Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes in a Ford Fiesta WRC won the Triton Showers National Rally Championship with a start to finish victory in the Lady Gregory Hotel Galway Summer Rally.
They finished 37.2 seconds ahead of the Fiesta R5 of Tyrone’s Cathan McCourt and his Cork co-driver Grace O’Brien with Maynooth’s Ian Barrett and co-driver Paul McGee (Subaru WRC) 49.8 seconds further behind in third.
Moffett was quickest through the opening stage where his one and only rival for the Triton title, Roy White retired his Ford Fiesta WRC at the stage finish with a broken transfer box.
Moffett was also quickest through the remaining two stages of the loop and arrived at the Gort service with a lead of 30.6 seconds.
The Monaghan driver remarked that he wasn’t pushing and that his accident on last week’s Ulster Rally was at the back of his mind.
Late entry Tyrone’s Cathan McCourt (Ford Fiesta R5) was second while Ian Barrett (Subaru WRC), who was only 3.7 seconds behind Moffett on the opening stage lost some thirty seconds with a spin on S.S. 2 but recovered to have a steady run on S.S. 3 and slotted into third 21.1 seconds further behind.
Last year’s rally winner Jonny Pringle (Escort) occupied fourth but had a misfire through the second stage, he was also watching the dials as the temperature gauge was high.
Fifth placed Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) was untroubled followed by the rear wheel drive cars of Gary Kiernan (Escort) and Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla). Just four seconds covered Pringle, Kiernan and Eves.
Hugh Hunter (Ford Focus WRC), Steve Wood (Fiesta WRC) and Stephen McCann (Fiesta R5) completed the top ten. Hunter opted to have a steady outing following a few non-finishes; Wood was off the road briefly on S.S. 2 and admitted that he just couldn’t get into the groove; McCann was untroubled.
Elsewhere, JF Shovelin (Escort) remained on course to win the Mk2 Escort Challenge while Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) was in a similar situation in his pursuit of the Motorsport Safety Group N award.
PJ McDermott had clutch troubles and also spun his Subaru WRC twice on the second stage. James Stafford, third after the opening stage retired his Darrian T90 on the second stage with a mechanical issue.
Moffett powered his way through the second loop and even though Barrett was quickest on S.S. 6, Moffett stretched his overall lead over McCourt to 39.1 seconds with Barrett 33.1 seconds further adrift in third.
At the Gort service park, rally leader Moffett commented that he was just concentrating on his drive.
McCourt was untroubled in second but Barrett was far too cautious on S.S. 5, especially where he spun previously.
Kiernan was fourth and led the two-wheel drive category, his rivals had contrasting fortunes.
Eves had an altercation with a wall on S.S. 4 but was still only some 16 seconds behind while Pringle hit a bank and retired. Niall Maguire and Hugh Hunter, both trouble free, were sandwiched between Kiernan and Eves. Wood, Shane Maguire and JF Shovelin completed the top ten.
Moffett went on to secure victory, his sixth from the seven rounds thus far and that was more than enough to clinch the Triton title and the Vard Memorial Trophy.
His victory in the Triton series completed a notable treble as he has previously won the Irish Tarmac and Irish Forestry Championships.
McCourt and Barrett completed an unchanged top three. Kiernan in fourth was an impressive winner of the two-wheel drive category, however, his principal rival Kevin Eves was a final stage retirement.
Hunter in fifth was pleased to have attained a top finish as Niall Maguire and Steve Wood rounded out the top seven.
Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi), who was eighth overall won Group N and clinched the Motorsport Safety Team Group N award.
The Escorts of Frank Kelly and JF Shovelin filled the remaining places in the top ten. Shovelin won the Dunlop Mk. 2 Escort Champions Trophy.
David Armstrong/Podge Newe (Escort) won the Historic category and in the Juniors, the Cavan/Roscommon duo of jack Brunton/Daragh Kelly won Class 16 and the 16A victors were the Kerry/Kilkenny combination of Colin O’Donoghue/Eddie Doherty (Ford Escort).
- Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1h. 03m. 17.9s.
- Cathan McCourt/Grace O’Brien (Ford Fiesta R5) 1h. 03m. 55.1s.
- Ian Barrett/Paul McGee (Subaru WRC) 1h. 04m. 44.9s.
- Gary Kiernan/Ryan Moore (Ford Escort) 1h. 05m. 11.8s.
- Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg (Ford Focus WRC) 1h. 05m. 21.9s.
- Niall Maguire/James O’Reilly (Subaru WRC) 1h. 05m. 29.1s.
- Steve Wood/Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1h. 06m.25.4s.
- Shane Maguire/Conor Foley (Mitsubishi EvoIX) 1h. 07m. 26.9s.
- Frank Kelly/Sean Hayde (Ford Escort) 1h. 07m. 28.9s.
- JF Shovelin/Emmet Brosnan (Ford Escort) 1h. 07m. 32.1s.
Triton Showers NRC (Provisional Standings after Round 7) 1. J. Moffett 143pts (Champion) 2. R. White 103pts; 3. S. Maguire 39pts; 4. D. Boyle 5pts; 5. K. Eves 47pts; 6. P. Hurson 40pts.