Garry Jennings stormed to victory on last weekend’s Galway rally to add it to his growing list of international victories. Remarkably it was a first win at the Connacht venue for the Kesh ace.
“I was third in before and then I was leading when I smashed, so it was good to get it over the line,” said Jennings on the win.
“I wanted to start off with the same pace I had in Ulster last year. The car was badly burned and I just wanted to drive it the same way and it seemed to work alright. I think we put in 400 man hours to get her ready, she was back to the bare shell and there wasn’t a wire in it. It had to be completely rebuilt, checked and double checked. To tell you the truth we were expecting something to go wrong, but it didn’t happen.”
Despite that victory Jennings won’t be receiving any championship points, with his Subara WRC ruled out of contention for the Irish Rally Tarmac competition
“I can’t win the championship, but I can win all the rallies,” said Jennings. “I enjoy doing the rallies and winning them and there’s good competition there. I’ve won the championship before so it doesn’t really matter to me, but it’s like going to watch horse racing and the fastest horse not winning the championship. But we’ll see what happens, if that’s the way it’s gone then that’s the way it’s gone.
One man who is very much in championship contention is Ballinamallard’s Alastair Fisher. He came home second and Jennings was delighted to see him hit the ground running.
“Alastair did very well straight out of the blocks,” said Jennings. “That’s great for him because he hadn’t done much the year before, but he was straight on the pace which was good.”
Jennings is still considering whether to travel south for the West Cork Rally, but the organising committee certainly seem keen to get him down to Munster.
“I hadn’t much interest in West Cork, but the rally was ringing me and couple of people were looking to see if I’d go. I might go down, but we’ll see what happens.”
Despite the conditions being horrible for most of the rally, Jennings and navigator Rory Kennedy stamped their authority on the event from the word go, holding a two minute lead overnight.
Alastair Fisher was also engaged in an intense battle for the top championship points in his newly acquired R5 Ford Fiesta, and had multiple British champion Keith Cronin swapping seconds and the lead over the opening day.
In the group N race Willie Mavitty and Andrew Browne where well positioned in second in their class, a position they maintained to the finish.
The modified category was won by Wesley Patterson and Johnny Baird with David Armstrong and Martin McGarrity winning their class and finishing seventh overall in the national.
Despite the ever changing weather conditions the Subaru Impreza of Jennings and Kennedy rolled over the finishers ramp victorious and it marked Jennings fifth Tarmac championship victory.
As the Jennings Subaru isn’t eligible for championship points the title race is now for drivers in the lower specification R5 category. And our own Alastair Fisher was right in the mix for top championship honours.
The Trillick driver who has been absent from competition for the last year, was fully back up to speed, and the tussle with Keith Cronin went right to the wire, With the Cork man taking maximum points and second overall in the rally, Fisher was only 16 seconds behind in third taking second place points and it sets the two drivers up for what promises to be a really interesting championship.
Sam Moffett took fourth place in his first drive in the new R5 Fiesta just marginally in front of Roy White’s WRC Fiesta, with Josh Moffett rounding out the top six in his R5 Fiesta.
The drivers resume the battle in West Cork on 12/13 March.