Randles back in the hunt after Clare Rally success Tom Randles has put himself back in the frame to win Class 14 in the 2002 Dunlop National Rally Championship, following an excellent result on the Clare Rally last Sunday. The Kilgarvan driver...
Randles back in the hunt after Clare Rally success
Tom Randles has put himself back in the frame to win Class 14 in the 2002 Dunlop National Rally Championship, following an excellent result on the Clare Rally last Sunday. The Kilgarvan driver needed a good finish to remain in contention for the championship, having been forced out of the previous two rounds in Sligo and Tipperary due to mechanical failures, and the Clare result has provided the required boost to Randles' points tally.
Randles and his Glenflesk co-driver, Diarmuid Lynch, won Class 14 in Clare, taking home a maximum ten championship points for their efforts. They now trail the Class leaders, Douglas and Paula Richardson (Stepaside), by just four points going into the final round, the Skibbereen Fastnet Rally, which takes place on October 27th.
Aside from the Class victory, the Clare Rally also marked Randles' and Lynch's best overall result of the year so far - they finished the event in ninth place, and Randles is now also ninth in the overall National Championship standings.
The Clare class win was achieved by the narrowest of margins, as the crew only took the lead on the final stage, and finished the rally just a second ahead of Sean Lyons and John Devine (Galway). Another Kerry crew, Pat Barry and Stephen O'Connell, were third. The Richardsons took fourth in class, but the other Class Championship contenders, David and June Long (Waterford), failed to finish the event.
Randles and Lynch were themselves lucky to finish the rally, as they had to carry out some emergency roadside repairs mid-way through the event. "The tyres we were using needed a lot of pressure, and I was warming them up before the start of the fifth stage near Ruan, when one of the halfshafts broke," said Tom. "The service crew brought a spare to us, but myself and Diarmuid had to fit it ourselves, because we were in an area where outside assistance was prohibited. The mechanics could tell us what to do, but they couldn't touch the car themselves. Fortunately we got the job done and were able to continue without any further problem."
A nailbiting conclusion to this National Championship battle is now in store at the Fastnet Rally on the October Bank Holiday Weekend, when the Randles and Lynch partnership will once again aim for the all-important maximum points score.
2002 Dunlop National Rally Championship
Class Fourteen Driver Positions after 9 of 10 rounds (Provisional)
1: Douglas Richardson, 50
2: TOM RANDLES, 46
3: David Long, 35
4: Enda Keenan, 25
5: Sean Lyons, 16