Kilkenny, 29th June 2003: Oliver Stanley from Durrow, Co. Laois has scored a resounding victory on the third round of Ireland's premier one make rally championship, the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship at the Ravens Rock Rally based in...
Kilkenny, 29th June 2003: Oliver Stanley from Durrow, Co. Laois has scored a resounding victory on the third round of Ireland's premier one make rally championship, the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship at the Ravens Rock Rally based in Kilkenny.
The sunny southeast lived up to its name as the crews tackled the fast flowing stages of south Kilkenny basked in sunshine. The smooth nature of the stages along with high temperatures provided a unique challenge for all of the crews. Colm Murphy (Athea) was the first casualty of the day sliding off the road on stage one. John Foley (Midleton) set fastest time on stages one and two to move into a twenty one second lead by the first service of the day. Oliver Stanley (Durrow) made a cautious start to settle into a secure second position overall. David Delaney (Cashel) rounded off the top three.
The second loop of stages brought disaster as Foley suffered from gear selection problems and was forced to retire, David Delaney's gear linkage came loose dropping him down the leaderboard and allowing Stanley into a secure lead. Gerry Keyes (Limerick) after trying a harder tyre compound showed some of his old brilliance to move up the leaderboard into third position. Gabriel Martin's (Dublin) new pace note system was not working and had to change back to the old system during the day.
For the final loop of stages Oliver held a secure lead and cruised home to his first victory of the season. Gerry Keyes confidence is growing by the mile and it showed as he recorded a brilliant second position. David Delaney held off a late charge by Gabriel Martin to secure the final podium position after a difficult day.
"I always knew that these stages would be tricky and they had to be treated with respect. We just found the right blend of speed and caution today. I think I am like a fine wine I am getting better with age, a third on the opening round, second on the last round and victory here today, how can I better this. I am absolutely over the moon to win at what is my home event, in front of my home crowd and also to now move into the lead of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship, absolutely brilliant," said Oliver Stanley.
"Three different winners from the first three rounds, close competition, many lead changes, the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship has kept us all on the edges of our seats with anticipation. I am really looking forward to the next round of the championship where I think we will see more fireworks" said Tom Collins, Championship Director.
The next round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship sees the crew's head to the Sligo for the Sligo Stages Rally on the 13th of July.