26 March 2017

Moffett masters Midlands

Dominating the Midland Moto Rally in Longford, the second round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship, Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) took a convincing win to extend his lead in the national series, writes Richard Burke.
Co-driven by Cork’s Karl Atkinson they finished a minute and 9.9 seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta WRC of reigning champions Clonmel’s Roy White and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien.  Donegal’s Manus Kelly/Gareth Doherty (Subaru WRC) were 21.1 seconds further behind in third.

Tyrone’s Adrian Hetherington (Escort) and his co-driver Andrew Greenan won the Modified section – 55.9 seconds ahead of Donegal’s Brian Brogan and his co-driver Damien McGettigan. 

Stage by stage, Moffett increased his lead as Declan Boyle led the pursuit. However, a number of time-consuming spins cost him vital time, his rally ended when he hit a chicane on Stage 7 and his Ford Fiesta WRC ended up in a field.  

Initially, that promoted Manus Kelly into second but he lost time and a place on the penultimate stage.

Niall Maguire (Subaru) finished fourth with Adrian Hetherington (Escort) fifth, for most of the rally Maynooth’s Ian Barrett led the Modified section until his Darrian stopped with mechanical woes on the penultimate stage.

In the Motorsport Safety Group N category, Cork’s David Guest (Mitsubishi) took a 4.3 seconds win over the similar car of Neil Tohill.

1. S. Moffett/K. Atkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC) 58m. 05.1s;
2. R. White/J. O'Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC) 59m. 15.0s.
3. M. Kelly/G. Doherty (Subaru S12B) 59m. 36.1s.
4. N. Maguire/E. Sherry (Subaru S12B) 1h. 00m. 20.4s.
5. A. Hetherington/A. Grennan (Ford Escort) 1h. 02m. 00.0s.
6. B. Brogan/D. McGettigan (Ford Escort) 1h. 02m. 55.9s.
7. G. McNamee/D. O'Sullivan (Honda Civic) 1h. 03m. 41.2s.
8. D. Guest/P. Robinson (Mitsubishi EvoIX) 1h. 04m. 07.8s.
9. N. Tohill/G. Tohill (Mitsubishi EvoIX) 1h. 04m. 12.1s.
10. B. Morris/D. Campbell (Ford Escort)1h. 04m. 47.9s.

Provisional Championship Positions after Round 2:  
1. S. Moffett 41 pts.
2. R. White 32 pts.

3. N. Maguire 26 pts.

23 March 2017

New E-Class Coupe arrives in Ireland

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe has now arrived in the brand's Irish showrooms, writes Brian Byrne. It is on sale from €52,310.

A 2.0 184hp petrol engine starts off the powertrain lineup currently available, which also include a 245hp version of the same engine, and a 333hp 3.0 V6. A new 2.0 194hp diesel is also available, from €52,995.

The car exclusively offers a choice of two light wood trim packages in open-pore and high-gloss finishes. Interior lighting makes use of LED technology, including optionally available ambient lighting with 64 colour variants.

The Coupe joins the saloon and estate already on sale, and the range will be extended later by a Cabriolet.

Revised SEAT Leon on sale

A revised SEAT Leon is now on sale through the brand's dealerships, with external and internal enhancements and an added powertrain, writes Brian Byrne.

The front changes are described by the designer as 'subtle'and include a wider grille and revised bumper designs. The lights have also been upgraded with greater use of LED technology.

Interior changes include an LED-based ambient lighting system. The car is also claimed to be quieter.

SEAT has introduced further technological options to the Leon, including a pedestrian detection system, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and automatic headlamp dipping. The traffic sign recognition system has been enhanced.

A new 1.6 diesel with 115hp output has been added to the powertrain range, alongside the 90hp version and the 184hp 2.0. A revised Cupra version will launch in May.

The current range of Leon in 3- and 5-door hatchack and estate formats is available to order from SEAT's 23-strong network from €19,195.

22 March 2017

Indian motorcycles back in Ireland

The Indian motorcycle brand is back on sale in Ireland after a gap of around a century, writes Brian Byrne.

The Irish franchise was launched at the recent Motorbike & Scooter Show in the RDS in early March, by Keith Reynolds and Barry Egan of AKB Distribution, under the trading name of Franklin Motorcycles.

Charles Bayly Franklin was a Dublin born engineer who became the chief designer of Indian motorcycles. He had previously operated an Indian franchise in his shop in Dublin while the original bikes were on sale in Ireland.

Pictured below is a typical Indian motorcycle-sidecar combination of the time (photographed in Vancouver, Canada).

BMW will 'chase profit more than volume'

BMW says it intends to concentrate on developing larger models which are more profitable, writes Brian Byrne.

And it says it won't 'push' its smaller cars based on the FWD UKL platform underpinning the latest Minis and the X1 small SUV.

That said, the brand intends to roll out 40 cars over the next two years, both new and revised models. Two of the new ones will be a compact SUV, the X2, and a large X7 SUV positioned ahead of the X5 and X6.

CEO Harald Krueger says the company is more interested in profitability than in the 'sales volume race'.

Last year BMW was overtaken by arch-rival Mercedes-Benz for the first time in more than ten years. The Munich company's profits also fell to its lowest in six years.

Krueger also suggested that small models which don't have a growth potential may be dropped.

Pictured is the new generation 5 Series which has just gone on sale in Ireland.

Electric version of Berlingo Multispace

Citroen has produced an electric version of its Berlingo Multispace van-derived car, writes Brian Byrne.

Dubbed the E-Berlingo Multispace, the vehicle has a range of 170km and is designated by the company as a 'volume' car, alongside its variants powered by petrol and diesel engines.

The batteries are housed in a sub-frame on either side of the rear axle, so the passenger and cargo capacity hasn't been compromised.

There are normal and rapid charging modes, the latter allowing a 50pc recharge in 15 minutes, or 80pc in half an hour.

The E-Berlingo Multispace will launch in its first European markets in May.