Carrick on Suir winner James Wilson
The Armagh-Monaghan pairing of James Wilson and Arthur Kierans in their Hyundai i20 R5 led from start to finish to take a 42 second victory in the Carrick-on-Suir Forestry Rally, the opening round of the Valvoline National Championship.
Wilson, the 2018 Billy Coleman Award winner who is supported by the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy for a second year, was well clear of runner up Mickey Carbin’s Lancer Evo at the end of the day, with Liam Ryan bringing his Fiesta home in third position, another 39 seconds back.
Cavan’s Gary Kiernan was best of the two wheel drive contenders, taking fifth overall in his Escort.
Ireland’s World Rally Championship crew, Craig Breen and Paul Nagle, finished seventh in the Swedish round of the series in their works Hyundai, one place behind Belgian team-mate Thierry Neuville after three days of stages which had to be curtailed because of the unusually mild weather conditions.
Normally, Rally Sweden is run on snow covered roads, but this year, higher temperatures than usual left the stages in muddy and slippery condition.
Breen said afterwards: “It has been a difficult weekend and, personally, I am not happy with my result. I have enjoyed being back in a WRC car immensely, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hard not to be up there fighting for podiums and wins. The weather and road order have been against us and it’s a pity we’ve had short loops. That’s made it hard to make much of an impression. Today we’ve seen completely different conditions again, with a lot of standing water, so there were no heroics; the priority was to bring the car home, which we did, and to support the team as best we could.”
For fifteen of the sixteen selectives, Karl O’Donoghue and Evin Hughes led the ALMC Endurance Trial in north Co Dublin and Meath, but a broken driveshaft on the final test at Luttrellstown forced them to limp to the finish in second place, handing top place to Peter Barrable for the second year in succession.