HURSON WINS IN ROAD-MODE IN DONEGAL
Donegal Harvest Rally
Organiser: Donegal Motor Club When: October 7 Where: Dunfanaghy, County Donegal Championship: Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship Stages: 9 Starters 132.
Peadar Hurson set fastest times on all nine stages of the Donegal Harvest Rally on his way to winning the Creeslough-based event in a right-hand-drive Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
Hurson’s rally wasn’t all plain sailing, however, as an engine misfire on the first loop of stages forced him to run the World Rally Car in road-mode for the remaining stages, meaning no anti-lag system.
Hurson led from the start as number one seed, Declan Boyle, slid his Fiesta RS WRC off the road on the opening section of the first stage. Joseph Mcgonigle was unable to match the pace of the WRC Fiesta and finished in second position, a minute behind the leaders in his Skoda Fabia R5.
Rounding out the podium was Ryan Loughran who finished as top two-wheel-drive runner in his Ford Escort Mk2. Kevin Eves had been leading the battle until he bent a bottom steering arm on his Toyota Corolla after clipping a rock on SS6, forcing him to retire from the rally.
Damien Toner’ s Milling tonpowered Ford Es co rtMk 2 charged to fourth overall and took Class 14 honours after surviving a mechanical scare on SS1. Toner’s Mk2 was hauled up on its side by his fellow competitors as he fixed the car’s differential before going into SS2.
A second-fastest time on SS8 helped Donegal native Brian Brogan charge back to fifth overall after losing time on wrong tyres through the opening loop. He headed off perennial Group N winner Shane Maguire.
Ed O’callaghan won Class 13 in seventh overall aboard his Escort Mk2.
Border champion, Mickey Conlon was second in Class 13 behind O’callaghan, although John Bonner and Rory Kennedy were sandwiched between them in the overall results with Bonner eighth and Conlon ninth overall.
Johnny Jordan won Class 11R after surviving a big moment on SS2 to finish 10th overall.
British Rally Championship frontrunner Marty Mccormack finished fourth in Class 13 in an historic-spec Mk2, 12th overall with Barney Mitchell on the notes.
Donagh Kelly – the 2015 Irish Tarmac and Irish National champion – was on 00 duties in a freshly built Opel Ascona 400, recalling the car James Cullen drove to second on the 1988 Donegal International Rally. The livery was applied by Mitchell. Results 1 Peadar Hurson/ Damien Connolly (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1hr 3m 10s; 2 Joseph Mcgonigle/ Ciaran Geaney (Skoda Fabia R5) +1m1s; 3 Ryan Loughran/ Brendan Mcelinney (Ford Escort Mk2); 4 Damien Toner/ Denver Rafferty (Escort Mk2); 5 Brian Brogan/ Damien Mcgettigan (Escort Mk2); 6 Shane Maguire/ Darragh Kelly (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); 7 Ed O’callaghan/ Raymond Scott (Escort Mk2); 8 John Bonner/ Rory Kennedy (Escort Mk2); 9 Mickey Conlon/ Ciaran Mcphillips (Escort Mk2); 10 Johnny Jordan/ Gary Mcnern (Toyota Starlet).
Class winners: Eamon Kelly/ Conor Foley (Honda Civic); Will Graham/ Steve Davey (Fiesta R2); Adrian Cannon/ Bernard Gallagher (Civic); Maguire/ Kelly; Colin Quirk/ Kaine Treanor (Fiesta R5); Shane Carr/ Ciaran Carr (Vauxhall Nova); Kevin Mclaughlin/ Patrick Gallagher (Civic); Jordan/ Mcnern; Brian Armstrong/ Mo Downey (Escort Mk2); O’callaghan/ Scott; Toner/ Rafferty; Mark Murphy/ Michael Hamilton (Civic); Stephen Mcferran/james Mckeefrey (Escort Mk2); Aaron Mclaughlin/ Enda Mcbride (Fiesta).
Hurson won with no ALS