History was made on the AceSigns Cork 20 International Rally today when Josh Moffett & Jason McKenna in a Ford Fiesta R5 took their first international win. At the end of the 14 stage event they had just 4.6 seconds to spare over Sam Moffett & Karl Atkinson in a similar car. Roy White & James O’Brien were just 1.7 seconds further back in their Fiesta WRC making it one of the closest top three finishes to an Irish International event. Overnight leaders Keith Cronin & Mikie Galvin survived a late scare when he punctured with just two stages to go, but fourth place was enough to secure the 2016 Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship for the pair.
Alastair Fisher & Gordon Noble had led early on, but crashed out on the fourth stage with Cronin inheriting the lead, and looking in control. However from fourth place overnight Josh Moffett put on a charge to lead by stage 11, and despite coming under pressure was able to hold on for his maiden international victory. Other notable retirements over the weekend included Cork drivers Owen Murphy (Skoda Fabia S2000) & David Guest (Mitsubishi Lancer).
The National Rally was won by Donegal’s Brian Brogan & Damien McGettigan in their Escort while Tommy Doyle & Liam Moynihan in a Renault Clio. Eugene Meegan & Sarah Whelan led for much of the opening day in their BMW 1M, but a gearbox problem put them out after the final stage of the day. Calum Duffy & Emmet Sherry took third place in their Skoda Fabia S2500. The Historic Rally was won by Ray Cunningham & Ross Forde in their unusual LHD Escort MK2 by a massive six minutes from English driver Duncan Williams with Cork co-driver Jonathan Carroll alongside. There was a dramatic end to the Junior Rally when Eric Calnan & Aileen Kelly overcame a 12 second deficit in their Peugeot 106 to beat Fergus Hurley & Eric Deane’s Escort by just 1.6 seconds. Third place for Kevin & Stephen Horgan was enough to give them the Clonakilty Blackpudding Junior Rally Championship for 2016.
It was an extremely successful event well run by Clerk of the Course Colman Hegarty and his hardworking team at Munster Car Club with the rally running on time all weekend and being very well received by the competitors. It was a fitting end to one of the most exciting and dramatic Tarmac Championship title races in many years.