Defending winners Tom Lawless/Brian Sharkey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) made it two in a row at International Rally New York 2010. The Irish duo overcame mechanical glitches and a spin to take another first place trophy. But the leaders for most of the distance were Volkan Isik/Vedat Bostanci (Subaru Impreza WRX STI), who lost the rally on a rules infraction.

Lawless/Sharkey were close behind Isik/Bostanci late on the first of two days, when a problem with the car’s power steering caused them to spin into the wrong road at a junction. Compounding their difficulties, the a gear selector malfunction didn’t allow Lawless to engage reverse, forcing Sharkey to jump out and push the vehicle back on course. The team never managed to recover he lost minute.

Also on the first day, Isik/Bostanci suffered two flat tires. Neither caused a serious loss of time, in each case they could be changed on the next transit (public road) section. However, during one of those tire changes, the team’s service crew was spotted near the car – a violation of rally regulations. (There was no proof that the mechanics ever changes the tires, or provided any tires or equipment, but service crews are allowed near their car only in designated service areas.) The officials assed a 45-minute penalty at the end of the rally, which moved the successful Turkish crew down the finish order.

Enda McCormack/Tommy Doyle (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) finished second with no problems greater than a loose rear bumper. Derek Dekar and girlfriend Jessie Berry (Subaru Impreza) finished third, an excellent result for their first outing in an all wheel drive car.

Erika Detota/Jason Smith (Subaru Impreza) won the two wheel drive category, overcoming, at various times, under-performing brakes, a broken shock absorber, and a blown fuse. Tim Oliver/Kieran Wright (Dodge Neon) were the 2WD runners-up, despite a suspension system which was obviously too soft for the Catskill Mountains’ dirt and gravel roads.

Other notes from the forest:

* Celsus “Charlie” Donnelly/Barry Smyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) were sidelined by an engine management system malfunction. They were classified sixth based on times and distance run.

* Danny O’Brien/Brendan McCabe (Subaru Impreza) went out with unspecified mechanical problems. But the team was kind enough to volunteer to help the organizers by running as the course opening “00” car for part of the day.

* Michael and John O’Leary (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10), who were put out by a broken strut in the right front suspension on Friday, returned to the competition this morning, but were forced to withdraw later. To get them going again, the mechanics installed stock springs and shocks on both sides of the front, but these proved to be too soft for the roads.

* Martin O’Flynn/Brian McNamara (Mitsubishi Eclipse) also returned to the fray, in this case after repairing body damage inflicted by a tree. They went out for good when the car contacted a large rock.

* Wojtek “Al” Kulpa/Adam Pelc (Volkswagen Golf) likewise returned to the rally after an off-course excursion and repairs – using a suspension arm and axle shaft from a wrecking yard. They placed third in the 2WD category.

International Rally New York is the next-to-last round of the U.S. Rally Championship. Each day’s run is also scored as a round of the regional New York Rally Championship.

Final results:
1. Thomas Lawless/Brian Sharkey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), 1st AWD, score = 1:28:47
2. Enda McCormack/Tommy Doyle (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), 2nd AWD 1:31:40
3. Derek Dekar/Jessie Berry (Subaru Impreza), 3rd AWD, 1:44:09
4. Erika Detota/Jason Smith (Subaru Impreza), 1st 2WD, 1:54:12
5. Tim Oliver/Kieran Wright (Dodge Neon), 2nd 2WD, 1:57:24
6. Celsus Donnelly/Barry Smyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), 4th AWD, 2:05:34
7. Danny O’Brien/Brendan McCabe (Subaru Impreza), 5th AWD, 2:10:23
8. Volkan Isik/Vedat Bostanci (Subaru Impreza WRX STI), 6th AWD, 2:11:56
9. Martin O’Flynn/Brian McNamara (Mitsubishi Eclipse), 1st Production AWD, 2:33:20
10. Wojtek Kulpa, US Adam Pelc (Volkswagen Golf GTI), 3rd 2WD, 2:35:04
11. Michael O’Leary/John O’Leary (Mitsubishi Evo) 2nd Production AWD, 3:16:47



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