Jonny Leonard secured his best result of the season with a second overall finish on the Jim Walsh Cork Forestry Rally.

The Mitsubishi Evo driver got his championship challenge back on track after not recording a score on the last round, and his class win was better than he expected “We didn’t finish in Donegal on the last round so we were coming off the back of a bad experience and we really went down just to make sure we collected some points,” admitted Jonny.

“We were feeling good half way through the day and we were there and there about pace wise, so we decided to press on a wee bit in the afternoon and we jumped up the ranks as a result.

“We surprised ourselves with our pace but it paid off for us. We jumped from fourth to second overall so we were happy enough.”

The maximum points haul for his class victory sees him reduce the gap to championship leader Gerard Lucey.

“With dropped scores there is only a point in it,” he said.

“The other guy looks in a strong position but once you take the dropped scores into account it levels out a bit because he has finished all rounds and I didn’t finish the last one.”

Jonny has a great chance to overhaul that gap when the championship moves to his home county for the next round.

The Lakeland Stages rally in the fifth round of the series, and one Jonny has plenty of experience in.

He is hoping that that local knowledge could give him the edge that will lift him into the class lead.

“It will be nice to get on to home territory,” he admitted.

“The first two events and the last one were all in Ger Lucey’s country and he is hard to handle down there, so it will be nice to get him back up here this time.”

In the Tyrone stages rally run by Cookstown Motor Club on Saturday Ballinamallard driver Raymond Johnston secured victory in class twelve in his Ford Escort RS1800. Trillick’s Sean McQuaid finished just over two seconds outside the podium positions in class five. Declan Campbell was a further place back in fifth. In class one Darren McGrath was fourth in his Honda Civic, with Karl Fallis a place further back in his similar car.