Breen wins Willie Loughman, as Jennings extends Valvoline Lead

Friday, 16 March 2012 18:20


Round two of the Valvoline Forest Championship witnessed a professional and breenforestdominant drive by Craig Breen on the Wm Loughman rally, hosted by the Carrick-on-Suir MC. on Saturday March 3rd

Based in Carrick-on-Suir, the Loughman rally consisted of two loops of three stages, the first loop on the afternoon with the repeat visits under the cover of darkness in the evening. Stage one (and four) was a mammoth 25 km test in Gurteen near Kilsheelan.

Breen the current WRC Academy winner and leader of this year’s WRC S2000 Championship took time out of his international commitments to compete on his home rally. The Waterford man was at the wheel of his Fiesta S2000 and was partnered as usual by Gareth Roberts. The crew led from start to finish and they recorded fastest time on every stage.

Garry Jennings was runner up in his GpA Impreza which was no match for the latest technology of Breen’s Fiesta, but the Fermanagh driver takes consolation by claiming maximum Valvoline Championship points and extending his series lead. Jennings was second fastest on four stages and fifth on two, definitely best of the rest.

Third overall was claimed by Vincent McAree who was fortunate to survive a spin on the first stage and oil pressure issues on the fourth, and the  Monaghan driver was once again very quick in the dark. 

Colin Britton was very competitive on round one in Donegal and he continued in that vein of form last weekend. The Strabane driver would have finished third in Carrick but for incurring a 2 minute penalty whilst servicing a stricken clutch. Britton is now second in the Valvoline series.

Fifth overall and best 2WD was claimed by Kilkenny man Shay Power. The winner of the last years South East Stages Championship, he started off 2012 in great style with some very competitive stage times. Power had a trouble free event in his Escort Mk2.

Niall Henry was next up, just ahead of Stephen Wright who lost over 4 minutes on stage one but did recover to record some respectable stage times. The Newbliss driver slips to third in the Valvoline, albeit two points behind Britton.

Eighth was claimed by Ian Chadwick, and he was followed by Adrian Mc Elhinney who also won class three in the 206. The Donegal driver now leads the 2WD and class three section of the Valvoline.

Ian Downey had a great run in the Corsa to win class nine, the junior section. The Dubliner had an intense scrap with the Civic of Dean Raftery (for three stages) and he went on to finish tenth overall and now he leads class 9 in the championship and second in the 2WD section.

With 54 starters and 26 finishers Carrick was an attritional event. Early casualties included Ian Cochrane Enda McNulty and Ger Lucey Shane McGirr and Mark Murphy. The current Valvoline champion Owen Murphy suffered a puncture on stage 1 (losing a minute to Jennings) and the Corkman rallied back to fifth place only for the wheel nuts on his Evo9 to sheer on the last stage. The 2010 champ was no luckier, Pat O Connell was third on Stages one and two and a drive shaft issue delayed him on three. However on stage 4 the Tipp man lost his sump guard on his Evo9 which forced him onto the retirement list as well. Other drivers to succumb on stage 4 included the Escorts of  Adrian Hethrington, Seamus O’ Connell, Paul Fitzgerald and Mick Nevin.

Desi Henry finished the rally despite losing a mammoth 15 minutes in the Citroen DS3 due to spark plug problems. The Portglenone man was giving Citroen’s rally car its inaugural race in Irish forestry and if the Co.Antrim driver was  not been delayed on stage one he could have finished as high as fourth and first 2WD.Henry is in second place in the BRC as a result of his excellent second overall in the recent Sunseeker rally.

Top 15 positions of Carrick-on-Suir Rally Round 2 Valvoline Forest Championship

1 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts Ford Fiesta S2000

2 Garry Jennings/Dave Moynihan Subaru Impreza

3 Vincent McAree/JP McAree Mitsubishi EVO9

4 Colin Britton Arthur/Kierans Mitsubishi Evo9

5 Shay Power/Johnny Rafter Ford Escort Mk11

6 Niall Henry/John Rowan Subaru Impreza

7 Stephen Wright/Susanne Wright Mitsubishi Evo 6

8 Ian Chadwick/Stephen Quinn Subaru Impreza 

9 Adrian McElhinney/Shane Buckley Peugeot 206

10 Ian Downey/Sean Brunton Opel Corsa 

11 Mickey McGillin/Aaron Johnston Ford Escort Mk11

12 Jer Connors/Owen O'Neill Subaru Impreza 

13 Matt Shinnors/ Catherine Levis Ford Escort 

14 Ray Benskin Jnr/Nicky Hegarty Ford Escort Mk11

15 Paschal O Shea/Robbie Hennessy Ford Escort


Valvoline Championship positions after round 2:

·         G.Jennings 42, C.Britton 36, S.Wright 34, N.Henry 27, A.Mc Elhinney 22.

·         2WD A.McElhinney 36, I.Downey 33, A.Fanning 23, F.Kelly21, S.Power 21.

Next round of the Valvoline Forest Rally Championship will be the Moonraker Forest Rally: Sunday April 15th.