Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Quick learner Moffett nets debut win

Sam Moffett won the Monaghan Rally in a hired car

Some joker stuck an 'L' plate on the windscreen of Sam Moffett's car at the start of the Monaghan Rally, but it was the Irish Tarmac production champion who was laughing at the finish.

Despite being a genuine learner in terms of WRC supercars, 22-year-old Moffett pulled off the biggest win of his career.

When his Group N Mitsubishi developed an engine fault during testing ahead of Sunday's round of the Irish national championship, Moffett was still determined not to miss his home rally.

Instead of looking around for another production car, he made a quick phone call to Banbridge and arranged to hire the newest machine in the McKinstry Motorsport stable, a WRC S14 Subaru.

The former Armagh Royal School student had never driven a WRC car before so the 'L' plate was totally appropriate.

Against one of the best fields assembled for an Irish national championship round, including champion Darren Gass, Daragh O'Riordan, Declan Boyle and Donagh Kelly, Moffett proved to be the ultimate in quick learners by pulling off a stunning victory.

With just a limited test run to familiarise himself with the Subaru, Moffett was in the thick of it from the start and took the lead when, for the second rally in a row, Boyle crashed out. He went on to win by more than a minute ahead of the Subaru of multi-national champion Niall Maguire and O'Riordan in his new M-Sport Ford Fiesta.

With the Rally of the Lakes less than two weeks away and the defence of his Tarmac production title a priority, he'll have to come back to down to earth in a hurry.

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