McHale Fusion 4 Toyota driver John Warren finished 10th Overall, 3rd two-wheel drive and the Class 13 winner from 150 cars at the Fastnet Rally after his strongest showing to-date on the trickiest event on the Triton Showers National Rally Championship calendar.
Famed for its bumpy slippery terrain on the Mizen Head windswept peninsula, the Fastnet Rally, since its inception in 1982 has always proved a tough test to man and machine.
Warren, a design engineer with McHale Engineering in Ballinrobe, bounced back in stunning style from the disappointment of recent retirements on Sligo and Wexford Rallies; co-driven by his wife and work colleague Ruthann O’Connor, the pair showed fast and consistent pace over the eight special stages last Sunday, setting fastest Class 13 time in all bar one of the tests.
“It was the perfect balance of speed and caution that ensured John kept our hopes in not only the National Rally Championships but also the West Coast Rally Championships alive” said Ruthann at the finish ramp, “Indeed this maximum haul of points adds Class wins in both these championships to our already secured Border Rally Championship success” beamed the Kilmaine native co-driver, who also secured 2nd place in the co-drivers section of the Women in Motorsport Championship.
“It’s a great way to wrap up what has been a tough and challenging year” said John afterwards, “The Awards this year have been hard earned, we had alot of work to do on the car after our Sligo retirement which I suppose could have wrapped up our year prematurely but Ruthann convinced me to stick at it, we both put in long, long shifts as we completely rebuild the car in our garage from the ground up following the damage sustained to the front and side of the ‘Green Machine’, but it’s days and results like this that makes it all worthwhile!, We’ve a lot of people to thank for getting us here, the support we receive from McHale’s and the well wishes from all our fans week in week out, it’s truly amazing, we love meeting young and old the length and breadth of the country who recognise and want to take photos with the ’McHale’ car! A special thanks to C-Sport who have kept us right in service all year, but most of all I need to thank Ruthann, she’s the one who calls not only the notes but the shots to keep the McHale Rallying Team on track.”
The event was won by Josh Moffett and Keith Moriarty who survived final stage drama in their Hyundai R5 to retain the Irish National Rally Championships title for a third consecutive season ahead of Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan in their VW Polo R5. Third were Daniel Cronin and Donnchadh Burke also in a VW R5, who had led the event for much of the day but failed to hold off the late charge of the reigning champion Moffett.
To keep up to date with John, Ruthann and the Fusion 4 Corolla, you can now follow @mchalerallying on TikTok.