When Gareth MacHale brought his Focus WRC over the finish of the 15th stage of this Safety Direct Galway International Rally his victory maintained a great MacHale tradition here in Galway. Gareth took time to tell us. “A great rally. It was there for me to lose. We put a bit of a push on towards the end to set fastest time”. His co driver Brian Murphy said. “Great organisation. Everything ran on time. It was a typical Galway Rally, hard. We had to be consistent, not always fastest, that is what wins here. Gareth drove very well and never put a wheel wrong”. When Craig Breen arrived he told us. “I am delighted, absolutely thrilled with the result. The car is physically hard to drive as there is nothing hydraulic to help you. This was a great training ground and there is more to come. I hope to OO on the Willie Loughman Rally as training for the British Championship”.
There was a great battle between Aaron MacHale and Alastair Fisher for 3rd place. Alastair went into that final test a handful of seconds in front of Aaron. However at the finish Alastair was 6s down. Aaron said. “It took something to wake me up. The puncture and other things knocked me back a bit yesterday. The lads in the group N cars, Alastair and so on, they are good drivers”. Young Daniel McKenna did a brilliant job to win the National Rally and told us there was a slight misfire came into his Escort towards the end, but in overall terms it was a superb performance which would have placed him 6th o/a in the main rally.
Just some incidents towards the end included: Marty McCormack lost time on the penultimate stage when his Citroen incurred another puncture to allow Robert Barrable to win the Citroen Racing Trophy and also take the class 3 victory. Conor Harvey came through to win class 4. Tommy Doyle had led that class but retired his Clio with a broken gearbox in stage 14. Daragh O’Riordan dropped 3m towards the end when his Clio suspension strut went on fire. Garry Jennings won the Sunday Run in his Lancer. Keith Cronin seemed to be on course for victory but his Lancer sustained a puncture on the Black Road stage. The car nearly fell off the jack and he lost 7m. Keith set a couple of overall fastest times today, but with nothing to lose tried a different suspension set up and the car was under steering so much he clipped a rock and that caused the puncture. Alan Ring had the biggest escape ever on the final stage when his Lancer got away from him and he careered up and down several hedges. Mike Bird/Kevin Keane finished Best Galway crew despite their Fleet Transport magazine backed Impreza hitting a rock and puncturing a front wheel just before the end.
UNOFFICIAL LEADERBOARD AFTER STAGE 15 – FINAL STAGE
1st (1) Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Focus WRC) 18.104.22.168
2nd (9) Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Fiesta S2000) 22.214.171.124
3rd (4) Aaron MacHale/Eugene O’Donnell (Focus WRC) 126.96.36.199
4th (7) Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Lancer N) 188.8.131.52
5th (6) Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC) 184.108.40.206
6th (14) Alan Ring/Adrian Deasy (Lancer N) 2.23.01.6
7th (10) Mike Bird/Kevin Keane (Impreza WRC) 220.127.116.11
8th (24) Eamonn Daly/Anthony O’Connaill (Lancer N) 2. 26.33.3
9th (51) Sam Moffett/James O’Riley (Lancer N) 18.104.22.168
10th (41) Conor Harvey/Ger Callaghan (Civic) 22.214.171.124
NATIONAL: 1st Daniel McKenna 2.22.01.3: 2nd Barry Meade 126.96.36.199: 3rd Pat Kelly 188.8.131.52
SUNDAY RUN: 1 Garry Jennings: 2 Jonny Greer: 3 Neil Pierce:
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