It is wet.
It is guttery.
It is windy
There are traffic jams around Loughrea.
It is so good to be back at the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally – and it is an absolute classic.
The two Kerry-based clubs are well represented on the overnight results – those who made it back to Parc Ferme tonight anyway – many didn’t.
Leading the local contingent is Killarney and District Motor Club member and Millstreet, County Cork resident Liam Moynihan.
He is on pacenote duty for Cathan McCourt in a Ford Fiesta Rally2, the pair are setting consistent top four and five times to hold fifth overall at the end of the day. A stall on the day’s final stage was their only worry and they were more than happy to bring their Fiesta into the final service without a scratch.
Daniel Cronin and his London-based Rockfield co-driver Shane Buckley said it was a very difficult day to get used to a new car. They are in sixth place overall in their new Volkswagen Polo.
“Of course it’s a good car, it was designed by a Kerry man,” said Buckley in reference to Volkswagen Motorsport engineer, Richard Browne, from Firies.
Paul Barrett, whose grandfather came from Ballyduff, is 16th. The Kildare man admitted he struggled through the waterlogged eighth stage.
Declan Gallagher and his Killcummin co-driver John McCarthy had a short day after putting their Toyota Starlet off on the opening stage of the event.
Another John McCarthy, also from Killcummin is alongside Peter Wilson and they are 16th overnight on their Ford Fiesta Rally2. Steamed up windows were their biggest troubles today.
Aghadoe’s Conor Murphy and his Rathmore co-driver Sean Collins are in action in a Ford Escort Mk2. Connor said it was a very difficult day to get used to a relatively new car.
They had clutch problems at the final service halt but have made it back to Galway city centre and are ready for tomorrow.
West Cork’s Cyril Casey and West Kerry’s Elaine NÍ Shé ended their rally in a stage seven ditch.
Both crew members are ok and they made it back to the Loughrea service halt where they were assessing the damage ahead of a possible return in the morning under Super Rally rules.
Eddie Kennelly and Paul McGlinchey appeared in the service park in the mid-morning. Although the car drove in it is unknown at this point why they retired their Ford Escort Mk2. Unconfirmed reports say it was fuel related issues.
Wexford’s Robert Leech has employed Denny Greaney from Cordal as his co-driver for the weekend in their unusual Proton Satria. They were in and out of a few Galway ditches but finished the day third in Class22.
His brother Fossa-based Sam Leach retired his Opel Corsa due to a driveshaft failure but he hopes to have it repaired for the Sunday Run.
Rathmore schoolteacher Declan Casey is second in the overall Historic standings alongside UK visitor Duncan Williams in a Ford Escort RS1800.
Brian Duggan, co-driver to former National Champion Luke McCarthy is fifth in another historic-spec Escort. Luke said he would be better off with a pair of swimming togs and tyre choice was so difficult.
Lixnaw-based co-driver Tommy Commane, who is navigating for County Louth’s Philip McKibbin in an Escort Mk1 put the whole rally in perspective.
“They started the last stage on two-minute intervals as there were so many cars off the road,” he said. They are ninth in the historic class.
Killarney and District Motor Club member Alan Watkins is tenth in his Ford Escort. The UK visitor had a very important message at the end of day one.
“The real heroes are the marshals stood out in that rain all day. It is ok for us in a nice warm car and I want to say thanks,” he told Kerry Motorsport News.
JUNIOR RALLY ON SUNDAY
The Junior rally will take place over the six Sunday stages. Muckross-based Jason Farrell has taken on Robert Duggan as his co-driver in a Honda Civic.
Duggan, the winner of the Modified section of the Killarney Historic Rally in November said: “I am a very bad passenger, I only agreed to this because Jason gave me so much help to build my Escort in time for the Lakes.”
Kerry Motor Club members John Michael Kennelly starts at J7 in his Honda Civic; Jamie O’Rourke and Patrick Brislane are at J12 in a similar machine as is Ronan Lacey who starts at J14.
The latter three travelled to Galway in style as their photo shows.