Donagh Kelly hung on by his fingernails to win the Dogleap Rally, round six of the Hankook Northern Ireland championship.
The reigning production champion was two seconds ahead in his Mitsubishi Lancer at the Limavady finish despite a spirited fightback by an unlucky Kenny McKinstry.
The former triple champion was just starting to build a lead when his WRC Subaru damaged a driveshaft on the second stage and although it was repaired on the road section, McKinstry was late into the following control, incurring a 40-second penalty.
He came storming back over the next six stages, climbing from fourth place and chipping away at Kelly’s lead. Still nine seconds behind going into the final stage, McKinstry was fastest again but came up two seconds short.
Omagh teenager Mark Donnelly celebrated his switch to an Evo 9 Mitsubishi with third place which moves him second place in the championships standings behind Stuart Biggerstaff.
The Dogleap was Biggerstaff’s first forest rally and came through strongly in the latter part of the event to finish eighth in his Subaru and remain top of the points table.
l Despite plenty of shake ups on leaderboards at individual kart races yesterday at Nutts Corner Circuit, the Ulster Cup series leaderboards in the classes will be unchanged but significantly tighter as the whole sport prepares itself for next Saturday and Sundays Irish Kart Grand Prix at the circuit.
In the 125 Rotax Max class, Cookstown's Stefan Lyttle still retains his title lead in the Ulster Karting Club championship but Ballymena’s Brian McCarte took two major wins in yesterday’s fifth round.