Daly wins Leinster Trophy & O’Callaghan claims victory in Clare
Stephen Daly from Dunshaughlin won Ireland’s most prestigious motor race, the Leinster Trophy, for the second year in succession at Mondello Park. The 24 year-old proved to be the master of both wet and dry conditions as he drove his Formula Ford Ray to three separate victories over the two days, beating top opposition from Ireland, Britain and Canada.
The Meathman started from pole position each time and led from start to finish, opening out a commanding lead in all three races, with different drivers taking runner up spot each time. In the feature race, former Trophy winner Robert Barrable was the main rival, but he was seven seconds down in the streaming rain, with English ace James Raven almost another 20 seconds behind.
The Limerick pairing of Ed O’Callaghan and Ger Clancy took a remarkable victory on Sunday’s Oak Wood Arms Hotel Clare Stages Rally, the penultimate round of the Top Part West Coast Championship.
Despite treacherous conditions and only having 2 wheel drive against 4 wheel drive opposition, O’Callaghan blazed a trail through the opening 2 stages to lead by 8.3 seconds at the first service halt of the day. His nearest pursuer was Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna who was making his second appearance in the P1 Rally Rentals R5 Ford Fiesta. McKenna was the only driver in the field capable of keeping up with O’Callaghan but a puncture on stage 4 saw McKenna drop out of contention although he eventually battled back to fourth overall posting fastest times on the final 2 stages of the day. McKenna’s puncture took the pressure off O’Callaghan who in the end, was able to cruise to a comfortable win of over a minute.
McKenna’s difficulties also benefitted Paddy McVeigh and Gary McElhinney and the pair gladly inherited the runner up spot despite suffering issues throughout the day with the launch control system in their Subaru Impreza World Rally Car. They just edged out Joe McGonigle and Ciarán Geaney with the Skoda pair finishing just 0.8 of a second adrift of the second placed Subaru. McGonigle, who started steadily, upped his pace throughout the day as he continues his impressive season. Currently second in the Irish Tarmac Championship, McGonigle will contest the Cork 20 Rally in a fortnights time.
Daniel Cronin, navigated by Shane Buckly took his 1999 specification Subaru Impreza World Rally Car to a strong fifth overall. Such was O’Callagan’s pace at the front that the next best 2 wheel drive car could only manage sixth place with that honour falling to the Donegal team of John Bonner and Leon Jordan, the pair also finished first in class 13. Number 1 seed Kevin Barrett had a testing rally and could only manage seventh place although the points keep Kevin in the hunt for the Top Part West Coast Championship.
2014 Billy Coleman Award nominee Cormac Phelan put in an impressive performance to take eight place with his sister Aine on the pacenotes. The top 10 was rounded out by 2 local crews with Michael Fitzgibbon and Carrie Moroney taking ninth in their Civic while Clare stalwarts Anthony O’Halloran and Charlie McEnery claimed tenth in their Opel Manta.
The was more local success in the junior section of the rally which was won by Shane and Paul O’Sullivan in a Citroen C2. The O’Sullivan’s final winning margin from Honda driver Mark O’Looney was almost a minute and a half. Finishing just outside the top 10, Shane Maguire and Mac Kierans were the Group N winners in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.