Victorious Peadar Hurson rolls back the years at Galway Summer Rally
It is more than 20 years since Peadar Hurson was Irish national rally champion. But given a competitive car he can still be a winner as he demonstrated yesterday with a start to finish victory on the Galway Summer Rally.
The Warrenpoint driver, who had won the Cavan and Tyrone Stages rallies earlier in the season, dominated the penultimate round of the Triton Showers Irish National series to bring his S10 Subaru over the finish line more than a minute ahead of another former champion, Niall Maguire, with Declan Gallagher winning the two-wheel-drive category in an impressive third in his Toyota Starlet.
With this year's title already in the hands of an absent Donagh Kelly, all eyes were on Declan Boyle, the 2014 champion and his new evolution WRC Ford Fiesta. But he never made it through the first wet, slippery stage, the Fiesta sliding off the road into the undergrowth.
But Hurson mastered the tricky conditions, opening up and immediate 14 second gap and going on to set fastest times on eight of the nine stages. Behind Gallagher, Alan Ring (Subaru) was fourth, Roy White (MG) fifth and Ed O'Callaghan (Ford Escort) sixth.
In the Czech Republic there was little joy for Craig Breen as his European championship ambitions were hit by a series of punctures on the Barum Rally Zlin. The Circuit of Ireland winner eventually finished seventh after his Peugeot suffered three punctures during the first leg on Satuday.
The rally was dominated by the factory R5 Skoda of Jan Kopecky with another Czech Vaclav Pech second in a RRC Mini. But third place for Kajetan Kajetanowicz in his Ford Fiesta saw the Pole increase his ERC lead over Breen going into the final three rounds.
Disappointment, too, for Jonny McMullan on his return to his home circuit at Kirkistown on Saturday. Leader of the UK National Formula Ford championship, the Newtownabbey driver had hoped to step up his challenge for the All-Ireland series at the track where he was once the lap record holder. It started brightly enough, McMullan qualifying his Van Diemen on pole position for both championship races. But a wet race one saw him manage only fourth place as Alan Davidson, in the Mondiale McMullan used to drive, held off championship leader Jake Byrne in a photo-finish.
Contact with another car at the start of race two dropped McMullan to third and although he fought back to second, setting fastest lap, he couldn't catch winner Byrne.
Paul Dagg won the BOSS Formula Libre race in his Dallara and there were also wins for Jim Larkham and John Benson (Roadsports) and Andrew Blair and Adrian Finnegan (Ford Fiestas).