The Acesigns Irish Tarmac Rally Championship’s leading challengers look set to maintain their intense 2022 rivalries on Easter’s Circuit of Ireland Rally.
Josh Moffett and Andy Hayes have been the duo to beat so far this year but will face stiff opposition from fellow title contenders Alastair Fisher, Callum Devine, and Meirion Evans.
Moffett holds a six-point ITRC advantage over Wales’ Evans and co-driver Jonathan Jackson after winning the opening two rounds. Fisher holds third in the Acesigns Irish Tarmac standings, ten points further back, but is seeded first thanks to his previous form on the Northern Irish event.
Devine looked set to make the perfect start to his new partnership with Shane Byrne on the West Cork Rally. The pair held an overnight lead on their debut event together but a gearbox failure left them stranded on Sunday, having to leave Clonakilty with a no-score.
The 27-year-old has rarely competed on the famous Glens of Antrim stages but with plenty of European and World Rally Championship experience to his name, Devine will be keen to reaffirm his title credentials.
One man with abundant local knowledge is Jonny Greer. The Citroen C3 Rally2 driver impressed on the West Cork Rally, a seemingly innocuous spin on the final stage ruined his hopes of a podium finish.
Greer is seeded seventh for the Circuit and should be right on the front-end pace given his experience of the Glendun and Cairncastle stages from previous Circuit of Ireland, Ulster, and Glens of Antrim Rallies.
Declan Boyle will return to the R5 fold for the first time in three years. The 2014 Irish Tarmac Rally Champion featured in Galway behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta WRC. Now, he’s ready to fight in the main series in his recently acquired Volkswagen Polo R5.
April’s busy rally schedule leaves the Circuit of Ireland’s modified section looking a little more subdued than it was in West Cork.
Still, there are plenty of two-wheel-drive crews ready to treat spectators visiting the beautiful surroundings of Ulster’s north-coast.
With title rivals James Stafford and Gary Kiernan skipping the Circuit, Daniel McKenna has the perfect opportunity to regain ground after his retirement in Galway.
McKenna looked to be finding his Ford Escort Mk2’s sweet spot as he secured a runner-up finish in West Cork.
M2 class leaders Gareth Black and Connor Dunlop will be hoping to maintain their strong start to the year. The Toyota Starlet crew lead the 2.0-litre class by nine points after a runner-up and first-place finish on ITRC’s first two rounds.
Jason Dickson, Ryan Caldwell, and Joseph Kelly will continue their front-wheel-drive battle in Ford and Peugeot Rally4 variants.
Caldwell has been the category’s surprise sensation this year, picking up a win in Galway and a runner-up finish to Eamonn Kelly in West Cork.
Dickson and Kelly will be hoping to regain some ground this time around.
16 historic rally cars will tackle this year’s Circuit of Ireland Rally. With three different winners in ITRC’s three Historic rounds so far, the battles have been worth watching so far in 2022.
Berian Richards and Luke McCarthy are among the championship challengers heading to the Circuit of Ireland this year.
11 stages make up the 2022 Circuit of Ireland Rally and with each one topping the 15-kilometre mark, the two-day event provides a total of 193 competitive kilometres for expectant crews.