LAST Sunday’s CFF Group Jim Walsh Memorial Cork Forest Rally, round four of the Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship that took place near Nadd, was won by Waterford’s Craig Breen and co-driver John Boden in the ex-Marcus Gronholm Ford Focus WRC.
They finished 22.6 seconds ahead of the Skoda Fabia R5 of Omagh brothers Patrick and Stephen O’Brien with championship leaders Derry’s Jordan and Paul Hone (Ford Fiesta R5) 31.3 seconds further behind in third.
Inchigeelagh co-driver Eamonn Creedon partnered Monaghan’s Derek Mackarel (Mitsubishi) to ninth overall. Mayfield’s Mark Murphy and his Ardfield co-driver Anthony O’Sullivan took top spot in Class 15 and were 29th overall while Bantry pair Seamus McHugh/Eoin Collins (Suzuki Swift) won Class 9 despite engine trouble.
Clondrohid co-driver Iarla McCarthy and Offaly’s Mike Garahy (Ford Escort) won Class 11F. Unfortunately, Ballyvourney’s Gerard Lucey (Mitsubishi EvoIX) and his Gneeveguilla co-driver Donagh Crowley lost time on the final stage with a fuel pump issue that dropped them from 15th to 23rd overall.
Breen punched in the fastest times on all six stages where O’Brien (Skoda Fabia R5) was best of the rest and at the halfway mark trailed the rally leader by 12.8 seconds. Hone was thirty seconds further adrift having lost time with a leak in the turbo boost pipe that was replaced at service. Omagh’s Cathan McCourt and Millstreet’s Liam Moynihan were slowed by a fuel pump sensor issue that led to their Hyundai i20 R5 cutting out on several occasions. The top four remained unchanged on the repeat loop.
The Acesigns Irish Tarmac Rally Championship concludes this Friday and Saturday with the Newry-based Modern Tyres Ulster Rally. Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5) is the raging favourite to land the title with only Welsh driver Meirion Evans (VW Polo GTi R5) the only driver that can deprive him of the title, two third-place finishes on each day will secure the title for Moffett. Alastair Fisher and Callum Devine are not competing.
Clonakilty’s Cal McCarthy (Citroen DS3 R5) is seeded at number 11. Glounthaune’s Luke McCarthy (Ford Escort) and his Ballincollig co-driver Brian Duggan are in contention to win the Historic category. The first of Friday’s three stages is at 5.33pm. There are six stages on Saturday.