McCourt wins championship after strong Cork showing
Cathan McCourt & Barry McNulty are the 2019 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Forest Rally champions after a strong performance on the two day CFF Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally. The Mallow based event was a championship double header as rounds 5 and 6. Scoring third place points on each day was enough to see McCourt take the title in his Ford Fiesta R5 with one round still remaining. Barry McKenna initially led the event and took top points for round five by leading overnight. Sam Moffett went on the attack on the second day to win the rally outright and take full points for Round 6. A brilliant drive from James Wilson saw the 2019 Billy Coleman Award winner take third overall on the event driving a Hyundai i20 R5 on gravel for the first time.
Michael Carbin currently holds second overall in the championship but can no longer catch McCourt, while Niall McCullagh in third place is seven points adrift of Carbin. Conor McCourt has moved into fourth overall ahead of David Crossen whose gearbox problems prevented him from competing on the sixth round. David Condell had a very successful weekend in Cork taking top 2WD points on both rounds and drawing level with Mickey Conlon in the battle for class 14. John Gordon holds a two-point advantage in Class 13 over Crossen with Gary Kiernan and James Lucey coming into the frame after both drivers scored good results in Cork. It was a disappointing weekend for Shane McGirr having retired on both days of the event.
In the junior classes, Shane Kenneally still leads by three points in class 16, but a non-finish on the second day in Cork leaves his advantage at just three points from Kieran Lynch. Brian Brady is on a great run of form and picked up maximum scores on both Cork rounds to lie in third place with Jason Murphy & Gareth Deazley completing the top five places. In class 16A Derek Mackarel made the move to an Opel Adam for Cork and was the convincing winner the first day, but lost a little bit of time on the second with a puncture and suspension problems. He still leads Kyle White by ten points with just one round remaining with Marty Gallagher a distant third place.
The M O’Brien sponsored J1000 championship reached its conclusion with Kyle McBride winning the series outright in his Toyota Aygo. It was an impressive year for McBride who scored points on all rounds including five maximum scores from six. Reece Pollock was the early leader after winning on the Carrick on Suir Forestry, but struggled to match McBride’s pace in subsequent rounds, but still managed to take the runner up spot. Casey Jay Coleman increased his pace as the season unfolded and his reward was third overall in what was overall a very competitive and successful category.