2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship. Murphy scores maiden victory. ENNIS, 22nd September 2002: Colm Murphy from Athea, Co. Limerick scored his maiden victory on the third round of Irelands premier one make rally championship, the 2002...
2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship.
Murphy scores maiden victory.
ENNIS, 22nd September 2002: Colm Murphy from Athea, Co. Limerick scored his maiden victory on the third round of Irelands premier one make rally championship, the 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship, at the Clare Stages Rally.
Colm in the Kingdom Fast fit/ Guerin Crash Repairs/O'Keefe Haulage Ford Focus once again was involved in a ding-dong battle all day with his great rivals Oliver Stanley (Durrow) and Cathal O'Reilly (Cavan). With the first stage of the day cancelled, Oliver Stanley in the Perry Motors Ford Focus set fastest Focus stage time on the second and opening stage of the day; despite the cautious start the Athea crew set second fastest time. However disaster struck as Colm increased his pace on stage three, he ran wide at a very fast corner clipping a bank, damaging his front suspension. Limping off the stage luckily Colm was able to head into service and get his car repaired in time to resume the battle.
Colm really threw down the gauntlet on the next stage not only setting fastest Focus stage time but also recouped all the lost time to take the joint lead with Stanley. Stanley responded magnificently, setting fastest stage time on fifth stage of the day to move into four-second lead. Murphy once again was fastest on stages six and seven turning a four second deficit into a eight second advantage. However his great rival Stanley responded setting fastest time on stage eight to reduce Murphy's lead to just two seconds heading into the ninth and final stage of the day. Both crews threw caution to the wind but half way through the stage Stanley clipped a rock breaking a driveshaft and coasted to a halt. Colm cruised home to his first victory of the season to move him into joint second position in the 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship, just one point in arrears to series leader Hamilton Bell (Hillsborough).
Cathal O'Reilly (Cavan) in the Autotech Body shop Ford Focus endured difficult day to set one fastest Focus stage time to secure an excellent second position overall. Gabriel Martin (Dublin) in the Colton Motors Ford Focus put the setbacks of the previous rounds to rest securing his first podium position of the season.
"I am absolutely over the moon, after the disaster of Ulster I had to win here today. We had a great battle all day with Oliver and Cathal but I said from the very beginning that the battle would go down to the last stage. The Championship is so close you cannot afford to relax for a split second. I am really looking forward the next round of the series," said Colm.
"Once again the 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship is proving to be one of the highlights of the 2002 Irish Motorsport season with three different winners from the first three rounds, we are all watching with great excitement who will take victory on the next round of the series in Cork" said Declan Foley, Focus Brand Manager, Ford Ireland.
"The closeness of the 2002 Ford Focus Rally Championship is underlined with three crews currently lying in joint second position and sixth position overall, with two rounds still to go the Championship battle will go down to the wire" said Tom Collins, Championship Director.
The Championship battle will continue between all nine crews of the 2002 Ford Focus Rally Championship at the Cork "20" International Rally based in Cork City on the 5th & 6th of October next.