Devine clinches Rally of the Lakes win on dramatic decider

Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan won the Rally of the Lakes for the first time after an epic duel with Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble ended when the latter crashed out on Killarney’s final stage.

Fisher slid wide on a left hander, dropping off the road, and left stranded as his rivals flew past.

It was a tough ending to a scintillating battle that raged for most of the two-day rally. Devine had been the quicker of the two Volkswagen Polo R5 drivers on Sunday. Still, his string of stage wins was only enough to decrease Fisher’s 7.7-second advantage to 3.1 seconds before the Caragh Lake decider.

Devine had beaten Fisher by 0.2 seconds on Caragh Lake’s earlier running but he completed the final stage knowing victory was his after seeing Fisher’s stricken Polo off the road.

“We pushed hard today,” said an emotional Devine. “I think we were fastest on every stage but that’s not how we wanted to see the rally end.”

The County Derry driver’s reaction summed up the stage-end atmosphere as onlookers took in what was happening. Such was the pace of Devine and Fisher’s battle, runner-up Josh Moffett ended up over a minute off the rally lead despite ending Saturday’s action within touching distance.

2022’s in-form man was happy to see the Rally of the Lakes’ finish line after struggling to get into any sort of rhythm in Killarney. When Fisher and Devine edged ahead on Sunday morning’s early Moll’s Gap and Ballaghbeama tests, Moffett seemed to settle for third.

Another haul of runner-up points increases Moffett’s grasp on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship standings.

Jonny Greer and Niall Burns completed the podium on their first event together. It is Greer’s best Irish Tarmac Rally Championship result in the Citroen C3 Rally2 and another encouraging sign of its potential.

Meirion Evans and Daniel Cronin completed Killarney’s top five in another pair of popular Polos.

2022 Rally of the Lakes results

1 Callum Devine – Noel O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo R5), 1:39:54.6s
2 Josh Moffett – Andy Hayes (Hyundai i20 R5), +1:09.8

3 Jonny Greer – Niall Burns (Citroen C3 Rally2), +1:19.2
4 Meirion Evans – Jonathan Jackson (Polo R5), +1:47.4

5 Daniel Cronin – Shane Buckley (Polo R5), +2:10.6
6 Cathan McCourt – Liam Moynihan (Skoda Fabia Rally2), +2:57.6

ITRC standings after R4/7

1 Josh Moffett // 62 points
2 Callum Devine // 41 pts

3 Meirion Evans // 38
4 Alastair Fisher // 35

5 Daniel Cronin // 25
6 Jonny Greer // 22

Photos by David Harrigan