Belfast Telegraph

Polo is just mint, says victorious McCormack

 

Top spot: Marty McCormack enjoyed success in Cork
Top spot: Marty McCormack enjoyed success in Cork

By Sammy Hamill

A change of car brought Marty McCormack his first outright victory in a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

The former British Junior champion from Draperstown is more usually seen in Skoda Fabias or his history Ford Escort but for the final round of the premier Irish series, he switched to an R5 Volkswagen Polo and brought it home to victory in the Cork '20' International after two days in tricky conditions.

McCormack and co-driver Barney Mitchell won by 18 seconds from the Skoda of young Welshman Meirion Evans, with Jonny Greer and Eugene Donnelly making it three Ulster drivers in the top four.

And another one, William Creighton, finished in eighth place to secure the Tarmac Junior title in his little R2 Peugeot.

McCormack had started cautiously, taking his time to adapt to the Polo, and it was Callum Devine who dominated the rally on Saturday, the Derry driver building a 27-second lead over Daniel Cronin until his Ford Fiesta broke a driveshaft on the final stage of the day.

Devine dropped to fifth and in his efforts to make up lost ground yesterday he went off the road and eventually retired with a damaged wheel.

McCormack was closing rapidly on Cronin and went in front when the younger brother of four-time British champion Keith crashed his Fiesta on the second stage of the day.

His exit left McCormack to control the rest of the rally, carefully keeping Evans at bay over the remaining six stages to claim his first international win.

"The car has been brilliant, fantastic," said a delighted McCormack. "It has been faultless all weekend - a big thanks to Dom Buckley and his team for a great job."

The two of them were well clear of Greer, whose Fiesta had transmission trouble on Saturday, and Donnelly's Proton Iriz which he only stepped into after a deal to allow Rob Duggan to drive it fell through at the last minute.

Damien Toner won the two-wheel-drive category in his Ford Escort and clinch the modified section of the championship.

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