Preparations are well under way for the 2015 Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally which takes place from the 6th to the 8th of February. The event is building to be a true classic as Clerk of the Course Kieran Donohue, from Headford, has laid out a very challenging route for the competitors.
Colm Quinn BMW has returned as title sponsor for a second year. Their fabulous new Tuam Road show- room will play host to mechanical scrutineering on Friday the 6th of February. This is a perfect opportunity to get up close to the cars and drivers prior to the high-speed action on Saturday and Sunday. The event will also come to a climax outside the new showroom on the Sunday evening with the top cars crossing the finish ramp and the victors spraying the champagne.
The rally, although based in the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit will take place in the south Galway area with Service being held at Gort Mart on both days. The event will run over two days and will have a total of 14 stages. Maps and time schedules will be included in the Official Rally Programme available before the event.
The 2015 event will have International Status and will be the opening round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. It is a true International event with competitors traveling from all over the world for a chance to compete on the Galway roads
The rally will bring a welcome early season boost to visitor numbers in Galway city and county. The event generates over 2,000 bed nights annually as most teams, some of up to 30 people, spend two weekends in the area between making their route notes and taking part in the event itself.
Since 1971, the event has attracted many International competitors and this year will be no exception. Entries have been received from Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Isle the Mull and Germany. Kai-Deiter Kolle, with navigator Bianc Hutzfeld, is a multiple German rally champion, and will bring his Porsche 911 to Galway. He had intended to take part in a rally in Lapland, but considers that the car is more suited to
the tarmac roads of Galway, and hence the decision to enter the event. He will be bringing a film crew from Germany to record his progress in the rally.
Early entries also include last years winner, and subsequently the winner of the 2014 Clonakilty Blackpud- ding Tarmac Championship, Declan Boyle. The London based Donegal man will have his cousin Brian Boyle navigating in last years winning Subaru Impreza WRC. Also early entrants are frontrunners Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan in a Ford Focus WRC, UK’s Steve Simpson in his Subaru Impreza WRC, Monaghans Josh Moffett in a new Ford Fiesta WRC is expected to be joined by his brother Sam in a similar car, with James Belton in an S2000 version. Skoda will be represented by the Fabia S2000 car of Joseph McGonigle.
The modified section will be hotly contested with reigning champion Declan Gallagher an early entry with his fabulous Starlet , joined by the Escorts of Pat Donegan, Liam Howlett, Michael Conlon, Declan Wilmott among many others.
Historic Cars are an integral part of the event. Former champion John Coyne, Canada, will have his Lotus Sunbeam, and Adrian Kermode from the Isle of Man his Porsche SC RS, with another Porsche for Lon- doner John Spiers. The first entry was long time Galway Rally supporter Joe Connolly from Kilkenny in his RS1600 Escort.
Local entries will compete for the Brian G Thornton Memorial Trophy , and early entries include Jonathan Folan, Subaru Impreza, Frank Byrnes, Peugeot 206, Neil Pierce , Honda Civic, Richard Whelan Civic, Hon- da and Eamonn Lee, Ford Escort.
With the entry closing date some time away, the final seeded entry list will be published closer to the event.