Ford Ireland Focus Rally Cork summary

Murphys two in a row. CORK, 6th October 2002:Colm Murphy from Ahtea, Co. Limerick secured his second consecutive victory of the highly competitive 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship, winning the penultimate round of the series, the...

Murphys two in a row.

CORK, 6th October 2002:Colm Murphy from Ahtea, Co. Limerick secured his second consecutive victory of the highly competitive 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship, winning the penultimate round of the series, the Murphy Construction Cork "20" International Rally.

The 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship has developed into one of the most exciting Motorsport classes ever seen on Irish shores. The two day International Rally comprising of 140 tough competitive miles, was marked by a series of punctures, accidents and mechanical problems that conspired to keep changing the leaderboard throughout the two action packed days.

Brendan Kelly in the Griffith Motor Group Ford Focus proved his earlier pace setting the fastest Focus stage time on the opening stage. Oliver Stanley in the Perry Motors Ford Focus suffering from the flu admitted "he was off the boil" however set the third fastest stage time on the opening stage. However it was Colm Murphy in the Kingdom Fastfit/Guerin Crash Repairs Ford Focus that threw down the gauntlet to Kelly, setting second fastest stage time on the opening stage, Colm progressed to set fastest Focus stage time on second, third and fourth stages to take an early six second lead. Kelly fought back magnificently to set fastest Focus time on stages five, six and seven to reduce Murphy's lead to four seconds. However on the eight and final stage of day one, disaster struck as both Murphy and Stanley punctured and both had to stop to change their respective wheels loosing approximately four minutes each.

Day two dawned with Kelly in a commanding lead of nearly two minutes over second placed Cathal O'Reilly with Colm Murphy in third despite the time loss due to the earlier puncture. Murphy decided to attack and put pressure on the leaders setting a blistering time on the opening stage of the day. Kelly suffered a differential failure dropping him out of contention and handing the lead to Cathal O'Reilly with Murphy now moving up to second overall. Murphy continued but a huge spin on the second stage cost him vital seconds and a narrow escape without any damage. The third stage of the day was cancelled due to huge crowds of spectators and all the crews headed into service, the final of the day. On the fourth stage O'Reilly clipped a bank breaking a driveshaft and handed the lead to the hard charging Murphy. John Foley in the ASA Marketing Ford Focus had driven brilliantly all weekend not taking any risks had moved into third position overall, only two seconds in arrears to second placed Ken Lyons. Foley threw caution to the wind to set the fastest Focus stage time on the last two stages to move into second position overall. Murphy coasted through the last two stages to record his second victory of the season and move into the lead of the 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship with only one round remaining.

"It was an unbelievable event, all the changes, the puncture, it was definitely one of the hardest events I have ever competed on. However my Ford Focus is absolutely brilliant the handling is superb, the car is so predictable especially over the jumps, fantastic. It is just brilliant to win, I now just want to go to Galway and secure the 2002 Ford Focus Rally Championship title" said a jubilant Colm at the finish.

"It was an amazing event for all the competitors, all the changes made it very exciting to watch. It was a pity that Colm punctured on Saturday as he was guaranteed a top twenty finish. However the Ford Focus really dominated Class seven on this event beating much more powerful cars," said Tom Collins, Championship Director.

"The 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship is still anyone's race, as the top five crews all have a chance of winning the championship outright. We are all looking forward to the final round on Galway when the eventual victor will be announced" aid Declan Foley, Focus Brand Manager.

The final round of the highly competitive 2002 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship sees all the crews' head to Galway for the West 2002 Rally based in Clarinbridge on the 9th of November.

-fifrc-

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