Sligo, 13th of July: Colm Murphy from Athea, Co. Limerick. Has won the fourth round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship at the Sligo Stages Rally. Colm in the Kingdom Fastfit/h Repairs Ford Focus having crashed out of the last...
Sligo, 13th of July: Colm Murphy from Athea, Co. Limerick. Has won the fourth round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship at the Sligo Stages Rally.
Colm in the Kingdom Fastfit/h Repairs Ford Focus having crashed out of the last two events had to finish the event to stand any chance of wining the 2003 series. Colm despite a cautious start set fastest time on the opening stage, however his two main threats, John Foley (Midleton) and Oliver Stanley (Durrow) both slipped off the road on stage one but inflicting minor damage on their Ford Focus's. Foley recovering quickly proceeded to set fastest time on stages 2. Disaster struck for Murphy as he lost his power steering loosing approx 50 seconds, he had to wrestle his Focus through the next 3 stages and over 30 miles before the cars entered service. Foley proceeded to pull away setting a string of fastest times to move into a 57 second lead by the first service of the day. Oliver Stanley was bringing up the rear but could not challenge, the earlier excursion seemed to have sapped his confidence.
After service the battle commenced as Murphy took the fight to Foley, with the power steering fixed he started to reel in his main challenger. Foley sensing the challenge proceeded to set two more fastest stage times to extend his lead. Then disaster struck as on the very last stage, John got caught out over a deceptive crest and crashed out of the event, handing the lead and victory to his great rival.
Gerry Keyes (Crecora) despite suffering from a serve dose of tonsillitis stayed out of trouble to record third position overall, Gabriel Martin (Dublin) once again lost a lot of time due to fuel problems, David Delaney (Cashel) survived a terrible day to finish fifth.
"I am over the moon, after the disaster of the last two rounds, I really had to win here today to stand any chance of winning the championship. However the pressure is really on for the next three rounds as I have now dropped my two worst scores. The event was extremely tough and John Foley drove very well but I felt that he was taking too many chances. My power steering problems allowed him to pull out a big lead, he was unlucky not to finish but that is the nature of the sport," said Colm.
"The Sligo Stages Rally always is a very challenging event, extremely tough rally to finish. Once again the Ford Focus not only dominated Class Seven taking the top four positions within the class but Colm Murphy finished 24th overall, it is a testament to the durability and reliability of the cars." said Tom Collins, Championship Director.
The next round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship sees the crew's head to the Cathedral City of Armagh for the Ulster Rally on the 5th & 6th of September. <pre> FOCUS RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS ROUND 4 -- SLIGO STAGES
POS. NAME ADDRESS TIME 1 Colm Murphy Athea, Co. Limerick 0.00.00 2 Oliver Stanley Durrow, Co. Laois 0.01.51 3 Gerry Keyes Crecora, Co. Limerick 0.03.04 4 Gabriel Martin Knocklyon, Co. Dublin 0.03.29 5 David Delaney CASHEL, CO. TIPPERARY 0.0658 6 John Foley Midleton, Co. Cork DNF 7 Ken Lyons LIMERICK DNF 8 Hamilton Bell Hillsborough, Co. Down DNS 9 Brendan Kelly Mullingar, Co. Westmeath DNS
FOCUS RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS AFTER ROUND 4
POS. NAME ADDRESS POINTS 1 Oliver Stanley Durrow, Co. Laois 105 2 Gerry Keyes Crecora, Co. Limerick 87 3 David Delaney CASHEL, CO. TIPPERARY 63 4 Colm Murphy Athea, Co. Limerick 60 5 John Foley MIDLETON, CO. CORK 56 6 Gabriel Martin Knocklyon, Co. Dublin 38 7 Hamilton Bell Hillsborough, Co. Down 15 8 Ken Lyons Limerick 0 9 Brendan Kelly Longford 0