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Moffett makes it a brotherly High Five victory in Monaghan Rally

 

By Sammy Hamill

The Moffett dominance of the Monaghan Rally continues with a fifth successive victory.

This time it was elder sibling Sam who edged in front with his third win after brother Josh had won for the past two years. More importantly, it was the senior Moffett's third win in a row in the opening three rounds of the Irish National Championship.

He led from start to finish in his WRC Ford Fiesta, finishing 26 seconds ahead of the WRC Ford Focus of former champion Donagh Kelly who was bidding for a weekend double after winning the Lark in the Park on Saturday.

Josh Moffett, however, crashed out on only the second stage in his R5 Fiesta.

Two more former champions Declan Boyle (WRC Fiesta) and Niall Maguire (WRC Subaru) were third and fourth respectively ahead of the R5 Fiesta of Stephen Wright and the WRC Fiesta of current champion Roy White.

Kelly dominated the Lark in the Park up in Derry before heading south to Monaghan. He led all the way to finish 47 seconds ahead of 2016 winner Joe McGonigle's R5 Skoda. Kevin Gallagher was third in his Darrian.

In Scotland, Desi Henry warmed up for this weekend's second round of the British championship, the Pirelli International, with second place in the Speyside Stages on Saturday. He finished 39 seconds behind former British champion David Bogie in an R5 Skoda one-two ahead of the Ford Fiesta of Euan Thorburn. Mark Donnelly was fourth in his WRC Fiesta.

Meanwhile, it was a tough start for the Ulster contingent in the opening round of the Blancpain European Endurance series at Monza with Jonny Kane the highest placed in 11th for the Strakka McLaren team.

Two of their other cars were in the wars at the start of the three-hour race after a first lap incident which brought out the red flag. Andrew Watson could only watch from the pits as his No.58 McLaren, being driven by team-mate Dean Stoneman was eliminated on the spot.

It was a similar experience for Steven Kane who had qualified fourth fastest for the Bentley team and Guy Smith had the GT3 Continental up in second place during the first hour before they were penalised for a pit lane infringement. Worse was to follow when they were forced to retire the car before Kane got to take over for the final stint.

Locally, Niall Murray scored back-to-back wins in rounds three and four of the NI Formula Ford series at Kirkistown.

Kevin O'Hara, who had won the first two rounds, again qualified his Van Diemen on pole for both races but was caught up in a first lap incident which sidelined him in race one which Murray won ahead of James Roe and Keith Donegan.

O'Hara's car was repaired in time for him to start race two from pole but he made a poor start and it was Murray who surged ahead again to take his second win. O'Hara fought back strongly, setting a new FF1600 lap record of 60.05 seconds on his way to second place ahead of Roe.

Belfast Telegraph

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