NESBITT'S COMMAND PERFORMANCE
Andrew Nesbitt and James O'Brien have taken an assured victory on the 2005 Ordnance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes. They finished the Killarney event fifty seconds ahead of Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely, who in turn had a margin of 32 seconds over the third place finishers, Derek McGarrity and Dermot O'Gorman. McGarrity's result sees him extend his lead in the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, of which the Rally of the Lakes was the third round.
Nesbitt had held the overnight lead in his Subaru Impreza WRC, but when Donnelly closed to within 29 seconds during the morning, Nesbitt hit back, completing the four subsequent stages quicker than his nearest rival. Donnelly was not aided by a back injury he picked up when his Corolla WRC landed heavily off a crest.
McGarrity's fortunes varied as the weather changed from wet to dry and back again. In the wet, his Subaru Impreza had difficulty in converting the power of the engine to traction at the wheels, but on the drier stages his pace was almost equal to that of the leaders. As the rain abated, his times improved, and he was promoted to third place when Kevin Lynch and Gordon Noble struck a wall and damaged their engine on the penultimate stage.
Eamonn Boland and Francis Regan finished fourth, followed by Austin McHale/Brian Murphy and Tim McNulty/Eugene O'Donnell, who set the fastest time on the final stage. Bantry's Denis Cronin and Helen O'Sullivan were the top Killarney & District Motor Club members to finish, taking seventh despite picking up a puncture over the closing miles.
McGarrity now has 35 points at the head of Pirelli Irish Tarmac Championship standings, Donnelly and Nesbitt are equal second with 27 points, and McHale and Boland are fourth and fifth with 26 and 25 points respectively.
Colm Murphy and Ger Loughrey won the Group N category on the Ordnance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes, from Alan Ring and Paul Nagle, who were the top Kerry crew in the overall results. Terry McGonigle and Sean Harris had snatched the Group N lead earlier, but they then crashed on the very next stage and lost five minutes. Kevin and Martin Kelleher finished third in Group N and rounded out the overall top ten. The National Rally of the Lakes (for non-homologated or Modified cars) was won by Welshman Phil Collins in his Ford Escort RS, navigated by Killarney's Diarmuid Falvey. They finished one minute and eighteen seconds ahead of Dessie Keenan and Enda Sherry, from Monaghan, in another Escort.
Raymond Conlon won the Junior Rally of the Lakes for competitors under 27 years of age, navigated by Cathal McAree. Their margin of victory was just seven seconds, from Jason O'Mahoney and Aoife McCarthy.
The Ordnance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes is organised and promoted by Killarney & District Motor Club and based at the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney.
<pre> Ordnance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes 2005
Provisional Results after Final Stage (Shanera): 1: Andrew Nesbitt, James O'Brien (Armagh, Kanturk) Subaru Impreza WRC S9 2:19:46 2: Eugene Donnelly, Paul Kiely (Maghera) Toyota Corolla WRC 2:20:36 (+:50) 3: Derek McGarrity, Dermot O'Gorman, (Glengormley, Athlone) Subaru Impreza WRC S10 2:21:45 (+1:59) 4: Eamonn Boland, Francis Regan (Wexford) Subaru Impreza WRC S9 2:22:09 (+2:23) 5: Austin McHale, Brian Murphy (Dublin) Ford Focus WRC03 2:23:21 (+3:35) 6: Tim McNulty, Eugene O' Donnell (Meath) Subaru Impreza WRC S10 2:23:34 (+3:48) 7: Denis Cronin, Helen O'Sullivan (Ballylickey) Subaru Impreza WRC99 S5 2:28:44 (+8:58) 8: Colm Murphy, Ger Loughrey (Athea) Subaru Impreza WRX N10 2:31:32 (+11:46) 9: Alan Ring, Paul Nagle (Castleisland, Killarney) Subaru Impreza WRX N10 2:32:27 (+12:41) 10: Kevin Kelleher, Martin Kelleher (Clonakilty) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2:32:50 (+13:04)