Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings and Letterkenny’s Rory Kennedy in their Subauru Impreza WRC were victorious in an incident packed Corrib Oil Galway International Rally that concluded on Sunday afternoon.
They had over three minutes to spare over second placed Keith Cronin and Mikey Galvin from Cork in a Citroen DS3 R5, Tyrone’s Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble in a Ford Fiesta R5 were third.
Aaron MacHale and Enda Sherry in their recently acquired Skoda Fabia moved up through the leaderboard and finished in 12th place overall at the end of the two day fifteen special stage event.
The Ulster crew of Wesley Patterson and Johnny Baird won the National section of the event in their Ford Escort MK2. They had just over one minute to spare over the second placed Galway crew of Tom Flaherty and Patrick Curley, also in a Ford Escort.
Galway’s Ray Cunningham and Adrian Cusack in their Mini Cooper took victory in the Historic section of the rally.
The big Mayo interest in the event was in the Junior category where three former Mayo Young Driver Champions lined up to do battle. It was Justin Ryan with Andy Walsh alongside on the notes that not only took the Mayo bragging rights but finished second in the J2 class and also claimed maximum Irish Tarmac Championship points as first Championship registered Junior crew across the finish line, a fine performance from the pair on their first outing since Sligo Stages last July. Achill man Brian Lavelle was unlucky not to finish the event after looking likely to give Ryan a run for his money; gearbox trouble forced him to retire his Honda Civic on the last loop of stages. Shrule’s Noel Murphy also in a Honda Civic was the third Mayo young driver who put in a spirited drive after two spins on the wet and slippy conditions early Sunday morning left him playing catch-up.
Many of the fancied crews made up a high attrition rate as the weather conditions made life very difficult for all those competing and the volunteer marshals involved in the running of the event – also victim of the conditions was Westport’s David Carney who slid off on a slippery section, unable to rejoin in his DS3.