Belfast Telegraph

Moffett ends successful season on another high

 

By Sammy Hamill

Double Irish rally champion Josh Moffett rounded off an outstanding season with his second cross-channel win in the forests of the Lake District.

Moffett, already winner of the Irish Tarmac and Irish Forestry Championships, scored a last stage victory on the Grizedale Stages, he and co-driver Keith Moriarty bringing their R5 Ford Fiesta home to a 44-second win over the WRC Fiesta of Steven Petch and Michael Wilkinson.

Petch, son of a former national champion, led until the final stage with Moffett 15 seconds behind. But trouble on the long Grizedale stage cost him almost a minute, allowing the Monaghan driver, who was second last year, to snatch an unexpected victory.

John Wink and John Forrest in an R5 Hyundai i20 finished in third place.

Ballymoney driver Alan Carmichael made his debut in the first right-hand-drive R5 Hyundai to take to the stages and brought it to the finish in ninth place. Two other Ulster drivers who made the end-of-season trip to Cumbria didn't fare so well, Adrian Hetherington and Vivian Hamill hitting trouble and finishing well down the list.

Meanwhile, Wayne Boyd had to settle for fifth LMP3 place in round two of the Asian Le Mans sportscar series at a wet Mount Fuji in Japan.

Having finished second in the opening round in Shanghai a fortnight ago, Ulsterman Boyd and his United Autosports team-mates Chris Buncombe and Garret Grist had their hopes of a first win raised when they qualified their Ligier on the front row of the LMP3 grid.

But a slow pit stop for Buncombe and then a drive-through penalty for Boyd during his final stint of the four-hour race proved costly as United Autosports' second LMP3 Ligier of Kay van Berlo, Matt Bell and Christian England came through to take victory.

Phil Hanson and Paul di Resta in the Anglo-American team's LMP2 Ligier started on pole but finished second, losing out after a late safety car period to the Algarve Pro Racing's Andrea Pizzitola and Harrison Newey. But they lead the Championship overall.

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