Moffett powers to first Galway Rally win ahead of Evans

Josh Moffett sealed his first ever Galway International Rally win with a perfect performance on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship’s opening round of 2022.

Moffett and co-driver Andy Hayes led the event since the rally’s second stage but were kept on their toes throughout by the Volkswagen Polo R5 crew of Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson.

Both crews showcased their talent to speed through a tough itinerary of drenched Galway roads.

16.7 seconds was Moffett’s advantage heading into Galway Rally’s final stage but Evans had been the quicker of the two on Black Road’s previous runs.

In the end, Moffett and Hayes’ Hyundai arrived at the final stop-control with a rally-winning margin of 14.1 seconds.

“We are over the moon,” said Moffett. “It has been a tough weekend so to get that result with the field of competitors behind us is unbelievable.

“It is a great start to the year and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Both Moffett and Evans had some worrying moments on the final pass of Galway’s notorious Black Road test.

A misted windscreen had hindered the Monaghan driver on the 20-kilometre stage while Evans hit a wall with the front corner of his Polo. The Welshman lived to tell the tale, set the fastest time on the stage, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul his ITRC rival.

“We probably would have got a bit more off Josh on the last one,” explained Evans. “But it wouldn’t have been enough anyway.”

“I made a mistake at the location where I clipped a rock on the inside of a corner this morning.

“I tried to avoid it this time but I went off-line, got out onto the dirt, and hit the wall quite hard. I feel really lucky.

“I would have ripped your arm off for second before this weekend. Okay, when you get close to the win, it would have been nice to get it but I think now we have established ourselves as guys who can fight here consistently.”

Callum Devine completed Galway’s top three places, a further 14 seconds behind Evans. The Ford Fiesta Rally2 driver struggled to get into a rhythm on Sunday’s puddle-filled stages and was unable to threaten the top two after ending Saturday so well.

Garry Jennings finished fourth in his right-hand-drive Fiesta R5, a promising performance for Fermanagh’s 2013 Irish Tarmac Champion.

Fourth was held by Alastair Fisher on Saturday night but a difficult opening loop on Sunday dropped him down the field. The 2020 Galway Rally winner had steam coming over his windscreen on Sunday’s first stage but worse was to come soon after.

Fisher locked up his Polo R5 at a very slippery square right junction. With no escape route he slid the Polo sideways into a solid bank, puncturing a tyre which was then changed one kilometre down the road. His hopes of a Galway podium were gone.

Cathan McCourt’s impressive drive was halted by a double puncture on Stage 13 and dropped behind Jennings.

Daniel Cronin, David Kelly, Enda O’Brien, and Keith Lyons completed the top ten behind.

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Photos by David Harrigan

2022 Galway International Rally results

1 Josh Moffett – Andy Hayes (Hyundai i20 R5) // 1:46:40.8s
2 Meirion Evans – Jonathan Jackson (Volkswagen Polo R5) // +14.1s

3 Callum Devine – Brian Hoy (Ford Fiesta Rally2) // +28.7
4 Cathan McCourt – Liam Moynihan (Fiesta Rally2) // +3:08.0

5 Daniel Cronin – Shane Buckley (Polo R5) // +3:48.4
6 Alastair Fisher – Gordon Noble (Polo R5) // +4:40.5

7 David Kelly – Dean O’Sullivan (Fiesta R5) // +5:07.5
8 Enda O’Brien – John Butler (Polo R5) // +6:05.9

9 Paul Barrett – Darragh Kelly (Fiesta R5) // 7:03.2
10 Keith Lyons – JJ Cremin (Fiesta R5) // +7:07.9

Adam Hall

Brought up in the Irish countryside, Adam was never far away from the world of rallying. From following local events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster Rally, Adam now puts the stories from stages all around the world into words through his website Rally Insight.

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