Johnny O’Connor and Killarney Co-Driver Gerard Conway brought their RX Racing supported Citroen C2R2 to the finish in Tralee Sunday afternoon, they were both happy and disappointed with their third position.
After the opening Loop they lay 3rd overall, 4 seconds off Christopher Snow and 14 seconds off Junior Rally leader Bernard Foley. John commented in service “Our first run was OK we can shave at least 10 seconds off our time, we just need to find a good rhythm.”
On the repeat of the stages the lads upped the tempo and found their rhythm, to take 16 seconds off their opening time halving the gap between them and 1st! With stage five cancelled it was all to play for between John, Christopher and Bernard with them all setting times well inside the top 20 of the more powerful main field rally, and there was now just 6 seconds separating the top 3 going into the last 2 stages!!
The Limerick/Kerry pairing were going out on maximum attack , meaning it was going to be a nerve racking wait for the O’Connor Motorsport service crew!
However it was not to be, when approaching a slow sequence of corners the little Citroën stepped out of line and got beached on a bank as co-driver Gerard explained, “it was a second gear bend into a first gear corner and the car went slightly straight on, it was a slow impact but there was a small bank there, I taught that was our rally over but just as I got out Johnny got the car reversed off the bank, so we just continued slowly to the end of the stage”.
In total the off road excursion cost the pair 30seconds and with it any chance of challenging for victory. After the rally Johnny said, “Before I go any further I want to thank John and Niall of the US Wholesalers Rally Team they kindly lent us 2 back shocks, as we wouldn’t have started the event because our own shocks were sent away to be rebuilt but became stranded in Holyhead due to a logistics problem. It was a disappointing way to end the rally but all credit to Bernard and Christopher they pushed us hard in the afternoon”
The next event for O’Connor Motorsport is next weekend’s Circuit of Ireland Rally where Kevin & Shane contest the second round of the Citroën Racing Trophy.