The Final Round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship is fast approaching with the AceSigns Cork 20 International Rally taking place this coming weekend. Alastair Fisher & Gordon Noble have had an excellent year taking maximum points on the Ulster Rally and the Circuit of Ireland with his only retirement coming in West Cork. If Fisher finishes above his closest rival Keith Cronin then the title will be his. For Cronin who had maximum scores in Galway, West Cork & Donegal a finish in front of Fisher will do, but it will be no easy task despite more recent experience on the Cork 20 Rally.
Sam & Josh Moffett are third and fourth in the series and both still have an outside chance of the title if the leading pair were to slip up, while Josh’s task is harder as he needs to take top points without any of his rivals increasing their scores. Sam Moffett has only score on four of the five rounds to date so any finish will increase his score.
Group N has already been won by David Guest & Paddy Robinson in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and the Clonakilty driver will be looking to cap a fine year with another top score. Gus & Pat Kearney from Clonmel are currently second and third in Group N and will be battling for the runner up spot in the championship overall.
The International 2 Wheel drive category is being led by Callum Devine in his Opel Adam and is looking good to take the award. William Creighton has been his closest challenger all year in a Peugeot 208 and is poised to take full advantage of any slip up by Devine. Marty Gallagher in third place is another driver who has moved to a Peugeot and if the leading pair were to falter he could take advantage and win the series.
The Modified Championship is being led by Scottish crew Ross Marshall & Dave Robson in their Escort Mk2 but they are being chased hard by Davy Armstrong & Martin McGarrity in a similar car. Last year’s Junior champion John O’Sullivan is currently in third place in his recently acquired Fiesta R2. Eugene Meegan, Brian Brogan & Jason McSweeney can also move up the rankings with a good result in Cork.
Frank Cunningham has already won the Historic Championship, but there should still be a good battle between the other championship crews taking part such as James O’Mahony whose change from a Volvo to an Escort hasn’t been all plain sailing, but he is still undeniably quick. Other registered Historic crews include Brendan McAree (Porsche 911), Donal O’Connor, Philip McKibbin, Duncan Williams (all Escorts) and Niall Creighton (Cortina).
The Junior Championship goes right down to the wire with honours even between Justin Ryan & Kevin Horgan at the top with both on 58 points. Noel Murphy is further back on 44 points in third place but can win the title if the leading two hit trouble. The battle to win the coveted Frank Meagher trophy will certainly be one to watch this weekend.
The action gets underway at 9am on Saturday 1st and eight stages will be run south of Fermoy before the cars head to Parc Ferme just after 6pm. The second day has six more stages with the opening test scheduled to take place at 10:51am and first car is due at the finish ramp at 4:15pm on Sunday afternoon. You can keep up to date with all the championship happenings on www.irish tarmac.com, Facebook (Irish Tarmac Rally Championship), Twitter (@Irishtarmactroa) and Instagram (irish_tarmac_championship). Other sources include live event results on http://rally.connect.ie and Patterson’s Rally News on www.rallynews.net.