Quality Killarney stages await Irish Tarmac crews

Samdec Security International ITRC

May’s Killarney Rally of the Lakes marks round four of what has been an enticing season of Irish Tarmac Rally Championship action. The two-day event will take place on world-class stages around Killarney and the stunning Beara peninsula.

Keith Cronin and Matt Edwards have taken the early initiative in this year’s championship sharing wins in Galway, West Cork, and March’s Circuit of Ireland.

The two Ford Fiesta Rally2 drivers will continue their championship challenge in Killarney, seeded second and third respectively.

Four-time British Rally Champion Cronin is yet to put his name against Killarney’s iconic winners’ list, last competing on the famous event eight years ago. Meanwhile, Edwards will make his Killarney debut on this year’s event.

Josh Moffett, who lies third in the Irish Tarmac standings, has opted out of the Rally of the Lakes. Moffett’s omission, and Cronin and Edwards’ limited Killarney experience could well play into the hands of defending Rally of the Lakes winners Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan.

Back-to-back accidents on the West Cork Rally and Circuit of Ireland have halted the Volkswagen Polo R5 pairing’s Irish Tarmac hopes. The defending Irish Tarmac Champions kicked off their latest campaign with a runner-up finish in Galway, their best result in Galway to date.

Lying fourth in the championship, Devine knows he’ll have to repeat his Killarney form from the past two years to ignite his ITRC hopes this season.

The Citroen C3 Rally2 of Jonny Greer and Niall Burns is seeded fourth, one place ahead of the returning Cathan McCourt and Brian Hoy. Both crews are more than capable of a top result.

Elsewhere, Declan Boyle, David Kelly, and Michael Boyle will look to build on their recent competitiveness in national events on Killarney’s epic stages.

Reigning McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC champions Eddie Doherty and Tom Murphy have impressed on their first steps in Rally2 machinery. They’ll look to continue that development over Killarney’s two days of action.

2013 Irish Tarmac Champion Garry Jennings is seeded ninth for the Rally of the Lakes after finishing fifth on March’s Circuit of Ireland.

Wales’ Ioan Lloyd leads Killarney’s Rally4 entrants ahead of usual frontrunners Ryan MacHugh, Keelan Grogan, and Kyle McBride.

Cian Caldwell also features in the class after his Rally4 victory on the Circuit of Ireland, driving a Peugeot 208 Rally4 similar to Casey Jay Coleman and Matthew Boyle.

McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC

Kevin Eves and Chris Melly will be excited to return to Killarney’s breathtaking stages as they lead the McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC entries for the 14-stage event.

The Donegal duo were in fine form on last year’s event, leading the modified section and holding fifth overall up until their demise on Stage 15. Eves and Melly took a five-minute modified victory on March’s West Cork Rally to kickstart their Irish Tarmac campaign.

Local drivers Conor Murphy and Colin O’Donoghue will be keen to challenge for modified honours this time around in a pair of top-specification Ford Escort Mk2s.

Declan Gallagher, Chris Armstrong, and Frank Kelly also feature in a finely poised rear-wheel-drive field.

Armagh’s Damian Toner is seeded 28th, looking to build on a two-point lead in the McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC standings after grabbing top points on the Circuit of Ireland.

Sherwood Engines Historic ITRC

Almost 20 historic rally cars will take on all 14 Rally of the Lakes stages this year. Defending Historic Rally of the Lakes winners Duncan Williams and Guy Weaver lead the way in their Ford Escort RS1800. They will want a strong result in Kerry after a challenging start to their latest Sherwood Engines Historic campaign.

Alan Ring and Adrian Deasy’s BMW M3 entry will provide a thrilling spectacle on stages like Molls Gap and Healy Pass while Ray Breen will roll back the years on Cods Head and Ardgroom aboard his flame-spitting Subaru Legacy.

Meirion Evans is seeded just ahead of local linchpins Fergus O’Meara and Mark Falvey. Evans and O’Meara will drive for a pair of championship-challenging co-drivers, Anthony O’Sullivan and Declan Casey. O’Sullivan holds an 11-point lead over Guy MacWilliam in the co-drivers’ standings while Casey lies third a further nine points back.

MacWilliam is seeded 89th alongside his father Craig who will drive one of a few pristine Ford Escort RS1600s on show.

Paul Browne Plant Hire & Civil Engineering Junior ITRC

13 Junior crews are set to tackle this year’s Rally of the Lakes with West Cork winner and championship contender Kyle Browne leading the entry alongside co-driver Alan Whyte.

John Michael Kennelly and Barry McIntyre complete an all-Honda top three with Ronan Dorrian and Graham Roche also featuring in the top five.

Photo by D Harrigan Images