Noel O’Sullivan recorded his first Irish National Rally win in five years at Sunday’s Midland Moto Rally in Longford.
Most of the defending British Rally Championship co-driver title holder’s career to date has been spent on the international trail.
The Muckross co-driver and his driver Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan took a start-to-finish win in the Ardmore Air Conditioning Longford Arms Hotel Midland Moto Rally on Sunday – the opening round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
It was the Volkswagen Polo RC2crew’s second victory together after taking their maiden victory on the Rally of the Lakes last May.
After an unseasonably dry morning, the rain landed for the final loop of three stages near Longford town.
Devine and O’Sullivan exerted their authority on the event over the damp roads. A ten-second victory over Oghill gave them a 15.1-second lead with two stages to run.
The Derry/Kerry pairing was fastest again over the even wetter Kilmoyle stage and extended their lead to 18.2 seconds.
They cruised through the final Bawn stage to take a 10.7-second victory over former British Rally Champion Matt Edwards.
O’Sullivan left Longford town as the leader of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship with the April 2 Rose Hotel Circuit of Kerry next on the agenda.
Milltown’s Ger Conway was another Kerry co-driver to finish in the top ten in the nine-stage rally.
He and his driver, Stephen Wright, in their Ford Fiesta R5, the winners of last month’s Kirkistown Rally finished tenth.
Shane Buckley was out of luck, he and his driver Andrew Purcell out their Skoda Fabia off the road on the event’s opening stage and while the damage was minimal they were forced to call it day.
New York-based Paul Rowley (and his Kerry co-driver Brian Doherty)was the highest-placed Midland Motor Club member in his Ford Fiesta RC2.
Dublin-based Killcummin co-driver Damien Fleming guided Monaghan’s Michael Conlon to second in class 12. Their next event will be the Rally of the Lakes over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Keith O’Connor and Aaron O’Connor – the only all-Kerry crew in the event – from Ballyfinnane failed to get their Honda Civic to the finish while co-driver John McCarthy was a non-starter.
Ciara Griffin had a debut rally to forget. The Listowel-based Ballyvourney co-driver was on pacenote duty for Wayne Keogh.
Despite holding fifth in class after stage two, their Subaru Impreza developed brake calliper issues on the third test and they were forced to retire.
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