Declan Boyle is homing in on double delight
Declan Boyle kept his double dream alive with a start-to-finish win on the Clare Rally.
Already all but certain to be crowned champion in the premier Irish Tarmac series in Cork at the beginning of next month, Boyle found himself in a position of having to win the final three rounds of the Dunlop National championship to become just the second driver to hold both titles in the same season.
The Donegal driver won in Galway a fortnight ago and yesterday he scored a convincing victory in Clare, leading his Subaru all the way to finish over a minute clear of his four title rivals. Welshman Hugh Hunter was second in his Subaru with Tipperary's Roy White (MG) third and Dungannon's Paddy McVeigh (Subaru) fourth.
The battle now goes down to Boyle's home round of the series, the Donegal Harvest Rally next month, when he and his cousin co-driver Brian must win again to top the points table.
However, there was frustration for Craig Breen as he tried to kick-start his European championship campaign on the Cyprus Rally.
Again Breen was plagued with reliability issues with his Peugeot Academy 208 T16, eventually retiring after completing the final stage but unable to make it back to the finish in Nicosia. The rally was won by Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al Rahji, who had Ulster co-driver Michael Orr alongside him in their Ford Fiesta R5.
Almost from the start Breen's Peugeot began to play up, suffering from overheating problems which forced the engine to switch onto road (or safety) mode. The Peugeot team were unable to solve the problems and the former World S2000 champion drove almost the entire rally with the power restricted but was still in sixth place until the engine died.
Pole Kajetan Kajetanowicz was the top ERC points scorer in second. Two other Irish co-drivers, Killian Duffy and Chris Patterson, figured in third and fourth with Abdulaziz Al Kuwari and Khalid Al Qassimi respectively.
There was frustration, too, for Steven Kane and the M-Sport Bentley team in the 1000kms race at the Nurburgring in Germany.
Ballynahinch-born Kane qualified the Bentley Continental in pole position on Saturday but yesterday's race started in horrid wet conditions which saw his team-mates Andy Meyrick and Guy Smith fall off the pace and drop to 13th place.
Kane took over for the final two hours and, on a drying track, clawed his way back up to eighth.