Ennis, 21st September: David Delaney from Cashel, Co. Tipperary has become the forth person to win a round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship by claiming his first victory of the season at the sixth round of the series at the Clare...
Ennis, 21st September: David Delaney from Cashel, Co. Tipperary has become the forth person to win a round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship by claiming his first victory of the season at the sixth round of the series at the Clare stages Rally.
The penultimate round of this hotly contested series saw the Colm Murphy (Athea) in the Kingdom Fastfit Focus attack the event from the very beginning setting fastest Focus stage time which was good enough for 17th position overall on the very first stage. David Delaney in the Scotframe Focus settled into the event setting second fastest Focus time with Oliver Stanley (Durrow) in third and Ken Lyons (Limerick) in fourth. With stages 2 and 3 were cancelled for all the Focus Championship entrants, the battle resumed on stage 4 between David and Colm. David clipped a rock damaging a wheel; the resulting vibration caused him to drop time. By stage 5 disaster struck for Colm, as he reported that his car was down on power due to a suspected fuel problem. By stage 6 Delaney sensing victory had taken the lead by over one minute and thirty seconds from Murphy. Colm's car was reprogrammed in service and he attacked the remaining three stages in a desperate attempt to reel in Delaney. Despite the pressure David drove superbly to take his first victory of the year and secure Class 7 victory outright.
Further down the field Oliver Stanley had a great battle all day with Gerry Keyes, Oliver held the early advantage until stage 5 when Gerry moved into the lead after chipping way at Oliver's advantage. By stage 7, Gerry had 14-second advantage over his great rival. Oliver attacked on the final two stages to tie with Keyes on time however the event rules state that the fastest time on the last stage decides a tie break and Oliver regained third place as a result.
"Hopefully it will be the first of many, it has been a long time coming. The car ran brilliantly all weekend totally reliable and we had a great battle all day with Colm, he had some problems but so had we and in the end we persevered. They say that the first victory is always the hardest so I am now really looking forward to the final round in Cork." Said David.
"The Clare Stages Rally is always a very challenging an extremely tough rally to finish. Once again the Ford Focus dominated Class 7 taking the top four positions within the class, it is a testament to the durability and reliability of the cars." said Tom Collins, Championship Director.
The next round and final round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship sees the crew's head to the Cork "20" International Rally based in Cork City on the 4th & 5th of October.
<pre> FOCUS RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS ROUND 6 - CLARE STAGES
POS. NAME ADDRESS TIME 1 David Delaney Cashel, Co. Tipperary 00.00.00 2 Colm Murphy Athea, Co. Limerick 00.00.53 3 Oliver Stanley Durrow, Co. Laois 00.00.54 4 Gerry Keyes Crecora, Co. Limerick 00.00.00 5 Ken Lyons LIMERICK 00.01.18 6 John Foley Midleton, Co. Cork DNF 7 Gabriel Martin DUBLIN DNS 8 Hamilton Bell Hillsborough, Co. Down DNS 9 Brendan Kelly Mullingar, Co. Westmeath DNS
FOCUS RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS AFTER ROUND 6
POS. NAME ADDRESS POINTS 1 Oliver Stanley Durrow, Co. Laois 158 2 Gerry Keyes Crecora, Co. Limerick 131 3 David Delaney CASHEL, CO. TIPPERARY 119 4 Colm Murphy Athea, Co. Limerick 86 5 John Foley MIDLETON, CO. CORK 56 6 Gabriel Martin Knocklyon, Co. Dublin 40 7 Ken Lyons Limerick 19 8 Hamilton Bell Hillsborough, Co. Down 17 9 Brendan Kelly Longford 0