Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy drivers Keelan Grogan and Ryan MacHugh enjoyed an epic two-day battle on the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally.
Only bare seconds separated the Peugeot 208 Rally4 of Grogan and his rival’s Ford Fiesta Rally4 over the 14 stages.
Overnight just 4.3 seconds separated the two crew, but second-placed Grogan and his co-driver Ayrton Sherlock stole a march on MacHugh and co-driver Declan Boyle over the opening Sunday stages.
Grogan and Sherlock held what looked like a comfortable 12-second lead with just two stages left to run but MacHugh and Boyle went on a charge and reduced the gap to just three seconds to ensure a final stage showdown.
But MacHugh and Boyle stole the show on the final test, they went nearly seven seconds faster than their rivals and won the category by just over four seconds
Defending Motorsport Ireland Forestry Rally Champion Ryan Caldwell lost a load of time on Saturday and ended up 31st overall in his Skoda Fabia R5.
Unfortunately, Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy members Cian Caldwell, Jack Brennan or Aoife Raftery never made the finish of the notoriously difficult Irish season-opener.
Text by Sean Moriarty