Sunday 19 November 2017

Sligo stages rally

Moffett is the overall winner of the Triton Showers National Rally

With his sixth victory in as many events, the latest on the FAAC Simply automatic/Sligo Park Hotel Rally, Monaghan's Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) clinched the Triton Showers National Rally Championship in style.

Co-driven by Cork's Karl Atkinson, twenty-seven year old Moffett finished a minute and 35.6 seconds clear of the Skoda Fabia R5 of Derry's Desi Henry and his Cork co-driver Liam Moynihan. 

Former triple champion Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) and his co-driver Enda Sherry were a minute and 22.2 seconds further behind in third.

On the opening stage near Ballintogher Sam Moffett (Fiesta WRC) punched in the best time and led the similar car of Declan Boyle by 3.7 seconds with late entry Josh Moffett in his Fiesta R5 some 8.1 seconds further behind. 

Reigning Triton champion Roy White (Fiesta WRC) was fourth. Boyle made adjustments to the set-up of his Fiesta and reaped the rewards by claiming the best times for the other two stages of the opening loop. 

At the Collooney service park he led Sam Moffett by 9.4 seconds, the latter remarked that his car was unstable on the stages.  Meanwhile, his brother Josh retained third - albeit 17.4 seconds further behind. Roy White was untroubled in fourth followed by Derry's Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia R5) and fellow Ulsterman Jonny Greer (Citroen DS3 R5). 

Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) occupied seventh in a top ten that also featured Martin Cairns (Fiesta WRC), Kenny McKinstry (Subaru) and Brendan Cumiskey (Skoda Fabia R5).In the Motorsport Safety Group N category, Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) held a 5.4 second advantage over title rival David Guest, who made tyre choice that was far too brave and paid the consequences with an overshoot. The second loop of three stages brought a significant change to the top ten. Boyle was lucky not to have lost more time at a right hand junction when he slid wide and clouted a bank, yet, he only dropped a few seconds and still led Moffett by seven seconds. 

Greer retired when he slid his Citroen DS3 R5 off the road.  Quickest on S.S. 5 Boyle extended his advantage to 9.2 seconds but his rally ended on the next stage when he punctured, although he finished the stage, he withdrew at the stage finish as he had lost over three minutes.  

Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5) lost third place when his Fiesta R5 punctured and he had to stop and change the front left wheel. At the final service Sam Moffett held a significant advantage, he was a minute and 12.3 seconds clear of new second placed driver Desi Henry.

The rally leader was concerned about a vibration that was still present despite changing rims and tyres. However, he did admit that a change of tyres brought a marked difference in the handling of the car. Second placed Henry reckoned his Skoda was down on power and attributed the loss to a leak from the turbo boost. Niall Maguire in third recalled an overshoot that cost him around twenty seconds. White in fourth had an eventful loop, he also had a moment at the same location where Boyle clouted a bank on the fourth stage. He lost more time on the next stage when he overshot a junction and then as he tried to exit that situation he beached his Fiesta WRC, the whole sequence cost the outgoing Triton champion around two minutes.

Sligo Champion

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