/Dooley’s Hotel Raven’s Rock Rally, round five of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. Photos: Martin Walsh.

Reclaiming the lead on the fourth stage, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes won the Waterford based Kilsheelan Limestone Quarries/Dooley’s Hotel Raven’s Rock Rally and have edged closer to winning the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.  On what was their fourth win of the current campaign, they finished 18.3 seconds in front of title rivals, Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien, also in a Ford Fiesta WRC.  Wexford’s Richard Moore (Ford Escort) and co-driver John McGrath were a distant third – two minutes and 55.6 seconds further behind.
Monaghan’s Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) and his Limerick co-driver Anthony Nestor won the Motorsport Safety Team Group N category while Meath’s Brian Brady/Gary McNamee (Honda Civic) took a facile victory in the Junior category.

POWER PACKED DISPLAY
Organised by the Carrick on Suir Motor Club, there were a number of notable local performances including Dunmore East’s Keith Power and co-driver Tommy Cuddihy (Mitsubishi), who were the top local crew finishing seventh overall and winners of Class 20.  Having broken the front left shock absorber half way though the second stage, Ferrybank driver Simon Reid (Ford Escort) and co-driver Gavin Downey made a good recovery to finish twelfth overall and fourth in Class 14.  Dunhill’s Richard and Brian Harney (Ford Escort) took an impressive win in Class 13.  In Class 4 and following an off road excursion on the second stage Clashmore’s Brian O’Keeffe (Mitsubishi) and his Cork co-driver re-joined the event under Rally2 and even though a turbo pipe came adrift on the final stage, they were third in class.
With no brakes on the opening stage Ballybeg driver Gemma Kerley and her Letterkenny co-driver Jalna Breslin (Subaru) made temporary repairs before the situation was rectified at the Dungarvan service, they finished sixth in Class 20.
In the Junior category, Dungarvan’s Shane Kenneally and co-driver Jer Connors (Honda Civic) finished second overall.
Moffett was best on the opening stage near Grange to the south-west of Dungarvan where he was 1.6 seconds faster than White with the Ford Focus WRC of Hugh Hunter another 2.1 seconds further behind.  Welsh driver Sebastien Ling (Citroen DS3 R5) was some 14 seconds behind Hunter in a top six that also included the two-wheel drive cars of Richard Moore (Ford Escort) and Welsh ace John Dalton (Darrian T90 GTR).
Even though he spun and overshot, White was still best on S.S. 2 and moved 2.4 seconds ahead of Moffett.  Hugh Hunter retired when his Ford Focus WRC hit a wall and damaged the steering.  That promoted Dalton into third – 23.5 seconds further behind and 8.3 seconds in front of Cork driver David Guest (Skoda Fabia S2000).  Sebastien Ling (Citroen DS3R5) bowed out on the second stage when he hit a wall.

Dunmore East driver Keith Power (Mitsubishi) and co-driver Tommy Cuddihy were the top local crew in the Kilsheelan Limestone Quarries/Dooley’s Hotel Raven’s Rock Rally.

ALL TO PLAY FOR
Out on the third stage White and Moffett set identical times with White arriving at the Dungarvan service with that 2.4 seconds advantage as Moffett declared that he was finding it difficult to commit to the stages.  The pair had moved well clear of the opposition with Dalton 42.5 seconds adrift in third and Guest another 9.3 seconds in arrears.  An untroubled Richard Moore (Ford Escort) was fifth while Dunmore East’s Keith Power (Mitsubishi) was sixth overall and equally untroubled.
Burnley driver Daniel Harper (Mini WRC) on his first tarmac rally within the jurisdiction of Motorsport Ireland in some ten years, was seventh, he lost brakes about four kilometres from the end of the second stage. Monaghan’s Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) in eighth place led the Motorsport Safety Team Group N category as the remaining places in the top ten were occupied by the Escort of Monaghan’s Mickey Conlon and Wexford’s Tomas O’Rourke (Mitsubishi Evo IX).  Ferrybank driver Simon Reid (Escort) broke a front shock absorber half way through the second stage.
Out on the second loop as Moffett tried to get back to his usual pace, disaster struck for White. On S.S. 4, he had no handbrake, spun and stalled his Fiesta WRC, on S.S. 5, fifth gear broke and on S.S, 6, he was stymied by a rear differential problem.  The net result was that he dropped to second – 24 seconds behind Moffett.  Moore powered his way through to third albeit a minute and 42.2 seconds behind.  Dalton was fourth, Guest in fifth had to contend with the lack of gear display in his Skoda.  Power in sixth had to change a wheel due to a massive vibration but the odd combination proved a trifle difficult.

MOFFETT COMES GOOD
English driver Harper improved his times on the second loop, he was seventh in general classification followed by the Escorts of Welshman Tomas Davies and Mickey Conlon and the Mitsubishi of Donegal’s Aaron McLaughlin.  Tomas O’Rourke crashed his Mitsubishi on the fifth stage and while Shane Maguire lost time with a puncture on S.S. 6 he still had a comfortable advantage over the Mitsubishi EvoX of Dubliner Neil Tohill.
Moffett went on to take his fourth win of the season and edges closer to the Triton title and the Vard Memorial Trophy.  White’s second loop issues ultimately cost him a shot at victory but he was pleased with his pace, he was fastest through the Power Stage to secure an additional Triton point.
In a dramatic final stage Moore regained third after a titanic battle with Dalton, who was three seconds ahead entering the stage only for Moore to storm through and snatch the spot albeit by 1.4 seconds.  Guest and Harper completed the top six.
Power was untroubled as he came home as the top Carrick on Suir Motor Club driver.  The top ten was rounded out by Welsh driver Tomas Davies (Ford Escort), Donegal’s Aaron McLoughlin (Mitsubishi EvoIX) and Motorsport Safety Team Group N winner Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi).

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By Martin Walsh
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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