Notwithstanding driving an updated Subaru Impreza WRC which arrived only a few days before the event, Melvyn Evans has taken maximum points in the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship on the fifth round, the Sligo Stages Rally, and cannot now be caught in the race for the 2009 title.
He succeeds David Kynaston who, following retirements on both the two previous rounds, was not present in Ireland.
With two rounds of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship still to run, Evans, co-driven on this occasion by Patrick Walsh, has achieved a 'full-house' with five maximum scores from the five rounds so far, a feat for which he was presented with the 'John Horton Motorsport Management Star Drive' salver at the prize-giving following the rally.
Meanwhile, the Sligo Stages Rally was also a round of the Dunlop Irish National Rally Championship which Evans' regular co-driver, Sean Mullally, is contesting with Kevin Barrett in another Impreza.
The pair took third place overall, which also gave Mullally his fourth maximum score in the MSA Championship Co-drivers' category. However, although he currently leads the standings, there is still some work to be done if the Limerick man is to join Evans as outright winner of the Richard Egger Insurance-sponsored series.
Also out in a different car for the first time in Sligo was Scotsman Roger Donnan who has recently updated his Ford Puma S1600. Carrying on where he left off with the old car, Roger won his class in Ireland by more than two minutes and has now ensured that the 'Front-Wheel Drive' category award in this year's MSA Asphalt Rally Championship will be heading north of the border. The result also moves Roger up to third place in the overall Championship standings at this point.
Richard Clews travelled from his home in Coventry to contest the Sligo Stages Rally, but the whole trip proved to be fraught with problems. His service barge's cambelt snapped on the way from the ferry, necessitating some hurried phone calls to arrange alternative transport to the start and, after all that, his Ford Fiesta ST retired with a holed differential after the first loop of stages. Trying to find a positive from the whole affair is difficult, but at least the early exit would have given the team more time to finalise the arrangements for getting all the kit back to the Midlands.
Meanwhile, the next round of the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship is the Eventsigns Mewla National Rally on Sunday 30th August.