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Hone Claims First Win in Killarney

Through rain, mist and an afternoon of scorching sunshine, and being chased by one of the most impressive and talented fields in quite a number of years on a loose-surface event, Jordan Hone & Paul Hone delivered a cool and calm masterclass to claim a very first rally victory on the Killarney Forest Rally and leave with maximum points in the hunt for the Sligo Pallets Forest Rally Championship title.


With ninety cars starting the event, the buzz was real in the build up, but a lot of crews will have been surprised to wake up to misty rain for the opening loop on what was forecast to be a drying affair, but it matter little to the Hone’s as they finished the 12.6km opening stage fastest in their Ford Fiesta R5.


Andrew Purcell & Liam Brennan would go quickest on the middle stage of the loop, but the Hones would again claim a stage win to return to mid-day service with a lead, but it was fine margain stuff as they only had 1.7 seconds to spare over Vivian Hamill & Gary Nolan and the similar VW Polo GTi of Purcell & Brennan in third.


In the afternoon though Hone, guided by his father Paul on the notes, upped the pace again going fastest on Stages 4 and 6, returning to Castleisland Mart with an 11.2 second gap to Vivian Hamill & Gary Nolan, with third going to a rather surprised Niall McGonigle & Caolan McKenna who leave the Killarney Forest Rally with a stage win and podium finish on what had been intended as a shakedown for next weekend Fivemiletown event.


In the 2WD battle, it was a tricky day with many of the Sligo Pallets Forest Rally Championship frontrunners reporting issues throughout the day, although for the late entrant pair of Shane McGirr & Denver Rafferty it was a successful trip south for the Lada pair as they claimed a well deserved victory. Struggling to manage fuel and tyre wear on the opening loop, the unique machine was singing in the afternoon sunshine to come home 10.4 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.


Behind McGirr was back-to-back 2WD Forest Champion Micky Conlon & James McEneaney, the MC Blinds Ford Escort looking worse for wear following a dramatic meeting with a chicane, while it would be Hugh McQuaid & Declan Casey who would claim the final podium spot and set up  an exciting Championship battle between the trio looking forward to the rest of the season.


For Ian McCarthy & Patrick O’Sullivan, an enjoyable day in their Honda Civic would be rewarded with victory in Class 11F, and they would also claim the Sligo Pallets Drive of the Day for their performance on Stage 4, with championship sponsor Andrew Mullen on hand to present the pair with their prize.


In a bumper J1000 battle, the Killarney event would be dominated by Danny Brady & Darren O’Brien in their newly acquired VW Up, leading the event from start to finish. They would finish the event 8.2 seconds ahead of Tommy Cronin & Derek Butler, with Ryan Caldwell & his father Darren Caldwell finishing third. Although not featuring in the battle at the front due to an off on the opener, we must mention the performance of Oisin McShane & Fabian McShane, the pair recording four fastest stage times on what was their very first event!


The Sligo Pallets Forest Rally Championship returns on April 14th with the Carrick-on-Suir Willie Loughman Forest Rally.

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