Great weather and even better rallying marked the opening round of the 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship. After 16 fast and flowing stages, Maurice Gass with co-driver Geoffry Orr took the maximum points from Cork Motor Club's West Cork ...
Great weather and even better rallying marked the opening round of the 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship.
After 16 fast and flowing stages, Maurice Gass with co-driver Geoffry Orr took the maximum points from Cork Motor Club's West Cork Rally. The Armagh crew in the ex-Richard Burns Impreza World Rally Car charged up the leader board on Sunday, finishing just ahead of the local crew of Liam McCarthy & Kieran Murphy in a Toyota Corolla World Rally Car.
With 80 crews registering for the Championship, the pace was expected to be hot. Liam McCarthy and Michael Barrable set the early pace, with Barrable lying 2nd overall and first of the southern 4 drivers at the over night halt. Sunday morning however started badly for the Dublin driver, when first the P2000 Subaru failed to start in Parc Ferme costing 45 seconds in penalties. Then after setting fastest time on the second stage of the day, the Subaru broke a drive shaft heading through service.
On Saturday Maurice Gass lost time when the digital gearshift display on his Subaru stopped working. With this fixed for the Sunday stages Gass charged up the leader board setting a fastest stage time on the way.
Reigning Southern 4 champions Ollie O'Donovan & David Moynihan's title defence got off to the worst possible start when a wheel sheered from their Impreza. David Armstrong on his first visit to West Cork & the BMWs of Denis Cronin & Donie O'Sullivan all failed to finish the rally.
Despite new crews joining the championship, the "regulars" showed the way in many of the classes. Championship sponsor James O'Sullivan set the early pace not only in Class 10 but also the new 1600 Category. However the 023 Tiles Escort cried enough on Sunday morning giving Philip Cross maximum points in class 10, and class 6 winners Liam & Noel Brady the lead in the 1600 Category.
Diarmuid Keohane and Paula Delaney took a well earned win in class 12 and lie second in the 2WD category to class 13 winner Anthony O'Halloran. The Beara crew of Liam Sheehan and Martin Cronin are aiming for their 3rd Historic Championship in a row, and got off to the best possible start with maximum points.
The championship now moves to Killarney for the Rally of the Lakes. Last year Donie O'Sullivan took maximum points on his home event behind the wheel of a GpN Subaru. This year along with Barry Coleman the Killarney Driver is expected to use a Subaru World Rally car. Gass however as championship will have the upper hand as the 023 Tiles Southern 4 rally championship goes from Strength to Strength.
1 MAURICE GASS GEOFFREY ORR Subaru Impreza WRC 20
2 LIAM McCARTHY KIERAN MURPHY Toyota Corolla WRC 18
3 NIGEL HICKLIN SAM McMULLAN Subaru Impreza 555 16
4 BOB FOWDEN JERRY HYNES Mit. Lancer Evo 6 14
5 TOMMY GRAHAM FRANCIS KENNY Subaru Impreza WRC 12
ANTHONY O'HALLORAN Opel Manta
LIAM BRADY NOEL BRADY Proton Satria S1600
LIAM SHEEHAN MARTIN CRONIN Escort Mk I
Full Results can be downloaded from www.irish-rallying.com
Results will e-mail/posted to all registered competitors over the weekend.