The resumption of the Dunlop National Rally Championship at the Clonmel-based Sepam Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally provided high drama as five of the top ten starters all failed to finish.
The rally, round five of the Dunlop series was won by Cork’s Darragh O’Riordan and his Derry co-driver, Tony McDaid (Ford Fiesta WRC), who finished 44.4 seconds in front of the Darrian T90 of Wexford’s James Stafford/Amy Ryan.
British driver Steve Wood and his Limerick co-driver Keith Moriarty (Subaru WRC) were third – a minute and 17.4 seconds further behind to move into the lead of the Dunlop series.
Although reigning Dunlop champion Declan Boyle (Subaru WRC) led after the opening stage, he retired on the second stage with transmission failure.
Fellow Donegal driver Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) took up the lead role - but it lasted only one stage as he bowed out with overheating issues after the finish of the third stage.
By then, pre-event series leader Paddy McVeigh (Subaru WRC) had also retired with gear selection issues. Michael O’Brien crashed his Ford Focus WRC on the opening stage.
Meanwhile, O’Riordan moved into the lead and went on to claim the spoils ahead of Stafford with Wood third. Kevin Barrett (Subaru WRC) was fourth. Hugh Hunter (Subaru WRC) withdrew after S.S. 6 and Alan Ring (Subaru WRC) crashed out on S.S. 7.