Fisher sparkles as Kelly pops Cork
As Donagh Kelly inevitably completed a fourth straight West Cork Rally win, drama unfolded in the battle for Irish Tarmac championship points.
Former champion Kelly's WRC Ford Focus is now ineligible for championship points so the real 'focus' was on the contenders in their R5 category cars.
In the end it was Josh Moffett who took second place and maximum points ahead of Alastair Fisher despite the two of them struggling to get to grips with the wet, slippery Cork roads. They were in fourth and fifth places with just a couple of stages remaining yesterday afternoon when everything changed.
Josh's brother Sam, the R5 leader from the Saturday morning start, lost nearly three minutes when his Ford Fiesta suffered a puncture on the 13th of the 15 stages.
Moments later Robert Barrable, his closest challenger, suffered the same fate on the same corner, his brand new Hyundai i20 also breaking a front brake disc which eliminated him.
Sam Moffett recovered to finish fourth but it was his younger brother who emerged as the R5 winner, nearly two minutes adrift of winner Kelly, with Fisher a further 20 seconds back in third. Crucially, however, the Tyrone driver remains top of the Tarmac standings after two rounds.
Meanwhile, the Irish challenge for the British championship got off to a less than stellar start on the Border Rally in the Scottish forests with Keith Cronin the top finisher in fourth place.
Despite two fastest times, two punctures on his debut for the M-Sport Ford team cost the reigning Irish tarmac champion any real hope of victory as Sweden's Fredrik Ahlin emerged the winner ahead of Welshmen Tom Cave and Osian Pryce, all driving R5 Fiestas.