Eamonn Boland won the 2008 Ulster International Rally in convincing style last weekend, and in doing so has secured his first Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship.

The 'quiet man' of Irish rallying let his driving do the talking over the weekend's two day, Armagh City based event, leading from the first stage in his state of the art Subaru WRC.

Boland is the first ROI driver to win the Ulster, which this year saw dry stages on the Friday and most of the Saturday, meaning that speeds were high throughout.

Kevin Lynch had been tipped to take the event in his Subaru WRC, as Boland did not require victory to secure the 2008 tarmac championship, however handling problems on the first day meant that Lynch dropped to sixth, before eventually fighting his way back to second place.

'Manx Missile' Mark Higgins, in a production Subaru, came home third overall and was first of the Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship contenders at the event. Ireland's Keith Cronin was 11th overall and won the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge round at the Ulster, while the Irish Group N scrap was won by Kevin Kelleher - securing more valuable points in his battle for the 2008 Irish Tarmac Championship 'showroom' category.

The Citroen C2R2 Cup was dominated by Martin McCormack winning both the Irish and UK awards, Ross Forde also threw up a dominant performance in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup winning by over four minutes from his nearest rival.

The Ulster National Rally was won by David Armstrong in his Subaru Impreza finishing just ahead of Draperstown's Camillus Bradley in his Ford Escort Mk2. Indeed Bradley lead for day one of the event until the however, his two-wheel drive car was no match for Armstrong's turbo charged four-wheel drive Subaru.

The Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy was won by welshman Elfyn Evans. The National Rally was also a counting round of the Irish Historic Championship, Keith McIvor took the spoils in his beautiful Porsche 911.

Commenting on his 'double' victory, newly crowned 2008 Irish Tarmac Champion Eamonn Boland said, "We had to push hard towards the end of the event, but we weren't going to do anything stupid with the title at stake. I didn't feel that pressured and really enjoyed the rally. It was a great way to seal the championship!"

Event sponsor Benny O'Hanlon of ToddsLeap.com said the rally had been a fantastic success, commenting, "This year's Ulster has been better than ever and we have really enjoyed being at the heart of it. I'd like to thank the competitors, organisers and marshals for all their hard work!"

Photos: www.cmwi.net 


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