In an almost all Irish clean sweep on the Pirelli International Rally, round two of the British Rally Championship's C2R2 Cup, the Northern Irish had a look in as well in the form of Marty McCormack.
He and co-driver Phil Clarke took victory in the one make series and with it top Citroen Racing Trophy UK prize money.
The picture looked like it may be different on the very first stage of the tough event though, as Welsh crew Jason Pritchard and Andrew Edwards set about the Glen Dhu stage with some vigour, taking a lead of nearly six seconds from McCormack.
Mark Gamble and Steve Link occupied the third and final spot, since Andrew Hockridge had withdrawn his entry at the last minute. Parts supply was the difficulty after an initial picking error was followed by a delay from the courier. The suspension components that were required to properly repair his car after a road traffic accident before round one, eventually arrived two days late. But the Welshman had understandably decided to save costs and the whole crew sat out the event at home.
Despite Gamble's pace at the tail end of the trio, he announced himself happy with the progress, himself running with revised suspension after struggling in Wales. “We're trying to get used to car now the suspension is sorted and setting times closer to Max kits of Pritchard and McCormack so I'm quite pleased.”
His position was improved on the second stage of the rally when Pritchard spun and fell into one of Kielder's infamous ditches. Despite the efforts of a handful of enthusiastic spectators, the car stayed stubbornly in the ditch, eventually regaining the track over half an hour later. Shortly after re-starting, another drama befell the youngster when the gear lever snapped, leaving him stuck in gear.
Saturday morning dawned brightly, but with the wind dropping overnight, dust was a problem on the remaining ten stages of the event. With Pritchard well behind, Gamble set about making the most of his improved position with a pair of second fastest times.
Pritchard punctured on stage four, dropping him another minute back and Gamble struggled with rocks bending his sump guard and a blowing exhaust. McCormack was now in cruise mode, easily pulling away from both his rivals as the day progressed.
By stage seven McCormack's lead was up to a minute and a half, but Gamble's chances of a fight-back were hampered when stages eight, nine and ten were cancelled. Overall rally leader Guy Wilks' car had been on fire, several of the following drivers emptying their extinguishers in an attempt to stop the blaze.
With just the final pair of tests remaining, Gamble had to nurse his car to the finish, the centre exhaust eventually falling off completely. Pritchard suffered in the dust of another car ahead, but it was the inside of the winner's car that was completely covered in a fine coating of Kielder dust, McCormack and Clarke grinning from dirty faces at the Carlisle racecourse finish.
The win puts them two points ahead in the C2R2 Cup and they take €2000 for winning the Citroën Racing Trophy UK plus a further €1000 for placing second two wheel drive car on the Pirelli International Rally.