John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally win caps off great season for Elfyn Evans
Welsh driver Elfyn Evans won the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally to become the 2016 MSA British Rally Champion.
A little piece of motoring history was made on the Ulster as 20 years earlier Elfyn’s father Gwyndaf was the winner.
What a season: four wins from six in the UK’s premier rallying championship for Evans and his Ford Fiesta R5.
Heavy rain on the two-day event made for greasy and demanding conditions, which created difficult tyre choices, as teams attempted to predict the conditions for every stage hoping for the smallest of advantages over their rivals.
Evans enjoyed an opening day battle with multi British Rally Champion Keith Cronin and Alastair Fisher.
Evans, like so many others, struggled with tyre choice on day one but still got the best from his Fiesta to chalk up a 4.5 second lead over Cronin’s Citroen overnight.
On the final day Evans showed his class as he pulled out a 1:07.6 second lead over Fisher at the finish, to take the 2016 Ulster Rally spoils and with it the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship title.
Fisher impressed throughout the event, but on day one rear suspension damage and a puncture with his Fiesta R5 left him with quite a challenge.
However, he managed to pull himself back up from fifth place to second overall to maintain his lead of the 2016 Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Championship and he goes into the final round in Cork just two points ahead of Keith Cronin.
A great drive from local driver Jonny Greer in his Citroen DS3 R5 secured him third place overall.
He put in a steady performance and he pulled out the stops in the last few stages when he came under pressure from Cronin.
Cronin looked good for second place at the end of the penultimate loop of stages but a gearbox change at the last service halt earned him a time penalty which knocked him back to fifth overall.
Scot David Bogie brought his Skoda Fabia home in fourth and local driver Marty McCormack in a similar car rounded off the top six,
Road racer and 13 times TT winner Michael Dunlop did himself proud on four wheels, winning his class and finishing third overall in the National Rally driving a Mk11 Ford Escort.
Rally sponsor, John Mulholland in his Skoda Fabia S2000 also made steady progress although he dropped back from 22 nd after a puncture on the third last stage to finish 49 th overall.
Garry Jennings, Sam Moffett and Stephen Wright all suffered mechanical issues which forced them out on the second day.