Class win for Scallans
The first of the eight rounds of the Triton National Rally Championship got under way with the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel Rally in wet and windy conditions near Borris-in-Ossory. Overnight heavy rain presented challenging conditions for the competitors to negotiate throughout all nine stages.
The overall winner was Donegal's Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) and his Derry co-drive,r Kevin Flanagan, who finished 38.7 seconds ahead of the Subaru WRC of Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy, with Niall Maguire and Enda Sherry (Subaru WRC) a further 25.4 seconds behind in third. Wexford was well represented with some great finishes in very difficult conditions.
A class win for Graham and Tom Scallan sees them now leading the new GrpR and Class 5 rankings in the Triton National Rally Championship. This was their first outing in their new Mitsubishi Evo X R4 and despite a few issues throughout the day, they were very happy with its handling and are looking forward to even greater performances in upcoming events.
Speaking afterwards, they commented: 'it's a very good car, it may not have figured in the overall results from this event, it was hard conditions and we had a few issues but we learned a lot'.
The best drive of the day by a Wexford crew had to be that of James Bradley and Maria Kehoe who finished second overall in the Juniors class in their Honda Civic. This was their first day out in a new car, and it was a great drive that would mark them out as contenders for a top spot before the year is out.
Tonya Fortune and Damian Lawlor took second in class 3 and felt they had a really good rally despite the difficult conditions. Tonya looks like she now has got the hang of the Honda Civic Type R. She managed to knock 29 seconds off her times on the second loop, and a further 71 seconds off on the third loop.
With this solid start to the championship, they hope to pick up the pace with another good run in the Midlands Rally at the end of March.
A great run by Tommy Kelly and Ger Foley saw them finish first in class 11F in their Honda Civic. Also in a Honda Civic, Graham Bradley and Gary Bradley finished in fifth position in class 2.
Brendan Furlong and Majella Wickham finished fifth in class 10 in their Peugeot 205. J.J. Furlong and Paul Furlong finished in eighth position in class 11R in their Talbot Sunbeam.