CLONAKILTY’S Kevin Kelleher and his Laois co-driver, Ray Fitzpatrick, finished fourth overall in the Kilmallock-based Deebert House Hotel Circuit of Munster Rally, round four of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
The rally was won by the in-form Donegal driver Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) and his Derry co-driver Kevin Flanagan, who secured maximum points to bolster their bid to win the Vard Memorial Trophy.
Newcestown co-driver Adrian Deasy and his Castleisland driver Alan Ring, in the Munster Joinery liveried S12B Subaru WRC, finished second – a minute and 59.4 seconds behind the winners.
Another Cork co-driver, James O’Brien from Dromtarriffe, guided Clonmel’s Roy White (MG ZR) to third spot – 54 seconds further behind.
White/O’Brien, despite a spin on the final stage, managed to deny Kevin Kelleher (Subaru WRC) a top-three finish. Afterwards, Kelleher opined: ‘I’m disappointed with the result. For whatever reason I just couldn’t get into it today.
‘I was hoping to be going a lot harder. I lost about a minute on each loop. I just couldn’t make time. We will do the Raven’s Rock at the end of June and take it from there.’
In Group N Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi EvoX) reeled in Pat O’Connell on the final stage to claim the category.
Roscommon’s Cormac Phelan/Katja Auhl (Citroen C2R2) took the honours in the junior section and the historic category was won by Niall Keane/Conor Keane (Talbot Sunbeam).
Meanwhile, Rosscarbery co-driver Aileen Kelly partnered Derry’s Richard Tannahill (Peugeot 208 R2) to victory in Class 2 where the Ballydehob/Skibbereen crew of Jason Roycroft/Nicole O’Shea debuted their new Honda Civic and finished third in the same class.
Skibbereen’s Chris O’Donovan (Honda Civic), on his first outing of the season, and his Macroom co-driver Eoghan McCarthy were third in Class 1.
Ballineen’s Fintan Canty and co-driver Denis O’Mahony finished ninth in Class 13 and the ladies’ crew of Skibbereen’s Alison Levis and Bandon’s Sinead O’Donovan were seventh in Class 11F that was won by Youghal’s Jason Ryan (Toyota Starlet) and co-driver Peter Falvey.
Triton Showers National Rally Championship (provisional positions after round four): 1. D Kelly (Ford Focus) 89pts; 2. N Maguire (Subaru) 52pts; 3. A Ring 47pts; 4. K Barrett 44pts; 5. R White 37pts.
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Clonakilty’s Cal McCarthy has been forced to shelve plans to compete in Sunday’s Laois Heartlands Rally in Portlaoise due to business commitments. The event will consist of two stages repeated three times.
Dunmaway’s Jason McSweeney (Mitsubishi) and Rosscarbery’s Brian O’Mahony (Honda Civic) are also competing in the event.
Last year’s event winner Ed O’Callaghan (Escort) is the top seed with Frank Kelly, David Condell and Adrian Hetherington, all in Escorts, amongst the opposition.