McNulty tightens his grip on title

 Eamon Dervan and Keith Gardiner in action.

Eamon Dervan and Keith Gardiner in action.

Tim McNulty tightened his grip on the Dunlop National Rally Championship when his domination continued in Galway at the weekend.

Despite incurring a time penalty of one minute and 15 seconds, Tim McNulty and Paul Kiely of Subaru WRC still emerged comfortable winners of the Mór Oil Galway Summer Rally, the seventh round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship.

Based in Loughrea, McNulty finished two minutes and 52 seconds ahead of the Subaru WRC of Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally. Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (Mitsubishi ) were third.

The Meath driver enjoyed a superb start, grabbing a 14-second lead from the stage near Tynagh where Barrett was his closest rival – with Niall Maguire a further six behind in third. Group N contender, Sam Moffett (Mitsubishi ) also made a bright opening to hold fourth in general classification and an 11-second lead over showroom rival, Shane Maguire (Subaru ).

McNulty completed the first loop with a lead of 27 seconds, and continued his domination in the second. However Niall Maguire’s rally ended on the fourth stage when his Subaru WRC stopped with transmission problems, while a puncture demoted Kevin Barrett to eighth place.

Although Sam Moffett (Mitsubishi ) moved into second position, he lost almost 30 seconds and second place, dropping to fourth, following an incident on SS 5 when his Mitsubishi got stuck in a hedge.

At the penultimate service, McNulty led Moffett - who had regained second - the margin between them was two minutes and 45 seconds with Stafford just two seconds behind in third.

However as the crews prepared to leave the service halt, McNulty’s car failed to start. Although his service crew worked anxiously to sort the problem, it was some five minutes before the car fired into action, and the result was a one minute and 15 second time penalty. With a lead reduced to one minute and 30 seconds, McNulty went on to post the three best times on the loop, emerging a comfortable winner to maintain his unbeaten run in the Dunlop series.

Barrett stalled on the start line of the penultimate test, but did enough to take second. Moffett was cautious through the final stage to take his first podium finish of the season. Stafford was the top two-wheel drive performer, fellow Darrian ace Washington James dropped to 12th after the rear suspension arm broke on the penultimate stage, he also had brake problems.

The Dunlop “Drive of the Day” award was won by Eamonn Dervan (Ford Escort ). Non-starters included Colm Murphy (Subaru ), his car developed engine troubles on the eve of the rally, and Pat Donegan (Escort ).

1. T McNulty/P Kiely (Subaru WRC )1h 18m 24s.

2. K Barrett/S Mullally (Subaru WRC ) 1h 21m 16s.

3. S Moffett/J O'Reilly (Mitsubishi ) 1h 21m 29s.

4. J Stafford/A Ryan (Darrian T90 ) 1h 21m 51s.

5. S Maguire/C Foley (Subaru ) 1h 22m 18s.

6. W Patterson/M McGarrity (Ford Escort ) 1h 22m 42s.

7. J McQuaid/S O’Connor (Ford Escort ) 1h 22m 57s.

8. J Moffett/D Lennon (Mitsubishi ) 1h 23m 31s.

9. T Flaherty/P Curley (Ford Escort ) 1h 23m 37s.

10. M. Quinn/G McEnery (Ford Escort ) 1h 23m 58s

Dunlop National Rally Championship (provisional positions after round seven ): 1. T McNulty 100pts; 2. S Moffett 83pts; 3 K. Barrett 76pts; 4. R Barrable 72pts; 5. L McCarthy 56pts; 6. S Maguire 53pts & 7. N Maguire 49pts.


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