Noel O’Sullivan was the best of the Kerry contingent on Sunday’s Birr Rally.
The Muckross man guided Armagh’s Darrent Gass to third place overall after a tight battle with the eventual fourth-placed Desi Henry and Paddy Robinson.
Just 2.9 seconds separated the two crews after six stages in the Kinnity area.
Gass and O’Sullivan entered the final stage in fourth place but set the fastest time on it to move into third place.
The result puts the O’Sullivan in to third place in the Triton Showers-backed Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship.
Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5), co-driven by Abbeyfeale’s Keith Moriarty took a start to finish victory in the Pat Horan Motors Camper Centre of Ireland-sponsored rally and they are now comfortable leaders of the National Rally Championship.
The returning Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin were in second place for much of the rally. They were using the event as a high-speed test session ahead of another attempt at the British Rally Championship which they last won in 2017.
However, their Volkswagen Polo RC2 suffered a suspected broken driveshaft on the penultimate stage.
While disappointed not the finish their main task was to get used to their new car ahead of the first British round at the end of April
Paul Barrett, the Kildare man with Ballyduff connections was 12th, the Ford Fiesta RC2 driver said he lacked confidence in the morning following his Mayo Rally crash last month.
West Kerry’s Elaine NI She, co-driving for Alan Nesbitt took home the Women in Motorsport Ireland trophy for the highest placed Top Part West Coast Championship registered female contender. This was the second time in as many rallies that she won this trophy.
Offaly-based Ballyheuige man Gearóid O’Regan and his Tralee co-driver Tony McCarthy had a trouble-free run in their newly acquired Honda Civic.
The Down and Kerry pairing of Raymond Spence and Ger Somers prepared for their next outing – The Rally of the Lakes – and were happy to reach the finish with the car in one piece ahead of the main event later in the month.
Kilkenny’s Kieran Murphy paid tribute to his Kerry sponsor, Ahern’s BMW in Castleisland who supported his effort in getting his Subaru Impreza to the finish.
Eddie Kennelly and Paul McGlinchey were happy to put their Galway International Rally woes behind them to claim their first finish of the year in their Ford Escort Mk2.
Among the non-finishers were the Knocknagoshel/Abbeyfeale crew of Ian Horgan and John Michael Kennelly who damaged a track rod end in their Toyota Corolla on the event’s opening stage. Lixnaw co-driver Keith McCarthy and his Cork driver Neil Phelan joined the retirement list on stage two.
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