Boyle wins Circuit of Kerry rally
DONEGAL driver Declan Boyle, with his cousin Brian Boyle as co-driver, took their Subaru Impreza World Rally car to a dominant victory on Sunday's Fel's Point Hotel Circuit of Kerry Rally.
Boyle lead from the start and afforded to back off over the final loop of three stages to take his third win out of three starts this season. He has now won the opening two rounds of the Dunlop Irish National Rally Championship.
Welsh visitor Hugh Hunter and co-driver Andy Marchbank were second despite their Impreza suffering fuel pressure problems all day.
Former Rally of the Lakes winner Darragh O'Riordan inherited third in a rally of high attrition. He was never happy with the times he was setting.
Rally legend Kenny McKinstry enjoyed a trouble-free run to fourth in his Impreza WRC S14.
Fifth placed Sam Moffat was out for the first time in his new Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Car and admitted it took a while to settle in to.
Paddy McVeigh overtook Niall Maguire over the latter few stages while Welsh visitor Steve Wood completed the top eight.
Factory driver Craig Breen brought his Peugeot Team and the brand new Peugeot 208 T16 to Tralee as part of a high speed test session ahead of their appearance on the Circuit of Ireland. They were very lucky to make the start after the car broke its gearbox in the hands of team mate Kevin Abbring during a private test session on the eve of the rally
Breen got off the a good start and was only five seconds off Boyle on the opening Mount Eagle stage but his rally began to fall apart later in the loop, a broken front drive shaft was quickly followed by the rear windscreen smashing in the car after a heavy landing of a stage three, Kilduff, jump. He crashed out two stages later after misjudging a square junction and while there was limited damage inflicted on the car he was unable to extract it from the North Kerry hedge.
It was a rally of high attrition and that same stage that claimed Breen also claimed several more front runners.
Ballyduff native Kevin Barrett retired when the engine on his Impreza let go on junction 17 while the hard charging Kevin Kelliher, who was at one stage running as a high as third, also disappeared in the stage.
Later, Darrian T90 driver, James Stafford, who up to this point had put in one of the drives of the rally, crashed out on stage seven.
One stage later, local hero Mike Quinn was side-lined after his Ford Escort suffered a mechanical problem, costing him a potential top-ten place.
Two-wheel drive battle
Killarney based Escort driver Ed Murphy with co-driver John McCarthy won a tight two-wheel battle over the Renault Clio of Tommy Doyle. Just 3.3 seconds separated the crews at end of the event.
Mick Quinn had been in the mix to until his stage eight demise while Frank Kelly, fresh from his top ten result on Rally Trinidad last week, survived a opening stage trip to the Kerry scenery to take third overall.
Tralee's PJ O'Dowd and John Young, the defending Top Part West Coast historic rally champions, recorded their second historic national rally win of the year and are now clear leaders of this category in the national series.
Tralee co-driver Paidraig Brick guided County Louth's Phillip McKibben to second in this section.
Finally, London-based Sligo man Anthony O'Brien took the prestigious Dunlop Drive of the Day award.