Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Brian Pat­ter­son

Or­gan­iser: Cork Mo­tor Club When: Au­gust 14 Where: Mal­low, Co. Cork, Ire­land Cham­pi­onship Valvo­line Ir­ish For­est Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: 6 Starters: 71

Port­glenone’s Desi Henry put on a dom­i­nant dis­play to lead the Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally from start to fin­ish in his Skoda Fabia R5.

Pa­trick O’brien, this time with Aine Mcguigan co-driv­ing in his Mit­subishi Lancer, made a late surge to take sec­ond, over­turn­ing the deficit to Adrian Hether­ing­ton’s Toy­ota Corolla WRC.

The re­sult means the fight for the cham­pi­onship with three rounds to go is even closer.

Michael Carbin has in­creased his points lead over Ger Lucey. Desi Henry won the sec­ond round of the se­ries, the Moon­raker, and com­bined with his Cork win here, has moved into con­tention. Also in a strong po­si­tion is first-round win­ner Pa­trick O’brien. His sec­ond place on this rally strength­ens his hand as well.

The rally started with the fa­mous Bweeng stage, and then moved to the Mount Hi­lary test.

The third stage in the loop, Duhal­low, was the long­est at 9.5-miles. In­cor­po­rat­ing some new mileage through wind farms, the driv­ers were full of praise for this fast new stage.

Henry – guided by Liam Moyni­han – was quick­est from the out­set.

Through Dun­hal­low he recorded a time of 8m46.3s. No other driver broke the nine minute mark. Henry was run­ning first of the four-wheel-drive cars, and pos­si­bly was clear of the worst of the dust, al­though he was to an ex­tent clean­ing off the loose gravel.

Hether­ing­ton/gary Nolan lost a few sec­onds be­cause of the dust in stage three, as he was catch­ing Martin Cairns, who was still set­tling in to his Ford Fi­esta WRC. In the af­ter­noon the or­gan­is­ers brought in two-minute gaps be­tween the cars, which eased the dust sit­u­a­tion.

On the sec­ond half of the rally, a re­peat of the first three stages in a dif­fer­ent or­der, Henry was able to ease his pace some­what, as he had a de­cent lead. He was try­ing to save his Skoda for next week­end’s Ul­ster Rally. He fin­ished the event with­out putting a mark on the car, and pro­nounced it a “very en­joy­able day, su­per stages”.

Hether­ing­ton had 18s in hand over Pa­trick O’brien go­ing into the final stage. How­ever Hether­ing­ton’s Corolla WRC col­lected a punc­ture on rocks with just over five miles of the stage re­main­ing. He dropped over 20s and from sec­ond to third, just ahead of Michael O’brien’s Ford Fi­esta. Mark Don­nelly/stephen O’han­lon had been as high as third at the mid-point but they lost time in stage six when, with the tyres on their Mit­subishi Lancer were worn out, they couldn’t get stopped for a junc­tion and had a big over­shoot. They were also trou­bled with dust com­ing into the car but fin­ished fifth. Michael Carbin had a con­sis­tent run through­out the day to fin­ish sixth.

In the two-wheel-drive sec­tion, Shane Mc­girr made life tough for him­self when he spun his Toy­ota Star­let al­most within sight of the stage two fin­ish, and also had a trip into a ditch on another stage. This al­lowed David Crossen into the lead, but Mc­girr pulled out all the stops to set a fab­u­lous time on the final stage to just squeeze ahead of Crossen, with Mickey Con­lon third. Sea­mus O’con­nell/brian Dug­gan were well in the hunt for most of the day, but Sea­mus pulled out be­fore the end when he hurt his back.

In the ju­nior sec­tion David and An­drew Beamish (Opel Corsa) took the win. BRC crew Adam Bus­tard/ Aaron John­ston crashed their Ford Fi­esta R2 on the penul­ti­mate stage.

Pho­tos: Dan Cash­man

Henry’s win makes ti­tle shot a pos­si­bil­ity

Sea­mus O’con­nell pulled out of class chal­lenge with bad back

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