The second round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Modified Championship, the Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally, saw Declan Gallagher & Ryan Moore from Donegal take maximum points for the second event in a row. Despite not having competed on the event before Gallagher put in a storming performance over the tough two day event to finish up in a sensational third place overall and top registered driver. It was an extremely successful championship debut for the West Cork Rally which is promoted by Cork Motor Club. This was stated by Championship Manager Gerard Seaman who said that “Cork Motor Club can hold their heads high for running such a superb event, and the West Cork Rally was an excellent addition to the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Modified Championship”.
The championship got a boost before the start with the registrations of James Stafford, Frank Kelly and Phil Collins to add to an already strong line-up, and in the early stages it was Stafford who led the way, even taking the fight to the World Rally Cars at the head of the competitive entry. Gallagher and Pat Donegan were next up, but it all went wrong for the latter on the 4th stage (Ring 2) and he crashed out of the event. Gallagher survived a scare on this corner and towards the end of the day Frank Kelly closed in as the competition grew even more intense. Phil Collins & Wesley Patterson were also in close attendance with only seconds separating these two as the first day drew to a close.
There was drama on the first stage on Sunday (Ardfield 1) when James Stafford’s Darrian ground to a halt with broken transmission, leaving Gallagher with the modified lead. Kelly was still putting pressure on, but an overshoot and then a more terminal encounter with a chicane on the tenth stage (Sams Cross 1) saw his challenge end in retirement. Martin Donnelly was another retirement on this loop when he crashed out on Glandore having held a top ten position.
There were no mistakes made by Gallagher & Moore though on their way to a superb third overall and top Modified Championship crew in their Starlet, while next up were Phil Collins and Wesley Patterson in their Escorts after a titanic battle all weekend. Gary Kiernan from Cavan took an excellent seventh overall on his first attempt at the West Cork Rally, while local crew Cal McCarthy & Eamon Dullea put almost a year of mechanical heartbreak behind them with an excellent 8th overall in their Civic.
The action now switches to the third round, the Circuit of Ireland Rally at Easter where it’s all to play for as the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Modified Championship goes from strength to strength. Remember you can keep up to date with all the happenings on our website, www.irishtarmac.com, Facebook (Irish Tarmac Championship), Twitter (@irishtarmactroa) and our App for both iOS and Android (Irish Tarmac Championship).
Top 5 drivers overall after 2 rounds
1 – Declan Gallagher 30
2 – Wesley Patterson 22
3 – Mark Nangle 14
4 – Phil Collins 12
5 – Martin Donnelly 10
TROA Press & Media Officer
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