Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally – day one report by Kevin O’Driscoll

After 8 tough and demanding stages east of the town of Clonakilty it is Josh Moffett & Andy Hayes who lead the way at the midway point of the 2023 Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally.

After a cautious start on very wet roads Moffett & Hayes really went for it as the roads dried out and by the end of the fourth stage held a 7.1 second lead over Meirion Evans & Jonathan Jackson.

Callum Devine, Sam Moffett & Robert Barrable completed the top five places.

By this point we had lost Gareth MacHale to an accident on Stage 2, while Desi Henry was another retiree when he damaged a wheel on stage 3. Cathan McCourt was fortunate not to join them with a high speed incident which saw the Citroen bounce off a few banks, but they suffered nothing worse than a broken back bumper.

The last four stages of the day saw Moffett edge his way further ahead thanks to three fastest times including both runs over Dunworley. Evans & Jackson are in second place 18.6 seconds off the lead with Devine,

Barrable and Sam Moffett rounding off the top five places. Declan Boyle dropped out of the top ten with an excursion while David Guest broke a wheel and then the gearbox broke before stage forcing him into retirement.

Gary Kiernan & Cathal Mulgrew are the top modified crew and currently lie in tenth place overall. Kevin Eves & Chris Melly had initially led the modified until a burst brake pipe forced them into Rally 2.

Daniel McKenna & Andrew Grennan are eleventh overall just under five seconds behind Kiernan with Chris Armstrong & Martin Byrne holding third in the category and twelfth overall.

The historic category is currently being led by last years winners Neil Williams & Anthony O’Sullivan, but they are under severe pressure from Sebastian Ling & Aled Rees who are only four seconds behind. The final podium position is currently being held by Wayne Evans & Sion Jones. Craig Breen & Meirion Evans in a Sierra Cosworth & Ford Escort respectively were both forced to retire with mechanical problems.

Top 6 Overall After Day 1
1 – Josh Moffett & Andy Hayes
2 – Meirion Evans & Jonathan Jackson

3 – Callum Devine & Noel O’Sullivan
4 – Robert Barrable & Gordon Noble

5 – Sam Moffett & Keith Moriarty
6 – Jonny Greer & Niall Burns

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