Purcell draws first blood in Cork Forest double header!
Andrew Purcell & Mark Wiley have reignited their championship hopes by taking maximum points on the first leg of the CFF Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally double header. After today’s six stages which counts towards round 4 of the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship they held off a strong challenge from Barry McKenna & Leon Jordan to lead the event over night by 1.7 seconds. The battle between the pair was nip and tuck during the day with a McKenna stall on Stage 2 proving costly. Third place points went to Josh Moffett & Stephen Thornton to make it a Fiesta 1-2-3 after a big moment on stage two left the Monaghan driver with too much ground to make up on the first day. Adrian Hetherington & Gary Nolan (Corolla WRC) finished the opening day in fourth place just ahead of Stephen McCann & Kaine Treanor who were out in a Fiesta R5. Stephen is very impressed with the new car and the times are sure to get even better once he gets more mileage in it.
Overall Top 5 Points after Round 4
1 – Barry McKenna 78
2 – Stephen McCann 67
3 – Andrew Purcell 61
4 – Josh Moffett 60
5 – Gerard Lucey 47
Top 2WD on Round 4 was Shane McGirr with Liam McIntyre on the notes, with Shane in a more unfamiliar Mark 2 Escort this weekend. Despite his lack of familiarity with the car compared to his usual Starlet he still took top points as several of his rivals hit problems. David Crossen & Aileen Kelly were the most notable retirements with mechanical problems putting them out on the penultimate stage while leading the 2WD section. Engine problems had accounted for John Gordon after only a couple of stages while Tommy O’Connell was quickest on the opening test but was plagued by a misfire for most of the day. Second 2WD was also the top junior with Jordan & Paul Hone bringing the Opel Adam home to claim top points for the fourth round. Mickey Conlon was just a further six seconds back from Hone to take third place 2WD points. Derek Mackarel lost over five minutes when the car cut out on the final loop while a burst shock absorber cost Marty Gallagher some time on the final loop of stages.
The M. O’Brien J1000 championship saw Scotland’s Peter Beaton take full points for the first time this season after a strong performance and a trouble free run. Aoife Gahan in second place was over two minutes behind but had been held up on occasions as she posted her best result of the season to date. Rory Byrne had been the early pace setter but a bent wishbone on the second stage dropped him back. Although he fought back strongly for the rest of the day he was unable to close the gap enough to Gahan. Aaron Whelan was on his first day out in the category and finished in fourth place in his Nissan Micra while reigning champion Jason Murphy saw his long winning run finally come to an end. An off road excursion on Stage 2 put him out of the running for top points on round 4 but he re-joined under rally 2 later in the day to score valuable points.
Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Forest Rally Championship,
Phone: +353 86 286 6256