Group N crown for Kerry pair
DONEGAL'S Donagh Kelly co-driven Kevin Flanagan took overall victory in their Subaru S11 WRC on last Sunday's Carlton Hotel Circuit of Kerry Stages Rally, round 2 of the Top Part West Coast Rally Championship.
The opening loop of stages saw Declan and Brian Boyle (Subaru S12B) move into the overall lead by 11.5 seconds from Kelly / Flanagan with Down's Kenny McKinstry / Kenny Hull (Subaru S14) in third place ahead of Ballyduff's Kevin Barrett / Sean Mullally (Subaru S11) and Castleisland's Alan Ring / Adrian Deasy (Mitsubishi Evo 9) in fifth place. Tyrone's Frank Kelly / Stephen Quinn (Ford Escort MK11) held seventh place and top two wheel drive ahead of Monaghan's John McQuaid and Tralee co-driver Seamus O'Connor who were in 10th overall after a absence of 10 months from competing.
Stage 3 saw the lead change hand's after Boyle's slid wide at the end of the stage and beached his Subaru forcing the Donegal crew to retire from the event. Kelly now held over one minute of a lead from McKinstry as the crews started stage 4 with Barrett / Mullally in third place. Alan Ring / Adrian Deasy were in fourth place and leading the Group N category, while Frank Kelly was in fifth place and still leading the two wheel drive from McQuaid / O'Connor, who were now settling back into the grove after their absence and had moved up to eighth overall.
Stage 4 saw McKinstry set fastest time by just 0.4 of a second from Kelly with McQuaid and O'Connor third fastest in their Ford Escort just 6.5 seconds slower than the two Subaru world rally cars and move into seventh place.
The final loop of stages saw Kelly / Flanagan retain his overall lead ad arrive at the finish ramp with a 1 minute 27 second winning margin over McKinstry / Hull while Barrett / Mullally took the final podium place. Alan Ring / Adrian Deasy finished in fourth place and took the overall Group N award, while Frank Kelly / Stephen Quinn finished in fifth place and won the Top 2 Wheel Drive award from John McQuaid / Seamus O'Connor who finished in seventh place after stalling their Escort on the final stage and losing valuable seconds.
The Historic category of the rally saw Tralee's PJ O'Dowd/John Young take a start to finish victory in their Talbot Sunbeam with Louth's Philip McKibbin and Tralee co-driver Padraig Brick (Ford Escort MK1) finishing 23 seconds behind the Kerry duo. Wexford's Richard Moore / William Kehoe (Honda Civic) won the Junior category by 45 second's from Tralee's Darren Young / Sean Walsh (Honda Civic) with the final podium place going to the Kerry crew of Patrick Lawlor / Cian Dineen.
Some of the other local Kerry class award winners on the day included John McQuaid / Seamus O'Connor, Tom Relihan / Maurice McElligott, John Hickey / John McCarty, Ken O'Neill / Ronald Riordan, Jason Costello / Gary Carroll and Eddie Kennelly / TP McNamara.