At the conclusion of a dramatic and incident-packed 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally, Steve Perez and Peter Scott emerged as the victors in their VK Rally Team Porsche 911. Perez, the 2003 British Historic Rally Champion, took the lead of the...
At the conclusion of a dramatic and incident-packed 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally, Steve Perez and Peter Scott emerged as the victors in their VK Rally Team Porsche 911. Perez, the 2003 British Historic Rally Champion, took the lead of the event on the second of the event's nine stages, and remained in command thereafter. Dessie Nutt, a five-time winner of the Killarney Historic Stages, and his co-driver, Liz Jordan, were quickest on the first stage, but then encountered clutch problems. Their Porsche refused to engage first gear as a result, and later lost third as well, allowing Perez and Scott to move ahead.
Richard Gower and Carl Williamson also capitalised on Nutt's difficulties, and occupied second place for a time, until they crashed heavily on the afternoon run over Molls Gap.
Perez and Scott had a near perfect run to victory, a minor clutch problem their only worry. It was their first win in Ireland, and their first ever on a tarmac rally anywhere.
Following Gower's exit, Nutt again became Perez's closest challenger, but any chance of a last-gasp victory for the Derryman evaporated when the spotlights fitted to his car for the final stage (which commenced after dark), drew too much power from its engine.
Manx visitors, Adrian Kermode and John Coleman snatched third place from Mervyn Johnston and Richard Hyland on the final stage.
Jimmy Devane and Eddie Cronin were the top local finishers in the Historic section, coming home in eighth place and winning their class.
In the Post-Historic section, Nick Whale and Kieron Patterson grabbed first place from John and Christy Farrell on the very last stage. The Farrells had led the event from the outset, but a misfire over the closing competitive miles saw them drop behind Whale and Patterson, losing out by just nine seconds in the final reckoning.
Martin Freestone and Chris Heyes were closest to Whale and Patterson during the early stages, but then crashed heavily on the first run over Brookhill. Their Escort was extensively damaged, but they were thankfully unhurt.
Joe and Gareth Connolly (of rally sponsor, Connolly's Red Mills) rounded out the top three, having increased their pace as the event progressed.
Millstreet's John Moynihan and his Killarney co-driver, Paul Nagle, led the Classic section throughout. It was John's third Killarney Historic Stages victory, while Paul was the top navigator on one previous occasion.
While Moynihan and Nagle maintained a constant lead, behind them there was much drama and changes of position. James O'Sullivan and Rebecca Walsh put in some very impressive times in their 2-litre Escort, as did Pat Donegan and Lisa Roe in a similar machine. O'Sullivan had a slight edge, and held second ahead of Donegan, but both crews later crashed out on the same stage (the afternoon run over Caragh Lake).
Scotland's Jimmy McRae and Campbell Roy then took over second place, but they had to retire just 1.5 miles from the end of the rally when their Porsche's throttle cable snapped.
This left Kevin O'Donoghue and Joe O'Leary to claim the runner-up spot, the Killarney crew having set some very quick times during the later stages of the rally. Belfast's Kieran O'Neill, and another local co-driver, Diarmuid Falvey, secured third place.
Adrian and Aileen Randles also upheld local honour, finishing sixth on the event supported by their family's Dromhall Hotel. The 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally was also sponsored by Connolly's Red Mills Animal Feeds, EPS Bison Environmental Products Division and Killarney Crystal.
<pre> Results after Final Stage (Coolick) Historic: 1. Steve Perez/Peter Scott (Derbyshire) Porsche 911 1hr:30mins:40secs. 2. Dessie Nutt/Liz Jordan (Derry) Porsche 911 1:31:58 3. Adrian Kermode/John Coleman (Isle of Man) Porsche 911 1:33:58
Post-Historic: 1. Nick Whale/Kieron Patterson (England) Porsche 911 1:28:11 2. John Farrell/ChristyFarrell (Navan) Ford Escort 1:29:20 3. Joe Connolly/Gareth Connolly (Kilkenny) Ford Escort 1:30:12
Classic: 1. John Moynihan/Paul Nagle (Millstreet/Killarney) Ford Escort RS 1:23:00 2. Kevin O'Donoghue/Joe O'Leary (Killarney) Ford Escort RS 1:24:41 3. Kieran O'Neill/Diarmuid Falvey (Belfast/Killarney) Opel Kadett GT/E 1:25:41