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Rally Academy’s McBride masters slippery Killarney Forestry Rally

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Kyle McBride showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals to score a start-to-finish victory in Class 2 of the Killarney Forestry Rally on Sunday.

The Donegal-based driver and his co-driver Liam McIntyre lead the Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series after an emphatic performance in what was just his second time driving a Peugeot 208 Rally4.

Heavy overnight rain meant the roads were much muckier than the previous two editions of the rally, but the event itself was run under a pleasant ray of spring sunshine.

McBride was fully in control all day, he was 9.1 seconds clear of fellow Donegal driver Dylan Eves/Ryan Farrell (Ford Fiesta Rally4) after the day’s six stages.

“It is a good steady run,” he said at the midday service in Castleisland, “I am here to learn the car.”

It was the second time in a row that McBride had won this class in Kerry, having done so last season in his previous Ford Fiesta.

Third-placed Craig Rahill suffered a puncture on the opening stage near Newmarket but held third throughout the event.

The Ford Fiesta Rally4 driver, co-driven as usual by Conor Smith, also stalled on the start line of stage one adding to his early rally woes, but held station all day to take the final podium sport.

Galway International class winner Ryan MacHugh, co-driven on this occasion by Karl Egan was making his maiden appearance on a gravel rally.

The Fiesta Rally4 driver said: “I am just keeping my nose clean,” on his way to fifth in the hotly contested class. McHugh, who had FIA European Rally Championship Rally3 frontrunner Jon Armstrong as part of his background team for the weekend, set fastest stage time on the sixth and final test.

Billy Coleman Award winner Jack Brennan admitted he was lacking confidence after his Galway International Rally crash as he and co-driver John McGrath brought their Peugeot 208 Rally4 home in fourth place.


A power-steering issue later in the day did not help the Kilkenny youngster’s cause.  

Tommy Moffett and Domhnall Lennon were on their first outing in the ex-Casey Jay Coleman Fiesta Rally4 and said they were “bedding themselves in gently.” They finished sixth, two places ahead of siblings Mossie and Megan Costello who had the distinct honour of being the first all-Kerry crew across the line in their home event.

The latter two crews, although not Rally Academy members, receive Motorsport Ireland support as a result of their performances in the Junior 1000 category in recent seasons.

Retirements included Keelan Grogan and Cian Caldwell. Next up for the Rally Academy crews is the Mayo Rally, which is based in Ballina, on March 3.  

Text by Sean Moriarty



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