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Fastnet Rally (Skibbereen) - 24 Oct 04

Posted: October 26, 2004 2:21 PM - 10047 Hits

Final Round - 2004 Dunlop National Rally Championship
Final Round - 2004 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship

Harrison win Fastnet rally, as Maguire takes National Championship and Liam McCarthy wins Southern 4.
James O'Sullivan wins GpN

Photos: Seamus Counihan

Posted: October 26, 2004 2:21 PM


Monaghan’s Niall Maguire and his co-driver, Paul McLaughlin secured the 2004 Dunlop National Rally Championship on the Glandore based Marine Hotel Fastnet Rally, the tenth and final round of the series. It was a record breaking third title for Maguire.

The event, one of the most closely fought contests of the campaign resulted in a win for overseas crew, Jim Harrison/Harvey Bell, their Subaru WRC finished just five seconds ahead of the West Cork crew of Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy, also in a Subaru. Patrick Elliott/David Moynihan (Subaru WRC) were third, they finish second overall in the Dunlop series.
The Group N showroom category was won by James O’Sullivan/Rebecca Walsh (Mitsubishi) while Wesley Patterson/Bob Kelly (Ford Escort) won the two-wheel drive class.

Harrison posted the fastest time on the opening stage, Nowen Hill, where he was fifteen seconds ahead of local driver, Liam McCarthy also in a McKinstry hired Subaru WRC. Wexford’s, Noel Redmond (Subaru WRC) finished the stage in third and went on to blitz his rivals on the second stage, Mount Kid to move within three seconds of rally leader, Jim Harrison. Sean Gallagher slotted his Subaru into fourth from Dunlop contender, Patrick Elliott, who experienced gearbox difficulties. Meanwhile, series leader, Niall Maguire held tenth overall but on course to take the title.

Denis Cronin, in the Ray Breen Subaru WRC took a little time to adjust, he was sixth from Cahal Arthurs in a Skoda Octavia, who shared equal seventh with Group N leader, Alan Ring with fellow Group N rival, James O’Sullivan, who was ninth, just two seconds adrift. Maguire completed the top ten.

Out on the repeat of the two stages, Harrison’s Subaru developed some clutch slippage, nevertheless, he retained the lead and managed to extend the margin to seven seconds as Redmond had gear problems. Liam McCarthy was third some four seconds behind, he remarked that he was going to opt for a more open tread pattern tyre in the slipery conditions.
Sean Gallagher was trouble free in fourth but it was a different situation for Dunlop championship contender, Patrick Elliott, gearbox problems and no anti lag wasn’t helping his plight.

Meanwhile, Denis Cronin continued to acclimatise to his Subaru, he was sixth – some 24 seconds ahead of the Skoda Octavia of Cahal Arthurs. The top ten also featured Group N drivers, James O’Sullivan and Alan Ring, the former held an eleven second lead while Dunlop Championship leader, Niall Maguire reported he was taking things at a pace that would ensure championship success. Bob Fowden retired his Subaru with turbo problems.

Out on S.S. 5, Saivnose River, near Drinagh, Redmond took a two second lead courtesy of fastest time, Harrison and McCarthy – both with identical times, were second and third respectively. In Group N, James O’Sullivan survived a lurid moment to retain supremacy.
Redmond had a brief visit to the scenery on Stage six and it cost him the lead as Harrison arrived into the final service with a five second lead over McCarthy, who topped the time sheets for the stage. Redmond slipped to third. Gallagher, Cronin and Arthurs followed as Maguire slotted into seventh. O’Sullivan, extended his lead in the showroom category to 20 seconds while the top ten was rounded off by Barry Coleman (Subaru WRC)

Harrison gained six seconds on the penultimate stage but McCarthy dropped precious seconds when his Subaru slid into a drain. Redmond departed the fray when his Subaru slid off the road and that allowed Elliott move into third. On the final stage, McCarthy made a valiant effort but Harrison had enough of a cushion to take victory. It was the first time in the 22-year history of the rally that it was won by an overseas crew.
Gallagher, in fourth, recorded one of his best finishes of the season in a top six completed by Denis Cronin (Subaru) and Cahal Arthurs (Skoda).
Seventh placed Maguire was thrilled to have won the title, he held a steady pace throughout the day to secure the points.
In Group N, James O'Sullivan edged clear of Alan Ring over the final stages, the latter struggled with a broken gear linkage. They were eighth and ninth respectively in a top town completed by fellow Group n driver, Tadhg Linehan.

1 Jim Harrison/Harvey Bell (Impreza WRC) 78m 36s,
2 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Impreza WRC) 78m 41s,
3 Patrick Elliott/David Moynihan (Impreza WRC) 80m 16s,
4 Sean Gallagher/Enda Sherry (Impreza WRC) 80m 24s,
5 Denis Cronin/Helen O'Sullivan (Impreza WRC) 80m 49s,
6 Cathal Arthurs/Jakes Kelly (Octavia) 81m 40s,
7 Niall Maguire/Paul McLaughlin (Impreza WRC) 82m 01s,
8 James O’Sullivan/Rebecca Walsh (Lancer Evo Gp N) 82m 20s,
9 Alan Ring/Greg Shinnors (Impreza Gp N) 83m 31s,
10 Tadhg Linehan/John Kearney (Impreza Gp N) 84m 01s.
Class winners: Simon Kehoe/Veronica Culleton (Peugeot 106),
Enda Hallinan/Ollie Ward (Civic),
Patrick O’Sullivan/John O’Shea (Integra),
James O’Sullivan/Rebecca Walsh,
Emily O’Mahony/Donal Lennon (Puma),
Dominic Naughton/Liam O’Connor (Peugeot 106),
Sean Gallagher/Enda Sherry,
Stephen McGrath/Mark Bowens (Corsa),
Ken O’Neill/Conor O’Neill (Corsa),
Fintan Canty/Denis O’Mahony (Escort),
Wesley Daly/Liam Ahern (Escort),
Diarmuid Keohane/Pamela Delaney (Escort),
Willie McCarthy/Kevin O’Driscoll (Escort),
Wesley Patterson/Bob Kelly (Escort),
Conor Cavanagh/James Jordan (Escort Cosworth),
Robert Rohu/Vincent Coughlan (Escort).
Dunlop National Rally Championship (Positions after Round 10): 1. N. Maguire 145 Points; 2. P. Elliott 133 Points; 3. J. Harrison 131 Points; 4. C. Arthurs 109 points.

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