McKenna draws first blood in Cork double header
Barry McKenna & Andy Hayes made a successful return to the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Forest Rally Championship when they took top points on day one of the CFF Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally. At the end of the opening days six stages (which made up round 5 of the Valvoline series), McKenna was 3.5 seconds ahead of Sam Moffett, another making a forestry return. McKenna fought off a strong challenge from Moffett, both in Fiesta R5s, where the margin was between them was never more than eight seconds. James Wilson making his gravel R5 debut in a Hyundai i20 R5 finished the day in third place, a thoroughly impressive drive by the 2018 Billy Coleman Award winner from Armagh. Fourth place was enough to move Cathan McCourt into the championship lead, three points ahead of Michael Carbin and it’s all very much to play for on today’s eight stages which is the sixth and penultimate round of the championship.
There were some stirring drives also in the 2WD category with David Condell finishing the day just 0.5 seconds ahead of David Crossen who lost some time on the final test, while Gary Kiernan took third. Unfortunately Crossen was unable to start the second day so misses the sixth round. Shane McGirr & Michael Conlon were forced out on the opening day but are back in action for today’s eight stages. Derek Mackarel made the switch to an Opel Adam for Cork and took top junior points despite it being his first time in the car.
The M.O’Brien sponsored J1000 championship saw Kyle McBride make it four wins in a row with Reece Pollock giving him a very stern test, finishing just over thirty seconds behind. Ioan Lloyd from Wales took third place after an impressive first day on Irish gravel. Mossie Costello and Marcus McElwee completed the top five places.