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Creighton helps Ford to a podium lock-out in West Cork

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy crew William Creighton and Liam Regan helped Ford score an impressive one-two-three result on the West Cork Rally over St Patrick’s weekend.

Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin took a dominant victory on the three-day rally - round two of the 2024 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

They finished the event with a winning margin of 57.2 seconds, ahead of Matt Edwards and David Moynihan in second, who in turn had 29.2 seconds to spare over third-placed Creighton and Regan.

All three were driving Ford Fiesta Rally2 cars.

It was a remarkable result for the Blue Oval but more importantly, sets Creighton and Regan up nicely ahead of a busy international schedule over the coming weeks.

They are competing in the opening round of the British Rally Championship next weekend and are preparing for their second World Rally Championship event of the year  – Rally Croatia – next month.

The unpredictable West Cork weather created road conditions that were very similar to those experienced in Croatia in recent years.

2023 Junior World Rally Champions, Creighton and Regan, clicked with their Fiesta on Saturday’s wet stages and felt comfortable enough to battle with Irish Tarmac’s usual suspects.

Creighton set three fastest times over the weekend and will take plenty of confidence into next weekend’s British Rally Championship opener.

“I am very thankful to get all the support from the Academy that helps us compete internationally,” said Creighton at the event finish in Clonakilty town centre on Sunday evening. The  Moira-based driver was supported by World Rally Championship team M-Sport and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy in West Cork.  

“But it is nice to able to come home and compete on events like West Cork too,”

As ever, the bulk of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy crews were competing in class RC4 for Rally4 cars.

Academy drivers made up five of this 15-strong class and three of them have registered for the new-for-2024 Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup.

Ryan MacHugh and Declan Boyle were the class acts and showed all their rivals a clean pair of heels over the challenging three-day event.

The young Donegal driver is setting a high benchmark after two ITRC victories so far this year. MacHugh set six fastest times over the weekend and his Ford Fiesta Rally4 was consistently on the pace throughout the challenging conditions.

Such was their pace, they finished 14th overall and second two-wheel drive car, a remarkable result in their Ford Fiesta Rally4. 

This was their second international victory of the year and follows on success in the Galway International Rally in February. 

Cian Caldwell and Liam Egan put their recent run of bad luck behind them as they finished second in the Stellantis Cup category and third in the Rally4 class.

“One of the more challenging weekends I have ever had rallying,” said the County Meath man. “Friday with the night stages, and the treacherous wet conditions on Saturday where we struggled to find confidence.”

Keelan Grogan and co-driver Ayrton Sherlock were forced to complete the rally under Super Rally rules after an electrical problem in their Peugeot 208 Rally4 on Saturday caused the car to cut out. The issue continued through Sunday.

Billy Coleman Award finalist Craig Rahill and co-driver Conor Smith were forced to retire their Ford Fiesta Rally4 due to a burst water hose, and a similar issue sidelined Kyle McBride and Darragh Mullen’s Peugeot 208.

Current Triton Showers National Junior Champion Jack McKenna was on his maiden outing in a newly acquired Ford Fiesta R5.

He adapted well to his new mount through Friday’s nighttime loop. However, when the torrential rain arrived on Saturday, he was unable to keep the car’s windscreen from misting up. In the interest of safety and not wanting to risk damaging his car he elected to retire for the day and resume the rally on Sunday morning under Super Rally rules.

“The weather was that bad that there nothing  extra to be learned on Saturday,” he said. “I am still learning the car and did not want to risk an unnecessary accident.”

Text by Sean Moriarty



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