While Josh Moffett and Andy Hayes lead the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally after today’s difficult eight-stage loop.
Last year’s winners go into Sunday’s six-stage competition with a 7.8-second lead over Cathan McCourt and Killarney and District Motor Club co-driver Liam Moynihan from Millstreet, County Cork
Moffatt arrived at the final service halt in Loughrea minus a rear bumper – he took it off after it got caught in the exhaust pipe and started delivering smoke into the car.
It was his brother Sam and co-driver Keith Moriarty who led after stage one but Josh was back in control until stage four.
The leader-board was turned on its head on stage six, Meirion Evans entering the day’s second service as leader with Josh back in fourth place after the throttle stuck open on his Hyundai I20 RC2 and he suffered a 360 spin.
McCourt and Moynihan were never too far off the frantic pace, second on the opener, fourth a midday but, as they slowly got used to their new Citroen C3 RC2, they ended the day in second place.
Moriarty, who third overall, alongside Sam described the rally as a “see-saw” as the leader board changed throughout the day.
They are out in a newer version of the Hyundai i20 RC2.
Rally of the Lakes winners Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan are in seventh place overall overnight in their Volkswagen Polo RC2.
An engine misfire, which cuts in fourth and fifth gear is hampering progress and they were losing as much as ten seconds on the longer stages.
They have traced the issue to a fuel pressure problem.
One of the drivers of the rally goes to Conor Murphy and Sean Collins. They are second overall in the modified section of the rally.
The Aghadoe man brought the car to John Moynihan Rallying over the last few weeks and the Millstreet preparation expert has transformed the handling of his Ford Escort.
John McCarthy, probably better known as one of Kerry’s top co-drivers is on his first day out in his ex-Barry Meade Ford Escort.
He and co-driver Kieran O’Donoghue are seventh in class 13 after the day, a sign of how they improved all day, they were 13th in the class after stage one.
Bob Moran lost over six minutes on the final loop when the throttle cable broke on his Ford Escort. However the holds on to third place in class 11R.
Fossa’s Sam Leech is in a battle “with myself”
This time last year he relied on Rally2 and possibly even Rally 3,4 and 5 rules, if they existed, to get to the finish.
He is the only competitor in class ten, but after a trouble-free day, he is determined to make amends for last year and the class award is merely a bonus.
Gearoid Reagan and his local co-driver are on their first Galway International Rally together. They hold second in class 22 after another trouble-free day in their Brendan Brosnan-prepared Honda Civic.
In the historic section, Luke McCarthy and Brian Duggan failed to get their tyre choice right for most of the day.
“It was fun but not very fast,” said Brian.
The rally concludes on Sunday, with six stages, including two runs over the famed Black Road. The first car is dune on SS10 at 9.55 am.
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