Feb 24, 2019
Dominating throughout Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes took a start to finish victory in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel Rally, the opening round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
At the conclusion of the nine-stage rally, they finished 26.3 seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta WRC of Donegal cousins Declan and Brian Boyle. Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien, also in a Ford Fiesta WRC, were 57.9 seconds further behind in third.
The Motorsport Safety Team Group N category was won by Donegal’s Michael Boyle and co-driver Dermot McCafferty (Mitsubishi).
In slippery Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) led Boyle by 2.6 seconds on the first stage with former champion Warrenpoint’s Peadar Hurson (Ford Fiesta WRC) 11.1 seconds further behind in third.
By the completion of the opening loop of three stages that included a fog shrouded third stage, Moffett was 27.2 seconds ahead of Boyle with Hurson and Roy White (Fiesta WRC) next in classification.
On the repeat loop of stages there was little change at the top as Moffett did enough to retain his lead role and although S.S. 6 was cancelled due to heavy fog, Moffett had a 26.3 second lead at the final service in Donaghmore. White displaced Hurson in the chase for third.
There was little change in the final three stages as Josh Moffett (Fiesta WRC) made a great start to try and win the Vard Memorial Trophy for the very first time.
Boyle won the Power Stage and White, seventh after the opening stage, was pleased with his third place finish.
Hurson, on what was essentially his first rally in some eighteen months (with the exception of a brief outing in Cavan) netted fourth just 1.4 seconds further behind. Scotland’s David Bogie (Skoda Fabia R5) and Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) rounded out the top six, the latter had a burst shock absorber for the opening loop.
Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) was next in classification.
Wexford’s James Stafford (Darrian) won the two-wheel drive category and finished eighth in a top ten completed by Donegal duo Joe McGonigle (Mini WRC) and Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla).
Donegal’s Michael Boyle (Mitsubishi) won Group N and victory in the Junior category went to Michael Hamilton/Shane Byrne (Honda Civic).
BIRR & DISTRICT M C ABBEYLEIX MANOR HOTEL STAGES RALLY AT ABBEYLEIX, CO LAOIS (ROUND 1 OF TRITON SHOWERS NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, TOP PART WEST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP AND HUGO LOONAM MOTORS MIDLANDS EAST CHAMPIONSHIP):
1 Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes (Fiesta) 58m 24s,
2 Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Fiesta WRC) 58m 49s,
3 Roy White/James O’Brien (Fiesta WRC) 60m 08s,
4 Peadar Hurson/Damien Connolly (Fiesta WRC) 60m 22s,
5 David Bogie/John Rowan (Fabia R5) 60m 27s,
6 Sam Moffett/James Fulton (Fiesta R5) 60m 56s,
7 Niall Maguire/Anthony Nestor (Impreza WRC) 61m 14s,
8 James Stafford/Jeff Case (Darrian T90 GTR) 61m 26s,
9 Joe McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Mini WRC) 61m 46s,
10 Kevin Eves/Chris Melly (Corolla) 62m 08s.
Motorsport Safety Team Group N award: Michael Boyle/Dermot McCafferty (Lancer Evo 9) 63m 00s.
rally.ie Two wheel drive award: James Stafford/Jeff Case.
Juniors Class 16: 1 Michael Cunniffe/Barry Talt (Peugeot 106) 48m 45s,
2 Jack Brunton/Sean Brunton (Civic) 49m 01s,
3 Jason Murphy/John Burke (Civic) 63m 58s.
Juniors Class 16A: 1 Michael Hamilton/Shane Byrne (Civic) 46m 22s,
2 Jordan Hone/Aileen Kelly (Adam) 46m 55s,
3 David Kelly/Kenny Bustard (Starlet) 47m 50s.
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