Gal­way Rally re­port

Subaru man Jen­nings takes sec­ond Gal­way win in a row on tricky event

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Gal­way In­ter­na­tional Rally By Brian Pat­ter­son

Or­gan­iser: Gal­way Mo­tor Club When: Fe­bru­ary 4/5 Where: Ballybritt Gal­way Cham­pi­onships: Clon­akilty Black­pud­ding Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship Starters: 76 Stages: 15

Last year’s win­ners Garry Jen­nings and Rory Kennedy led from start to fin­ish in their Subaru Im­preza S12B WRC to join a club of four driv­ers who have won the Gal­way Rally back-to-back.

Roy White/james O’brien, in their Ford Fi­esta WRC, also pro­duced a copy­book drive to take sec­ond while max­i­mum Ir­ish Tar­mac Rally Cham­pi­onship points went to Alas­tair Fisher/gor­don Noble in their Fi­esta R5.

Fol­low­ing the long break from ral­ly­ing dur­ing the win­ter, the top driv­ers were un­der­stand­ably edgy start­ing the open­ing stage, the 7.58mile At­ty­mon test. The con­di­tions were dif­fi­cult. Although the heavy overnight rain had stopped, the roads were wet and the low win­try sun was re­flect­ing off the shiny and slippy sur­faces.

Jen­nings was first on the road. “No hero­ics,” he said at stage end, hav­ing bro­ken a long duck for his first win on the event last year.

He was still fastest, though only by a nar­row mar­gin from De­clan Boyle in his Ford Fi­esta WRC. Boyle ex­pressed sur­prise to be so close, as he felt that his car was down on power.

Jen­nings was soon to be even more com­fort­able. Boyle was hav­ing to over­drive his Fi­esta WRC to try and stay with the fly­ing Subaru in front.

In stage five, Bal­lyfa, former Ir­ish Tar­mac and Na­tional cham­pion Boyle slightly over­cooked it and thumped the rear cor­ner of his Fi­esta WRC against the scenery, punc­tur­ing a rear tyre.

He lost over four min­utes in the in­ci­dent. He did com­plete stage six and made it to ser­vice. How­ever he de­cided not to con­tinue be­cause of his on­go­ing en­gine mis­fire.

Josh Mof­fett was the fastest R5 driver through the open­ing stage, but af­ter fall­ing be­hind Fisher, he col­lected a punc­ture on stage five and he too was out of the run­ning for top ITRC points for the high­est-placed R5.

By the end of the day, that honour went to Fisher, who lay third over­all be­hind White, who was us­ing the event as a warmup for his Ir­ish Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship de­fence.

Fisher led Sam Mof­fett – fourth over­all – in the race for top ITRC points. Sam said at ser­vice af­ter stage six that he needed a change of strat­egy if he was to shake Fisher. He was un­fazed, and took a lit­tle time out of his ri­val on each of the last three Satur­day stages.

Some 21 months af­ter his last rally, Robert Barrable held fifth overnight. He had strug­gled with his Ford Fi­esta R5 early on but im­proved rapidly.

With­out Boyle breath­ing down his neck, Jen­nings was able to take it a bit eas­ier through the fi­nal three stages of day one. In­deed, Jen­nings seemed more in­ter­ested in how Ire­land were do­ing at Mur­ray­field. He still set fastest time on those three stages, he’d won all nine of the day’s stages.

The Sun­day leg was cut short. It was meant to con­sist of three loops of two stages, but the first loop didn’t run be­cause the roads were icy. One of the stages in the loop was cut from 8.45 miles to just over three miles, which the fastest driv­ers were cov­er­ing in just over three min­utes. The other stage, Knock­nagur, was a real blast. Jen­nings was able to drive at his own pace to win, while White made full use of his Fi­esta WRC’S power to move ahead of Alas­tair Fisher on the fi­nal stage.

Fisher wasn’t too down­hearted, hav­ing achieved his aim of max­i­mum Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship points, one spot ahead of near­est ri­val Sam Mof­fett in fourth. Fisher was also run­ning his Fi­esta on Kumho tyres for the first time af­ter switch­ing from Pirellis.

The re­turn­ing Barrable rounded out the top five with his plans for the rest of the sea­son af­ter Gal­way un­con­firmed.

Stephen Wright re­turned af­ter a spell out of his Ford Fi­esta R5 and took sixth over­all, ahead of the re­cov­er­ing Josh Mof­fett whose event was re­duced to dam­age lim­i­ta­tion. Both Joe Mc­go­nigle and Bren­dan Cu­miskey, eighth and 10th re­spec­tively, were adapt­ing to new Sko­das and both im­proved over the tricky two days. They sand­wiched Stephen Mccann’s Fi­esta S2000.

Pho­tos: Conor Ed­wards, KG Rally Pics, Martin Walsh

Jen­nings: two in a row in Gal­way points Fisher was com­fort­able tak­ing max

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.