Barry Evans and co-driver Alan Kane took the win on the ALMC Stages last weekend - the fifth round of the 2009 Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland, in a drive that showed the 2008 C2 R2 Cup runner-up had lost none of his form.

Five registered C2 R2 competitors set off from the City North Hotel start, on what was a day of changing conditions, light rain showers making the ultra fast stages, slippery in places, and nearly every one of the C2's bore the scars of small glances with the Drogheda scenery as the day progressed.

SS1 didn't immediately hint an Evans victory, as Sam Moffett set a superb time, just outside the top ten overall on the event, recording 7 minutes 38 seconds. Evans was closest however, 11 seconds behind, with Adrian McElhinney a further 9 seconds down, the Donegal driver not feeling confident of the grip levels in his C2.

Mark Kane and Frank Dwyer were just a second behind McElhinney, with Martin Tynan a further 2 seconds in arrears. However things got worse for the Clones driver as driveshaft problems starting SS2, dropped them many minutes and they ended the event last.

On SS2 Moffett was joint fastest with McElhinney, with Evans 2 seconds slower, and Kane dropping a significant 13 seconds to the leaders.

On the third stage however Evans and McElhinney tied on time with 10 minutes 27 seconds, but Moffett's early lead was to be erased with a time 15 seconds slower than the fastest pair. He was then forced out with a gearbox problem.

That left Evans with a five second lead over McElhinney, and a very fast time on SS4, meant that after the second loop Barry's lead had increased marginally to ten seconds. Adrian's second place, although he didn't realise it would have been good enough to enable him to lift the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland title, and third placed Kane, who was fastest on SS5, was now 30 seconds behind him.

The final loop of the same three tests provided high drama, with Evans pulling another 6 seconds on SS7, despite hitting a bank and damaging the C2.

On the watch on SS8, McElhinney sliced into Evans's lead, but with the stage being interrupted as another car had crashed; the times later became null and void. It meant going into the last stage, no one was really sure of their exact position, and both Evans and McElhinney pushed on.

McElhinney's luck however took a turn, collecting a puncture halfway into the test. The delay let Kane into second, with Adrian's third place meaning that he still has work to do in Wexford if he is to take the title.

For Evans and stand in co-driver Alan Kane it was a great days rallying, and their car prepared by racing ace Jonathan Fildes ran superbly.

"Honestly I thought I had driven much harder on other rallies this season and not been in the picture for a victory," said Evans. "We have had a great day though and as always really enjoyed driving the car.

"It was a good event, and well run, always on time all day long, although the weather was a bit more unpredictable."

The result, taking into account dropped scores, means Evans is now a real threat to McElhinney in the championship with only the final two rounds, the double header event in Wexford in September, left to run.


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