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Moffet has a day to remember and forget in triple title bid

 

By Sammy Hamill ·

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Winner: Josh Moffet in the Fiesta R5

What a rollercoaster weekend for Josh Moffett in his bid to win all three major Irish rally championships in a single season.

He swept to a convincing win on the Lakeland Rally in Fermanagh, crossing the finish line of the last stage with a 41-second lead over Desi Henry. But on the road trip back to the final control in Enniskillen, his R5 Ford Fiesta cut out.

Then the engine fired up again before cutting out for good.

"We don't know what was wrong," said Moffett. "We got through the final stage without any trouble but about halfway through the road section, the car just stopped. Then it went, and then it stopped again."

Moffett, who is all but assured of winning the premier Irish Tarmac championship, and navigator Stephen Thornton resorted to pushing the car to the final control and were four minutes late, incurring 40 seconds in road penalties. Their 41-second advantage over Henry had been reduced to just one second.

Even then their ordeal wasn't over. Organisers received a protest suggesting Moffett had received illegal 'outside assistance' to get to the final time control. After hours of deliberation, the rally stewards rejected the protest, confirming Moffett and Thornton as the winners and the new leaders of the Irish Forestry Championship.

With the win secured, Moffett headed for Sligo and round five of the Irish National tarmac series, intent on closing the gap to leader Declan Boyle.

Having swapped his R5 Fiesta for a WRC version, he led through the first five stages but then went off the road on stage six, handing the lead to Boyle in his WRC Fiesta. Astonishingly, with a 56 second lead, Boyle crashed two stages later and although he made it to the end of the stage still in front, the Fiesta was too badly damaged to continue, throwing Moffett a championship lifeline.

It was the other Moffett, Sam, who made it back to back Sligo wins in an R5 Fiesta with Joe McGonigle second in his WRC Mini.

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Winner: Josh Moffet in the Fiesta R5