Kiernan recovers from road penalties to take Galway National victory
Gary Kiernan recovered from a 25s deficit helped by road penalties to take victory on the Galway National Rally.
Ryan Loughran was the early leader but he crashed his Ford Escort on the second stage of the National rally. Local man Tom Flaherty was expected to be a pacesetter but he too put his Escort off the road on the opening stage.
This left the spotlight on Donegal man Damien Tourish in his Class 13 Escort. He drove brilliantly through day one to lead Kiernan by 25s at the overnight halt.
Kiernan’s cause wasn’t helped by a 15s road penalty. Kevin Eves slotted in to third place for most of the day and held on to it despite a broken back suspension rod in his Millingtonengined Toyota Corolla costing a few seconds in stage nine.
On the Sunday stages, Kiernan made full use of his Class 14 Escort’s power to squeeze ahead of Tourish with Eves securing the podium.
In the Historics, former champion Ernie Graham showed he hasn’t lost his touch as he built up a formidable lead. Current Historic champion Frank Cunningham put his BMW M3 off the road.
Ross Forde put in a strong challenge but lost several minutes when his Escort suffered a puncture. Andy Johnston had a good early run but his Vauxhall Chevette HSR suffered a broken oil pump belt.
This left Keith Mcivor in second and Gareth Lloyd third to make it an Escort top three. Graham maintained his momentum through the Sunday stages to take the overall Historic win, Lloyd getting ahead of Mcivor to take second.
1 Gary Kiernan/ Keith Moriarty (Ford Escort Mk2) 1h47m21.9s; 2 Damien Tourish/ Domhnall Mcalaney (Escort Mk2) + 31.5s; 3 Kevin Eves/ William Lynch (Toyota Corolla); 4 Patrick Mchugh/ Pauric O’donnell (Ford Escort Mk2); 5 Eugene Meegan/ Sarah Whelan (BMW 1M); 6 Richard Whelan/james Whelan (BMW 1M); 7 Tommy Cahill/ Enda O’leary (Mitsubishi Lancer E6); 8 Jason Mcsweeney/ Liam Brennan (Lancer E9); 9 Viv Hamill/ Andrew Grennan (Escort Mk2); 10 David Quigley/adrian Comer (Honda Civic). Class winners Declan Forde/thomas Ward (Escort Mk2); Quigley/ Comer; Jason Tuthill/ Ben Teggart (Escort Mk1); Joe Donoghue/ Leona Donoghue (Escort); Tourish/ Mcalaney; Kiernan/ Moriarity; Cahill/ O’leary; Mcsweeney/ Brennan; Art Mccarrick/john Mccay (Honda Civic).
Kiernan was rapid on Sunday