Belfast Telegraph

Philip Allen marks his champion dad's birthday with May Day victory

 

By Sammy Hamill

Philip Allen celebrated his late father's birthday in some style by winning the May Day Rally at St. Angelo airfield in Co Fermanagh.

His dad, Glenn, was a former Northern Ireland champion who died in a tragic accident as he walked home from a wedding reception some 18 months ago, and yesterday 25-year-old Philip showed he has inherited his father's driving talent.

It was his first victory in just his third rally and his first time behind the wheel of a WRC car, a McGeehan Motorsport Mini.

Partnered by one of his father's fiercest rivals, five-times Irish Tarmac champion Eugne Donnelly, Allen led from the third stage to win by four seconds from the Ford Escort of Damien Toner and the Ford Fiesta S2000 of Stephen McCann in third.

Meanwhile, there was little more than a hair's breadth between two of Ulster's rising rally stars, William Creighton and Callum Devine, on the Pirelli International. Just four-10ths of a second in fact as they took the top two places in the British Junior Championship category.

It was Moira teenager Creighton, a former UK Young Driver of the Year, who snatched the victory in his R2 Peugeot 208 on the final stage of the Carlisle-based rally and now leads the British Junior series after two rounds.

But he had been trailing Devine for most of the two-day rally and only nosed in front on the final stage when the Claudy driver had to slow, the tyres on his Ford Fiesta worn down to the canvas by the forest roads.

Meanwhile, Trevor Willis extended his lead at the top of the British hillclimb series after taking home maximum points from Craigantlet.

The former champion was consistently the fastest driver on the Belfast hill in his 600 horse power OMS and set a best time of 40.37 seconds.

Two other championship contenders, Wallace Menzies and Dave Uren, were second and third, less than half-a-second slower. Chris Houston was the top Northern Ireland driver in 11th overall, increasing his lead in the local series.

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