Declan Boyle's early exit may be a blessing in disguise
It wasn't the start to the week that Declan Boyle had been hoping for. Facing two important rallies in just five days as he bids to become only the second driver to win the Irish Tarmac and National championships in the same season, Donegal driver Boyle made an early exit from the Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally after his Subaru suffered gearbox trouble.
But it may not have scuppered his hopes of retaining the national title as the same stage also saw the demise of the driver leading the series going into the Clonmel-based event, Dungannon's Paddy McVeigh. Transmission gremlins forced him to retire his Subaru.
Boyle may yet come to see his retirement as a blessing in disguise. Next on his schedule is the Todds Leap Ulster International starting in Fermanagh on Friday and there is every likelihood the gearbox glitch would have surfaced there had he not been involved in Clonmel.
Although his sights are on landing the title double, the priority is the Tarmac series which he has never won. His team must get to the root of the problem as they prepare for the penultimate round of the premier championship which he leads after wins on the Galway International, Circuit of Ireland and Donegal International.
With Boyle, McVeigh and Donagh Kelly retiring from the Tipperary event, Welshman Steve Wood has moved to the top of the national standings. He finished third in his Subaru behind winner Daragh O'Riordan in his WRC Ford Fiesta the Darrian of James Stafford.