Warrenpoint’s Peadar Hurson (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Monaghan co-driver Damien Connolly took a start to finish victory in the Lady Gregory Hotel Galway Summer Rally, the penultimate round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship that was based in Gort.
They finished 31.4 seconds ahead of the Fiesta WRC of Clonmel’s Roy White and Cork co-driver James O’Brien, who took maximum points in the Triton series. Monaghan’s Niall Maguire/Emmet Sherry (Subaru WRC) were 38.9 seconds further behind in third.
Hurson (Fiesta WRC) and Wright (Fiesta R5) were the only drivers to break the five minute barrier on the opening stage, Lough Cutra with the former taking an impressive 13.7 second lead. Top seed Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) was nine tenths of a second further behind in third and 2.3 seconds ahead of outgoing Triton Champion Roy White (Fiesta WRC).
An impressive Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) occupied fifth – 16.6 seconds ahead of his Motorsport Safety Team Group N rival David Guest, who was fortunate to have contested the test stage as his Mitsubishi developed a throttle problem that was sorted overnight. Cork’s Daniel Cronin, who switched to the Fiesta R5 belonging to his brother Keith, was sixth. The second stage was cancelled due to organisational issues. Hurson and Wright set the best times on the third stage and Hurson arrived at the Gort service park with a lead of 21.2 seconds with Wright in second – 4.9 seconds ahead of Niall Maguire. Leader Hurson admitted he had a major moment on the third stage when his Fiesta got out of line at high speed while Wright opined that he was taking things steady.
Maguire in third found it difficult to get the best out of his Subaru due to the greasy nature of part of the stages.
Kiernan led the Modified section but was concerned about a whine from the rear differential at high speed. Cronin continued in sixth – he reckoned he was braking far too early for the junctions, but he retired with differential woes on the fourth stage. .
Shane Maguire continued to hold the advantage in Group N where he was 15.8 seconds ahead of title rival David Guest whose Mitsubishi suffered a misfire. The Escorts of John McQuaid, Mickey Conlon and Frank Kelly completed the top ten. Elsewhere, Tom Flaherty in twelfth spot was the top Galway driver.
Out on the second loop Hurson extended his advantage to 42.2 seconds, despite being on an intermediate tyre instead of a soft slick. Roy White, who was on the correct tyres, punched in the best time on S.S.4, he was 21.3 seconds ahead of Niall Maguire.
Wright slipped to fourth after he was caught out on a junction during the fourth stage that took part of the front right bumper away.
A composed Kiernan remained at the head of the Modified section where he was 32.8 seconds clear of the Escort of Frank Kelly.
Shane Maguire held seventh, but importantly, he was a minute and 42.2 seconds ahead of David Guest, who lost time on S.S.6 with rear differential problems. The Mitsubishis of Aidan Wray and Pat O’Connell rounded out the top ten. Flaherty was eleventh.
Hurson went on to claim the spoils, although he lost time on the penultimate stage when he overshot and stalled his Ford Fiesta WRC. White was quickest on the Power Stage to claim a total of twenty-one Triton points. Maguire and Wright completed the top four and untroubled Kiernan scooped the Modified award – 40.2 seconds ahead of Frank Kelly.
Shane Maguire took a decisive step towards the Motorsport Safety Team Group N award, he netted sixteen points and provisionally, he leads Guest by ten points.
The Triton Showers Drive of the Day was won by Vincent Collins/Fintan Kilroe (Ford Escort).
Meanwhile, Jason Black (Toyota Starlet) won the Junior category as the Triton Showers Junior title remains finely poised between Meath’s Brian Brady Donegal’s Michael Boyle and Monaghan’s Johnny Treanor, all in Honda Civics.
1. P. Hurson/D. Connolly (Ford Fiesta WRC) 51m. 12.3s.
2. R. White/J. O’Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC) 51m. 43.7s.
3. N. Maguire/E. Sherry (Subaru WRC) 52m. 22.6s.
4. S. Wright/K. Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R5) 52m. 52.7s.
5. G. Kiernan/R. Moore (Ford Escort) 53m. 27.2s.
6. F. Kelly/S. Hayde (Ford Escort) 54m. 07.4s.
7. S. Maguire/D. Kelly (Mitsubishi EvoIX) 54m. 54.6s.
8. P. O’Connell/M. Wiley (Mitsubishi EvoIX) 54m. 54.7s.
9. T. Flaherty/M. Flynn (Ford Escort) 55m. 00.9s.
10. K. Barrett/A. Nestor (Subaru WRC) 55m. 01.7s.
Provisional Championship Positions after Round 7:
1. S. Moffett 124 points (Champion); 2. R. White 101pts; 3. N. Maguire 89pts; 4. S. Maguire 74pts; 5. D. Guest 64pts.
Images from Seamus Counihan