Cork, 5th October: John Foley from Midleton, Co. Cork has won the seventh and final round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship and finished an amazing eighteenth overall at the Cork "20" International Rally. The final round of...
Cork, 5th October: John Foley from Midleton, Co. Cork has won the seventh and final round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship and finished an amazing eighteenth overall at the Cork "20" International Rally.
The final round of the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship had all the ingredients of a Grande finale as Colm Murphy (Athea) had to win the event to stand any chance of winning the series, John Foley on home soil and had a point to prove after a disappointing year, series leader Oliver Stanley (Durrow) wanted to win the final round after driving all year with the championship in mind, winner of the last round in Clare David Delaney (Cashel) wanted to make it two in a row.
With the first stage cancelled, all the Focus competitors proceeded to the second stage where Murphy was fastest from Foley with Stanley third. The stage was set for a great battle and Murphy with the bit firmly between his teeth got to work reeling in a series of fastest stage times to take a lead of thirty one seconds from Foley by stage three. However Murphy tried too hard as he dropped two minutes on stage four after sliding off the road. Foley moved into the lead and Murphy dropped to fourth. Stanley by now had moved into second with Delaney third. The remainder of day one was a nip and tuck battle between Foley and Murphy each driver taking two fastest stage times each of the remaining four stages of day one.
Day Two dawned with Foley in one minute seven second lead from Murphy with Delaney now in third position. Murphy was in an attacking mood and set fastest time on the opening stage of the day however on stage ten Colm hit a bank and damaged his rear suspension. Despite this setback he attacked once again on the remaining stages with Foley taking fastest times on stages ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen. The frustration was building within the Murphy camp and in an all our attack Colm slid off the road on the last stage of the rally and into retirement.
John cruised home to his second victory of the season with David Delaney second and Oliver Stanley third.
"I am delighted to win especially on home soil and in front of my home crowd. I would like to thank my sponsors ASA Marketing and Jon Waterman my navigator without their help it would not have been possible. It has been a tough year but it has finished on a high. I have really enjoyed driving the Ford Focus it is an amazing car. The overall result we achieved here this weekend is a testament to the handling of the car," said John.
Oliver Stanley from Durrow, Co. Laois has secured the 2003 Ford Ireland Focus Championship crown.
"It has been a long tough season for all the competitors, four different winners from seven rounds, great battles all year, spirited rivalry and of course excellent prize money." said Tom Collins, Championship Director.
<pre> RESULTS ROUND 7 -- CORK "20" INTERNATIONAL RALLY
POS. NAME ADDRESS TIME 1 John Foley Midleton, Co. Cork 00.00.00 2 David Delaney Cashel, Co. Tipperary 00.02.45 3 Oliver Stanley Durrow, Co. Laois 00.01.35 4 Colm Murphy Athea, Co. Limerick DNF 5 Gerry Keyes Crecora, Co. Limerick DNF 6 Ken Lyons LIMERICK DNF 7 Gabriel Martin DUBLIN DNS 8 Hamilton Bell Hillsborough, Co. Down DNS 9 Brendan Kelly Mullingar, Co. Westmeath DNS
CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS AFTER ROUND 7
POS. NAME ADDRESS POINTS 1 Oliver Stanley Durrow, Co. Laois 158 2 David Delaney Cashel, Co. Tipperary 145 3 Gerry Keyes CRECORA, CO. LIMERICK 131 4 Colm Murphy Athea, Co. Limerick 86 5 John Foley MIDLETON, CO. CORK 86 6 Gabriel Martin Knocklyon, Co. Dublin 40 7 Ken Lyons Limerick 19 8 Hamilton Bell Hillsborough, Co. Down 17 9 Brendan Kelly Longford 0