Mayo and District Motorsport Club member Aaron MacHale finished in a strong third overall on the Safety First Galway International Rally at the weekend. The Ford Focus WRC driver overcame a puncture early in the event to overhaul the Mitsubishi of Alistair Fisher for the final podium position on the last stage.
Making it a double celebration for the MacHale family on the opening round of the Citroen Tarmac Rally Championship, Aaron's brother Gareth clinched overall victory after a trouble-free event in his Focus WRC. He adds his name to the illustrious list of Galway International Rally winners, including his father Austin who won the event on no fewer than five occasions. Young Craig Breen from Kilkenny put in an impressive performance to take second overall in the brand new Ford Fiesta S2000.
Another Mayo competitor was also tasting champagne at the rally finish. Shane Buckley from Ballyhaunis finished 17th overall, but more importantly took third position in the prestigious Citroen Racing Trophy in his Citroen C2 R2, a result made all the more impressive by the fact that both competitors ahead of him were using more powerful C2 R2 Max cars. Competing in the national section of the rally, David Carney from Aughagower brought his C2 R2 Max home safely in 22nd overall. In the Fiesta Sport Trophy section, Carrowmore-Lacken's Paul McGee co-drove Monaghan's Stephen Wright to first in the category and 19th in the overall event.
Also having good rallies were John McGeehan from Williamstown and Seamus Coffey from Claremorris who brought their Subaru home in 23rd place in the National section, while 2010 Mayo and District Motorsport Club young driver of the year Justin Ryan from Headford, ably navigated by dad John Paul, was delighted to finish his first tarmac rally in eighth place in the Junior section of the event. Not so fortunate were James Culliney from Bekan and co-driver Michael Loughney from Killala who set fastest time in class 12 on stage one, but were forced to retire on the following stage after hitting a telegraph pole following brake failure.