The second Round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship sees the action head north of the border to the Circuit of Ireland Rally. The Circuit which is one of the oldest events in Europe takes place on its traditional Easter date and runs from the 17th to the 19th April. As expected most of the championship protagonists are making an appearance and it promises to be a fascinating event which should give us a clearer picture of where the championship honours will head this year. Most of the championship runners are in the National section, while the Moffett brothers have chosen to run in the International (ERC) part of the event in their Fiesta RRC and Mitsubishi Lancer respectively and are currently fourth and fifth in the overall standings.
Top seed for the national event is the 2013 Tarmac Champion Garry Jennings in his Subaru Impreza WRC who will be hoping to go one better than his second overall in Galway. Jennings is one of many of the challengers who have never won the event and should be on the pace from the word go despite not having been out since Galway. The same cannot be said for the next two seeds, as Donegal men Declan Boyle and Donagh Kelly have both topped the podium in recent weeks. Boyle leads the championship after winning in Galway and has also won the opening two rounds of the National Championship so he is bang on form and will be one of the pre event favourites. Donagh Kelly has yet to win a Tarmac Championship round, but having been so impressive in winning the West Cork Rally at his first attempt in March and with a car that’s now performing more to his liking, he could be one to watch this Easter.
Eugene Donnelly is a twice Circuit of Ireland winner and although he failed to finish in Galway after crashing his Mini WRC on the second day, he is vastly experience and is expected to go well. Derek McGarrity along with Paddy Hopkirk is the only Irish driver to win the event five times and in a potent Mini WRC could be primed to make it a sixth win. Steve Simpson who was going well before clutch failure put him out in Galway is also on the entry list as he looks to gain more Tarmac Championship experience.
The Modified Championship heads into round three after Galway and West Cork and this category is also being led by a Donegal crew, Declan Gallagher & Ryan Moore in their Toyota Starlet. Two superb performances on the opening rounds have given them maximum points to date and an eight point lead in the championship. Wesley Patterson & Johnny Baird are next up following a second and a third so far to lie second, while Frank Kelly who retired on his first event in West Cork will be comforted by the knowledge that he was very close to Gallagher’s pace in Clonakilty as he got used to a brand new car. Historic Championship leader Ray Cunningham is not down to do the event so third placed Denis Moynihan has a chance to move into the championship lead before the action switches to his home event in Killarney in three weeks’ time.
The action takes place from the 17th to the 19th April and takes in stages in areas such as Newtownards, Ballygowan, Downpatrick, Dromore, Banbridge, Ballynahinch and Moira. Remember you can keep up to date on the official website (www.irishtarmac.com), Facebook (Irish Tarmac Championship), Twitter (@IrishTarmacTROA) or through the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship app which is available for download for iOS and Android.
TROA Press & Media Officer,
Phone: +353 86 2866 256