Irish Rally crews shine abroad
Sparking performances by young Irish drivers in Wales and Belgium.
Monaghan brothers Sam and Josh Moffett brought their Ford Fiesta RS WRC’s to the Plains Rally in Wales on Saturday to gain some gravel mileage ahead of their next outing on the European Rally Championship. Sam and Josh are regular competitors on the Irish Foresty Championship but this was their first time competing on the loose in World Rally Cars. A solid performance from the pair saw run consistently at the business end of the top 10 with Josh and co-driver John Rowan taking a brace of fastest times on their way to 2nd overall. Elder brother Sam with Karl Atkinso calling the pacebotes, brought his identical Fiesta home in 6th position. The Moffett’s next outing will be the Azores Rally at the beginning of June.
On the Sezoens Rally in Belgium, Stephen Wright took an impressive podium finish in his Ford Fiesta R5. It was Wright’s first event in Belgium in 2015 having spent much of 2014 competing in the Belgian Rally Championship. Despite concerns over a leaking intercooler, Wright rose to the challenge setting a second fastest time on the penultimate stage of the rally on his way to taking 3rd place behind event winner Freddy Loix and 2nd places Vincent Verschueren. Wright was co-driven by local navigator Eddy Smeets in a one off deal.
Meanwhile, at home, local driver Dominic McLoughlin took the honours in his Peugeot 205 on Connacht Motor Club’s loose surface autocross. The Sligo driver narrowly beat Cavan’s Joseph Smith and Galway’s Torsten Schmidt eventually overhauling them on the final few runs of the day.
On home ground at Naul, in north County Dublin, the Whyte brothers, Dermot and Brendan, dominated the third round of the Pat Kerley Doors and Windows National Autocross Championship yesterday. In mixed weather conditions, Dermot beat Brendan by just over a second after three runs. Ian O’Connell was best of the saloon drivers, with the Super Saloon category going to Brian Keegan. Starlet drivers John Nolan and Alan Auerbach scored a win apiece in the Birr Autotest weekend at Borris-in-Ossory, with Nolan beating John McAssey to top place on Saturday, while he had to give best to Auerbach the following day.