Samdec Security International ITRC
The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship travels south for its penultimate round – the Cork 20 International Rally. The two-day event will be crucial for several category contenders as Ireland’s leading rally series edges closer to its Ulster finale later in August.
Last year’s winners Josh Moffett and Andy Hayes will carry the number one door card on their Hyundai through Cork’s fast stages. After crashing out during their Donegal International Rally defence, the reigning Irish Tarmac champions know victory on the Cork 20 is essential if they are to put pressure on in-form championship leaders Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan.
Devine, who finished 8.4 seconds behind Moffett in Cork 12 months ago, is on an impressive winning streak in the Samdec Security supported international series. A hat-trick of wins on the Circuit of Ireland, Rally of the Lakes, and Donegal International Rally gives him a 14-point lead at the top of the ITRC standings.
Meirion Evans and Robert Barrable are seeded third and fourth respectively for the bank-holiday weekend rally. Irish Tarmac’s policy of two dropped scores keeps them in title contention but like Moffett they’ll need a top result in Cork to keep their hopes alive.
A strong Rally2 line-up extends throughout Cork’s top 20 featuring recently crowned Northern Ireland Rally champion Jonathan Greer and previous Irish Tarmac champions Declan Boyle and Gareth McHale.
ITRC’s Rally4 young guns look set to continue their spellbinding championship combats on the Cork 20. Shane Quinn currently leads the front-wheel-drive category but will have to be at his best to keep his championship rivals behind.
Matthew Boyle, Casey Jay Coleman, Cian Caldwell, and Ioan Lloyd will be ready to do battle once again in another tantalising tussle for Rally4 honours.
McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC
After his first ITRC top score last time out in Donegal, Eddie Doherty has a great chance to strengthen his prospects of a maiden Modified ITRC title with a strong result in Cork. He holds a 33-point advantage over Gary Kiernan with two rounds to go.
In the co-drivers title battle, Dylan Doonan holds a seven-point lead over Karl Egan ahead of Cork 20.
Doonan will be in the Class 13 mix alongside his driver Cian Walsh. Walsh will have Oliver Benton and Gareth Black to contend with as they duel for the M2 category honours.
Black holds a slender four-point class lead over Benton with the Toyota Starlet and Ford Escort rivals ready to take each other on over the remaining two rounds.
Synergy Motorsport Engineering Historic ITRC
Reigning Historic ITRC champions Neil Williams and Anthony O’Sullivan return to the series to defend their Cork 20 success last year. They will run first on the road as the Historics open the running ahead of the rally’s mainfield.
Just behind, Duncan Williams and Guy Weaver can enjoy the Cork 20 stages knowing they have already done enough to be crowned Irish Tarmac Historic champions for 2023. An amazing run of podiums since the championship’s opening Killarney Historic round last December, including top scores in West Cork and the Rally of the Lakes, has given them this year’s Historic ITRC honours.
Leading Historic competitors, Michael McDaid, Trevor Wilson, and Tomas Davies complete Cork 20’s Historic top five.
Several Historic class battles still exist including the fight for Category 2 honours where 17 points separate Trevor Wilson from current leader Peadar Walsh.
Paul Browne Civil Engineering & Plant Hire Junior ITRC
Retirements for Junior ITRC’s top two contenders, Robbie O’Hanlon and Darragh O’Donovan, in Donegal have opened the series up to a host of contenders.
O’Hanlon and Oisin Joyce currently lead the category by six points over O’Donovan and Michael White.
Ben McIntyre and Barry McIntyre are within touching distance as all four crews brace themselves for a proper showdown in Cork.
Adam Hall, ITRC Press Officer
Photo by D Harrigan Images