Local driver overcomes more setbacks after a challenging final day in the IRC Circuit of Ireland.
Day two of the IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally dawned with quiet concern for Marty McCormack and David Moynihan. A collision with a small wall on the Friday night stages saw the rear suspension of their Citroen DS3 sustain some damage and the first service of the morning would tell if they could rectify the issue.
The team Sainteloc mechanics replaced the rear axle and the boys headed out to the stages still in the lead of the 2WD race. Another changeable days weather saw the choice for tyres left until the final moment in the hope of the best information about stage condition. The crews headed out onto the first loop of stages where changeable weather had left damp patches on the roads. Marty exited the first stage of the morning noting a mechanical issue as he attempted to downshift the gearbox jammed in neutral. This in turn caused Marty to spin the car in the stage and loose time, however he struggled through the first loop attempting roadside repairs on the way to special stage 8 but to no avail.
Marty and David retained the 2WD lead going into service as Marty’s mechanics effected a repair on the gearbox but as the team began the days second loop they reported that the problem had not yet been solved. The boys pushed on to set consistently fast times despite their issues, including suffering a puncture, which allowed the second placed 2WD crew to close the gap.
The drama unfolded at the final service as a visibly nervous Marty entered a 30 minute service having lost all gears above third, with 4 stages still to complete and hopes of his maiden IRC 2WD victory slipping form his grasp and a full gearbox change taking no less than 45 minutes. The team instructed their service crew to attempt the replacement and so they went to work completing the procedure in 23 minutes allowing Marty to continue on time! From there it was 2 packed spectator stages followed by 2 of the most testing stages of the rally. Marty and David drove a professional drive over the tricky penultimate stage taking 3 seconds from their rivals despite slippery conditions and very deceptive road surfaces.
The final Redrock stage was over 25km of daunting tarmac and the crew went in to set as good a time as they dare to seal the win. As they arrived at the final time control they had to await the time of their rival to see if they had sealed the victory, and seal it they had with a 2WD winning margin of over 20 seconds.
Both Marty and David were keen to thank their team and sponsors for all of their support over their event. Marty commented that they will now try to secure the budget to continue with the IRC in Corsica.