On his first rally for 21 months, Robert Barrable finished fifth overall and third in the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship standings on the 2017 Corrib Oil Galway International Rally (4-5 February), driving a Michael Barrable Motors supported Ford Fiesta R5.
The talented 29-year old Dublin driver has spent much of the last two years racing in the UK – driving a Ginetta G55 GT4 in last year’s British GT Championship and a Golf GTI in the 2015 Volkswagen Racing Cup Championship. Barrable’s last rally was the Killarney Rally of the Lakes in May 2015, where he finished second overall in a Subaru WRC S14 and won the Bertie Fisher Cup for setting the fastest time over Moll’s Gap.
His long absence from the special stages didn’t prevent Barrable, a former Billy Coleman Award winner and Tunnock’s World Rally Team pilot, return to the Irish rally lanes in some style last weekend. Co-driven by Damien Connolly, Barrable never put a foot wrong over the 15 narrow and slippery Galway stages to score a memorable comeback result in a Dom Buckley Motorsport-run Fiesta R5.
Barrable will contest round two of the Irish Tarmac Championship, the West Cork Rally (18-19 March).
Barrable said: “It felt great to be back in a rally car on a round of the Irish Tarmac Championship after such a long time away. Galway is a rally I’m fairly familiar with, but it’s a tough event to do as a comeback rally as it’s one of the most difficult events in the series. It’s always very slippery and it’s very easy to make a mistake, so on our first rally back we just concentrated on keeping the car on the road and not making any mistakes. That tactic paid off, because when others picked up punctures and hit problems, we were able to move up the leaderboard without ever pushing too hard or taking any risks – and in the end we finished the event without any problems and were rewarded with a very good result.
“We’re working hard to secure a full Irish rally programme for 2017, but we’re definitely going to contest the next round of the Tarmac Championship, the West Cork Rally. We’ll see how things go after that.”
2017 Galway International Rally – top 10 finishers
1. Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza WRC)….1hr 40mins 34.7secs
2. Roy White/James O’Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC)….+59.7s
3. Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (Ford Fiesta R5)….+1m08.0s
4. Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R5)….+1m38.7s
5. Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly (Ford Fiesta R5)….+3m48.1s
6. Stephen Wright/Arthur Kierans (Ford Fiesta)….+4m02.7s
7. Josh Moffett/James Fulton (Ford Fiesta)….+4m45.0s
8. Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (ŠKODA Fabia R5)….+4m46.6s
9. Stephen McCann/Damien Fleming (Ford Fiesta)….+7m30.0s
10 Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane (ŠKODA Fabia R5)….+10m41.0s
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