Quality Hotel West Cork Rally
A massive field of entries migrated south last weekend for the Quality Hotel West Cork Rally. Always a prestigious event in the rally calender and this year was no exception. Tyre choice was a struggle on day one with top crews finding it hard to get things right. Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley were the best to cope with their choice. Even with what Kelly described as, too soft a compound, they laid down the gauntlet for all who followed. Sam Moffett and Karl Atkinson were not letting them leave their sights, however and pushed them to finish day one just 30 seconds adrift. With Robert Barrable, Damien Connelly happy to hold off Josh Moffett, James Fulton by 5 seconds and remain in 3rd position at the close of day 1.
Day 2 seen Kelly and Foley demonstrate the dominance of the Focus WRC. But unknown to Kelly as he set off into Ss13 his fellow podium men would be feeling very deflated mid way through that stage. Robert Barrable and Sam Moffett both suffered punctures and both had to stop at the same corner to change them. This catapulted Josh Moffett, James Fulton into 2nd behind Kelly with Alastair Fisher, Gordon Noble taking a well deserved 3rd place. This was to be the final podium for an eventful days rallying.
Mayo crews weren’t without their own battles throughout the rally. Seeded no.9 Aaron McHale/Darragh Kelly (Citroen DS3 R5) took a while to get their confidence back after the exit in Galway. They settled into 11th place well though and had fellow club members Pauric Duffy, Kevin Glynn with a target on their backs going into the second day. This battle continued on until Ss12 where Aaron finally got the upper hand, passing the P1 Rally Rentals Fiesta taking the 10th spot. Due to a few retirements on the closing stages Aaron and Darragh finished the rally 8th in the international category with Pauric and Kevin 18 seconds behind in 9th.
In the national category Andrew Grennan had a change of Mk2 as he navigated for Adrian Hetherington who took a very impressive 3rd O/A In the Mayo Stages a week previous. The Mayo shakedown worked well for the pair as they led their class until an early retirement on stage 10.
The Mayo juniors were out in force on Sunday. Noel Murphy, John Burke had an extremely unlucky start. A one in a million mechanical fault stopped the car at the end of stage one forcing them to a heart breaking retirement.
Justin Ryan with Tommy Moynihan on the notes had decided to get a more dramatic view of stage one. As the tyres warmed and the confidence grew they got caught out over a 3 right. Committed + bump = spin + wall = damage. They were very lucky to escape with minor damage but with 2 punctures they knew a top place was out of reach. They finished 10th and took home some valuable championship points.
Brian and Lorcan Moore finally got a chance to bed in their new machine. After an extensive rebuild they took to the stages with little holding them back. The crew had no opportunity to test the car prior to the event so used Ss1 to learn the car. They learn fast though as they took 2nd fastest time on Ss2 and fastest on Ss3 by 17 seconds. The trouble with running so far back on a stage is you never know where the stage can get slippery from the front runners. This was the case as they went wide on a square right causing suspension damage to the left. Wanting to finish their first event in the new car they coasted home with an 8th place finish. Plenty Moore to come real soon.