Frank Lenehan wins inaugural maiden Targa Rally in South Down

Doengal's Declan and Brian Boyle
Doengal's Declan and Brian Boyle

The inaugural RMC Targa Rally was won by Frank Lenehan and his navigator Olwen Blair.

The pair narrowly held off a strong challenge from the Woodside family of Robert jnr and Robert snr after 16 driving tests in the South Down area.

Lenehan emerged the winner by a margin of just three seconds ahead of the Mazda MX5 of Robert Woodside Jr who in turn completed the route seven seconds ahead of Robert Sr.

The rally, which attracted support from local retailers Around A Pound and Banbridge District Council, saw crews show off their driving skills on a route which snaked from Newry, through the outskirts of Rathfriland to Ballyroney and Katesbridge and back.

Forty cars made the start of the event from the Sheepbridge Inn just outside Newry at 10am on Saturday morning and crews got right into action with their first test in Around A Pound’s yard, a short distance from the start.

The Defending Dunlop National Rally champions Declan and Brian Boyle (Subaru WRC) took a start to finish victory in the Carlton Shearwater Hotel Galway Summer Rally, round six of the series to maintain their back to back title aspirations, beating Welsh ace Hugh Hunter and his co-driver Andy Marchbank by 57.6 seconds.

At the conclusion of the nine stage event they were 57.6 seconds in front of the Subaru WRC of Welsh ace Hugh Hunter and his co-driver Andy Marchbank.

Roy White (MG ZR) and his co-driver James O’Brien were third followed by Welsh driver Steve Wood (Subaru WRC) and his co-driver Keith Moriarty.

All four drivers along with Tyrone’s Paddy McVeigh (Subaru WRC), who failed to finish remain in the title hunt for the Vard Memorial Trophy, the two remaining rounds are the Clare Rally and the Donegal Harvest Rally.

Meanwhile, the Group N category was won by Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and John Rowan and PJ O’Dowd and John Young (Talbot Sunbeam) took the laurels in the Historic section.

The Dunlop Drive of the Day was won by Sean Liston and Katrina Walsh-Liston (BMW E30), who were 11th overall after a misfire on the seventh stage.