Moffett masters the Midlands as Boyle bows out
Josh Moffett made it two wins out of two with victory in the Midland Moto Rally to strengthen his position at the top of the Triton Showers Irish National Championship.
The Monaghan driver, who missed out on a title hat-trick last season after winning the Irish Tarmac and Forestry championships, led from start to finish yesterday to bring his WRC Ford Fiesta to the Longford finish more than a minute ahead of the similar car of Roy White.
Initially Moffett had been challenged by reigning national champion Declan Boyle who was only five seconds behind when he put his WRC Fiesta off the road on the fourth of the nine stages.
From then on Moffett was able to control the rally from the front, keeping White, the 2016 champion, comfortably at bay.
Peadar Hurson made it an all WRC Fiesta top three but James Stafford was an impressive fourth in his little Darrian T90, finishing ahead of Joe McGonigle in a WRC Mini.
Former Tarmac champion Darren Gass was a late entry in his R5 Skoda Fabia and finished sixth. Another ex-Tarmac champion from Ulster, Garry Jennings, was a non-starter.
Meanwhile Craig Breen made an encouraging start to his Italian championship campaign, finishing fourth in the opening round, the Rallye del Ciocco.
Making his debut with the Metior Sport team, the former Citroen WRC driver struggled with his R5 Skoda Fabia understeering in the opening part of the rally and was in sixth place at the halfway point.
With the set-up changed at service, Breen made a strong recovery to climb to fourth, just 16 seconds behind the Italian winner Giandomenico Basso, also in a Skoda.
In second and third were two other old rivals from Breen's European championship days, Simone Campedelli (Ford Fiesta) and Luca Rosetti (Citroen DS3).
Breen has already won the first two rounds of the Irish Tarmac championship in Galway and West Cork and is expected to figure in round three, the Easter Stages next month, although his aim is a return to the WRC series.