Two Fermanagh navigators finished in the top three positions on Saturday’s Samonas Fivemiletown Rally, with Barry McNulty taking second overall and first in class, four seconds ahead of Brian Hoy. McNulty navigated Cathan McCourt to the runners up position in the overall standings, five seconds adrift of winner Vorobjovs, with Hoy alongside Callum Devine completing the podium in third place.

Cathan McCourt and Barry McNulty used the event to continue their preparations for the British Rally Championship, and they were quickly on the pace of the front runners, posting a first stage time just one second off early leader Patrick O’Brien.

Latvian driver Vorobjovs edged ahead of the pair after stage two but leader O’Brien then dropped almost a minute to leave McCourt and McNulty holding onto second spot after the first loop of four stages.

McCourt’s first fastest time of the event on stage five reduced the gap to five seconds, and he closed to within half a second before moving into the lead on stage seven.

The leading pair continued to battle through to the end, with McCourt and McNulty heading into the final stage with an advantage of a mere tenth of a second, but it was the Latvian who was to emerge from the final forest with the fastest time to take the rally win.

Brian Hoy’s main focus this season is the European Rally Championship but he and driver Callum Devine were taking advantage of their local event to build their knowledge of the Hyundai R5.

They were back in sixth spot after the short opening stage but they moved through the pack and by the second half of the event were setting fastest stage times.

Three consecutive quickest times on stages seven, eight and nine lifted them to third overall but they ran out of mileage in their climb to the top and had to settle for third overall and second in class, four seconds behind McCourt and McNulty.

Shane McGirr was hoping for a class win on his home event and he raced into an early lead with fastest times on each of the first three stages.

He was also second in the two wheel drive battle behind Adrian Hetherington, but his hopes of success came to an end on stage four with mechanical failure on his Toyota Starlet.

Johnny Leonard was back on the stages for the first time in two years and he took time to settle in as he posted fifth fastest class time on the first stage in his Escort.

With Jackie Elliott on the pace notes, they soon got up to speed and surged through the field to finish second in class six. Jody McManus was another class award winner as he claimed third in class four in his Fiesta R2.

Drew Chambers and Wendy Blackledge looked as though they were coasting to a class win having posted the quickest time on each of the first three stages, but they retired on stage four.

Albert McClenaghan and Brian D’Arcy took eighth in class in their Subaru, while Nigel Simpson had a short rally, sliding his BMW off the road on the first test.

Gary Johnston and Dermot Brewster retired on stage six while seventh in class because of a broken driveshaft, with William Graham retiring on stage six as he looked set for second in class. Sammy Scollan had taken his Peugeot 106 from third in class to first after three stages and he held onto his advantage until he retired on the penultimate stage.