HEREFORDSHIRE Motor Club pairing Darren and Sue Underwood enjoyed a stage win on their first outing on Irish asphalt roads.

Continuing their commanding class championship results, the pair brought their 1600cc Nova to success on the ALMC Stages Rally.

Based near Dublin, the rally featured 85 competitive miles over nine tests - a compact route of three stages each held three times.

Heavy showers saw the Leominster couple caught out on the wrong tyres on the opening loop, losing them precious time as the Nova overshot a junction and had to be cautious of aquaplaning on standing water.

A deceptive jump over a bridge saw the Nova land quite heavy but with no damage.

After the first service halt, more suitable Michelins were fitted to cope with the slippy and wet conditions but the bumpy Irish roads were still tricky which saw even the leaders falling foul with stage three being cancelled as car 1, Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh crashed their Subaru Impreza into a bale chicane subsequently blocking the road after aquaplaning.

The final loop saw an improvement with drying roads and confidence growing, and of the 89 starters, the Underwoods finished 24th overall and were rewarded with maximum REIS MSA Asphalt Championship points for the class win.

In addition, the pairing also lead the Best Front Wheel Drive category too.