It is great to be back, Clonakilty, St Patrick’s Weekend and rally, what more is wanted.
That was the sentiment of all the crews as they completed day-one of the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally.
Liam Moynihan is the best of the local competitors after eight trying stages.
The Killarney and District Motor Club member and his driver, Cathan McCourt, set the fastest time over the day’s final stage at Rossmore to end the leg in fifth place overall. The Ford Fiesta team did have tyre choice issues earlier in the day and after trying a soft compound in the middle of the day they reverted to a harder compound later on.
Shane Buckley and his driver Daniel Cronin reported a trouble free to seventh place overall after day one.
Rob Duggan and John Falvey are tenth overall and second on the national category on their Ford Escort. They are 29 seconds off class pacesetter James Staford in the Darrian.
“It is a mental hot pace,” said Rob, “Very fast but very fun.”
Abbeyfeale’s Keith Moriarty is seventh in the national category alongside Sam Moffett in a Toyota Starlet RWD.
Conor Murphy and Sean Collins are “flying” and “having a great time” as they ended the day in another Escort.
Barry Meade, on his first rally in a long time is 15th overall but reckons he could have more commitment in the faster sections. “I am too shy,” said the KDMC member.
Vincent O’Shea reported no drama on his way to 25thh overall in his Darrian. “It is good to be back to a two-day rally,” said the Kenmare man.
Fergus O’Meara and Ronald O’Riordan, running in the main field after they did not get a call in from reserves for the historic rally reported brake and clutch issues in their Escort.
Bob Moran, on his 18th West Cork start is 45th and says he is rusty after a long lay off.
Ray O’Neill is one place ahead – he and co-driver Paidraig O’Donovan are one place ahead of Bob. It is their first visit to West Cork.
Co-driver Keith McCarthy and his driver Neil Phelan are still trying to dust off the cobwebs in their first rally since a big crash on last September’s Cork ‘20’.
Returning Australian Jack Kelleher and his co-driver Eoin O’Donoghue finished their day in a hired Ford Fiesta.
Killarney co-driver Tommy Moynihan reported a few moments along the way as he and his driver Pat O’Connor ended the day in 48h place in the Mitsubishi Lancer E10.
Mike Nelligan and John Hurley said they were very rusty – their first rally since this event in 2019- they ended the day in 80th place overall.
Brian Doherty and David Fleming gave themselves a massive fright over one of the earlier Saturday tests but they brought their Ford Fiesta home after day one.
Ian Horgan and Mike Doody, driving a Toyota Corolla said they were delighted with the stages.
Rathmore’s Pat Cashman is alongside Frank Rafferty in the pink Ford Sierra Saphire Cosworth. Turbo problems early in the day delayed progress.
Declan Casey is second in the historic class alongside Michael McDaid.
Denis Cronin and Helen Duggan are fifth after suffering an engine misfire early in the day.
Alan Ring, and deputising co-driver Denis O’Donovan, is getting used to rear-wheel drive and a conventional gearbox again. He is competing in his BMW M3 instead of the Subaru Legacy he has driven on the last three events.
Ray Breen, whose father hails from Tralee and his Italian co-driver Tamarra Molinara are tenth and happy to be in the event after “a lot of late nights” getting their Subaru Legacy rebuilt since its Killarney tumble.
Tommy Commane’s regular driver Philip McKribben is celebrating his 60th birthday today and they ended the day in 16th place.
Robert Falvey is 17th after two high speed spins in his Escort.
KDMC member and UK visitor Alan Watkins is 19th “It is hard to get heat in to tyres,” he said.
James Hall and Tony McCarthy are 23rd after a trouble-free run in their Audi Quattro.
Briand Dugga and Luke McCarthy have re-entered the Historic Rally under SuperRally rules after the gearbox on their Escort failed after the first stage.
Kevin O’Donoghue retired his BMW at the end of Stage one after an oil-filter housing worked its way loose. He turned the car off to avoid potential damage.
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