McCormack overjoyed with rally series warm-up win
Marty McCormack got his preparations for the British championship off to a perfect start with a warm-up win on the Moonraker Rally.
The Draperstown driver is targeting the British series this season, beginning with the Pirelli International on April 28, but headed south with his R5 Skoda Fabia at the weekend for the Ballyvourney-based round of Irish Forestry Championship to set the car up for the gravel stages to come.
McCormack and co-driver David Moynihan had finished third on the Irish Tarmac Championship Easter Rally a week earlier and the Skoda was hastily converted to gravel specification by the Buckley Motorsport team in time to start the Moonraker event.
It was Easter Rally winner Josh Moffett who led initially but when he and the other leading Irish championship contender Andrew Purcell both struck trouble on stage two, McCormack surged to the front and went on to win comfortably.
Barry McKenna finished second, 25 seconds behind in his R5 Ford Fiesta, with Moffett, whose Fiesta had suffered a transmission issue on stage two, recovering to take third place over a minute adrift of winner McCormack.
Gerard Lucy was third in his Mitsubishi ahead of the Fiesta of Stephen McCann with Eoghain Rogers completing the top six in his Mitsubishi. Shane McGirr was the top two-wheel-drive finisher, 10th in his Toyota Starlet.
Meanwhile, Wayne Boyd's LMP2 debut in the European Le Mans sportscar series ended with a disappointing ninth place, a lap down on the winning Racing Engineering Oreca of Olivier Pla, Norman Nato and Paul Petit.
The former Formula Ford champion was teamed with American Will Owen and Swiss Hugo de Sadeleer, driving the middle stint in the four-hour race at Le Castellet in the south of France.
They started from 14th-place after a disrupted qualifying session and Boyd took over in eighth place from Owen but dropped to 14th when he had to return to pits after just one lap to have his seatbelts adjusted.
He matched times with the experienced Bruno Senna in the second of the United Autosports Ligiers, climbing into the top 10 before handing over to de Sadeleer to complete the race.
Closer to home, Richard McGimpsey won the opening round of the Millers Oils Northern Ireland hillclimb championship at Croft. Runner-up to Chris Houston last season, McGimpsey dominated the Holywood hill in his RMG Turbo single seater with a fastest time of 35.50 seconds on his second of three runs.
Former champion Graham Thompson was second in his GTR Turbo on 35.84 despite only completing one run and Brendan Flynn was third. Houston, champion for the past two years, and the Croft winner last year, could only finish eighth.