Ford Ireland Focus Rally round one summary

Murphy -- giant killer Killarney, 4th May 2003: Colm Murphy from Athea, Co. Limerick has returned in devastating form, to crush the opposition in a giant killing performance to win the opening round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus ...

Murphy -- giant killer

Killarney, 4th May 2003: Colm Murphy from Athea, Co. Limerick has returned in devastating form, to crush the opposition in a giant killing performance to win the opening round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship and finish in an amazing fourteenth position overall, at the International Rally of the Lakes in Killarney today.

Ken Lyons (Limerick) took the initial honours setting fastest time on the opening stage of day one, however it was short lived as Ken slid off the road on the next stage. Murphy in the Kingdom Fastfit Ford Focus proceeded to set fastest Focus stage time on Stages 2, 3 & 4, to take an early one minute thirty second lead. However disaster struck on the way to stage 5 when Colm was delayed costing him ninety-seconds in road penalties, which dropped him to second overall and allowed the hard charging John Foley from Midleton in the ASA Marketing Ford Focus to move into the lead. Colm started his long fight back, setting fastest stage time on all the remaining six stages of the day to finish day one in thirtieth position overall and thirty two seconds ahead of John Foley with Oliver Stanley third.

Day Two greeting the crews with more unsettled weather that made tyre choice a lottery. Colm proceeded to stamp his authority on the event again setting fastest time on the opening stage of the day, cementing his lead. The real battle of the day for fourth position started as Brendan Kelly moved from sixth position to fourth after the first three stages, despite flashes of the old brilliance Kelly succumbed to the conditions to slide off the road on stage fifteen and immediate retirement. Despite a late charge form John Foley, Colm Murphy held on easing off in the closing stages to preserve his lead to win by one minute thirty nine seconds and finish in an amazing fourteenth position overall.

"I am absolutely over the moon. My car ran faultlessly all weekend and my overall result speaks volumes for the capabilities of the car. I am already looking forward to the next round of the Championship but I feel that the competition will be much tougher in Limerick" said Colm.

"The result is amazing considering that the International Rally of the Lakes is a marathon event with two hundred tough stage miles spread over two days, it has been a real test of both the crews and the Ford Focus. Both Colm Murphy and the Ford Focus really shone here this weekend. The top three Ford Focus' not only claimed the top three positions within Class Seven but also finished inside the top twenty." said Tom Collins, Championship Director.

-fifrc-

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Series Other rally