FIFRC round four Sligo summary

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

-ford-

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