Belfast Telegraph

Corking battle between Moffett brothers ends with Josh out in front


Bright start: Josh Moffett leads after round one
Bright start: Josh Moffett leads after round one

By Sammy Hamill

It is a familiar picture - a Moffett at the top of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. Only this time it is different, Josh instead of his brother Sam.

They finished in line astern in their matching R5 Ford Fiestas in second and third positions on the West Cork International at the weekend but, with winner Donagh Kelly's WRC Ford Focus not eligible for championship points, it is the Moffetts who top the table after the first round.

Elder brother Sam was the champion last year in a season when he also won the Irish National and Forestry titles but says he will be happy if Josh can succeed him while he looks further afield to events like the Ypres Rally in Belgium.

However, he didn't make it easy for Josh, finishing just nine seconds behind after two tough days on the road in conditions which varied from sunshine to snow. They were well clear of the third points scorer Robert Barrable, who snatched fifth place after a fierce duel with Desi Henry, the top Ulster finisher.

Henry, making his first championship start in an R5 Fiesta, had held off the experienced Barrable until the penultimate stage on Sunday afternoon when he caught standing water on the inside of a corner and spun, dropping 25 seconds.

Henry described it as a "bitter sweet" weekend - sweet because he was happy with his transition from Skoda to Ford but disappointed at letting valuable points slip away.

The same stage also caught out fellow Ulsterman Jonny Greer, who dropped from seventh to 10th when his Fiesta clipped a rock and punctured a tyre.

Eugene Donnelly brought his new Hyundai i20 home in ninth - the only non-Ford in the top 10 - and the former five-times Tarmac champion said it had been a good development exercise for him and the team, learning about the car and the Indian MRF tyres.

Behind Greer in 11th, another Ulster driver, Callum Devine, won the two-wheel-drive category by a clear two minutes in his little R2 Fiesta as he prepared for the next round of the JJWRC series in Corsica and William Mavitty took the production class in 12th in his Mitsubishi.

Belfast Telegraph

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