Desi Henry and Josh Moffett did all they could, finishing first and second on the Glens of Antrim Rally, but it still wasn't enough to prevent Owen Murphy becoming Irish forest champion for a second time.
The long trip from Cork paid off for Murphy who steered his Mitsubishi to fifth place overall in the north Antrim forests of Cam and Springwell to edge out Moffett and last round winner Henry to top the championship standings.
Martin Cairns led initially in his Subaru but then Henry and Moffett took over, the two of them vying for fastest times in their Mitsubishis before Henry, from nearby Portglenone, pulled clear to win by six seconds. Cairns finished third, overtaking the Subaru of three-times Northern Ireland champion Kenny McKinstry on the last stage to take the final place on the podium.
But all the while, Muphy held steady in the fifth place that was all he needed to repeat his 2011 success in the Valvoline series. Sam Moffett completed the top six in his Mitsubishi and further back, Shane McGirr clinched the two-wheel-drive championship with 10th overall in Toyota Starlet having edged out the Ford Escort of Frank Kelly by three-10ths of a second.
Marty McKenna and co-driver Martin McGarrity were taken to hospital after their Subaru crashed on the second stage at Cam but they were not seriously injured.
Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Craig Breen and Keith Cronin on the final round of the European championship, the Tour de Corse, which was won by French star Stephane Sarrazin.