Paul Nagle retires from World Rally Championship
Those within Paul Nagle’s inner circle knew for some time that 2022 was likely to be his last season in the World Rally Championship.
But when the news was confirmed, shortly after Rally New Zealand, in September it still sent shockwaves through the sport.
The Aghadoe man can hold his head high. Five wins and 18 podiums across 101 starts at the sport’s highest level is something to be immensely proud of.
His final year in the sport will be remembered for a magnificent third-place finish on Rallye Monte Carlo in January and second in Rallye Italia Sardinia in June alongside Craig Breen.
His final rally, in Spain in October, was an emotional experience, family, friends and fans lined the roadside near the last time control of the event to applaud a Kerry man who put local motorsport firmly on the world map!
Noel O’Sullivan win the British Rally Championship
Nagle’s departure from the World scene may have signalled the end of an era but Noel O’Sullivan’s success in the British Rally Championship is the foundation of a new one.
O’Sullivan, from Muckross, guided Welsh driver Osian Pryce to four wins in one of the most prestigious rally championships in the world.
His main rival was Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin, a former winner of the title, who guided West Cork’s Keith Cronin to second place. To think there are two Killarney and District Motor Club men fighting for top honours in such an important championship shows the strength of the local scene.
O’Sullivan also celebrated winning the Rally of the Lakes in May, alongside Calum Devine in a Volkswagen Polo.
Only two other Kerry co-drivers, Helen O’Sullivan in 2010 and Nagle in 2019, have won the county’s international rally since its inception in 1979.
Déjà vu Motorsport
In the modern era of the World Rally Championship, up to May this year, only three Irish competitors have stood on the podium of a World Rally Championship event.
Kris Meek and Craig Breen were co-driven by Nagle to victories and podiums, from Argentina to Finland and everywhere in between and to think that all three were in Tralee for the De Ja Motorsport celebrations was a huge coup for organisers Kerry Motor Club.
The Tralee-based club was celebrating 50 years in 2022 and Déjà Vu Motorsport was its flagship event in its celebratory year.
As an added bonus the event raised € 40,000 for Recovery Haven Cancer Support in Tralee.
The Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship – the only county rally championship in the country – entered its fourth season in 2022.
Darren Young is the Moriarty’s Centra Kingdom of Kerry Rally champion for the second time.
The Tralee-based driver backed up his 2019 success with three class podiums this season to claim the title for the second time.
Two wins in the Rally of the Lakes were backed up by a second place in the Kerry Winter Rally in October and despite his Honda Civic being ineligible for the Killarney Historic Rally he had done enough to secure his second county medal.
Ger Conway is the new county co-driving champion. Two wins alongside Rob Duggan in the Rally of the Lakes and a third win in the Kerry Winter Rally alongside Richard Moffatt secured him his first gold medal.
Killarney Forestry Rally returns after a 15-year absence
Forestry rallying returned to Kerry for the first time since 2007.
In what was a first for any rally in Ireland, the February event was run to raise money for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.
Several event suppliers gave their services for free or at a reduced cost and programme adverts generated a large amount of money.
As a result, Killarney and District Motor Club presented €58,293 to the Air Ambulance.
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