The 2023 Synergy Motorsport Engineering Historic Irish Tarmac Rally Championship begins this weekend on the festive feeling Killarney Historic Rally. The 3 December event has received a maximum 150-car entry with many excited to start their Historic ITRC campaigns.
Neil Williams and Anthony O’Sullivan, who were crowned 2022 champions just three months ago, return to Killarney for the third time in 12 months. The Ford Escort Mk2 crew had a challenging start to Killarney Historic last year with set-up issues hindering their early hopes.
A return to form on Killarney’s second loop of stages ensured Williams scored his first of four maximum points scores in a championship campaign that went down to the wire on ITRC’s final Ulster Rally round.
The Cardigan-Clonakilty duo are seeded fifth for Saturday’s Killarney Historic Rally. Several star names are seeded ahead having swapped from modern machinery to memorable models for the end-of-year celebration.
World Rally Championship duo, Craig Breen and Paul Nagle, will defend their Killarney Historic Rally crown in an ex-Frank Meagher Ford Sierra Cosworth.
Breen’s 1992 Circuit of Ireland-winning Sierra will be followed up Killarney’s Molls Gap opener by another Sierra Cosworth. Jonny Greer, who finished fourth in the 2022 Acesigns Irish Tarmac Championship, pilots his 4×4 Sapphire model.
Alan Ring and Adrian Deasy are more than capable of a win on the early December event. Their Subaru Legacy claimed a 45.8-second victory in May’s Historic Rally of the Lakes. An electronic issue hindered their run on the Cork 20 but they still managed to show signs of the rally-winning pace within the Legacy.
Cathan McCourt is another ITRC frontrunner completing his annual dabble with historics in Killarney. The Galway International Rally challenger will be the first of four Ford Escorts to skirt past Muckross on Saturday morning.
Eamonn Kelly and Conor Mohan can celebrate their JBRC success with a spin around the Kerry Lakes in a newly built left-hand-drive Mk2 Escort. Kelly climbed from 12th to fifth on his rear-wheel-drive debut in a right-hand-drive variant 12 months ago.
Seeded seventh, Michael McDaid and Declan Casey will be determined to transfer their stunning form on recent gravel events across England and Wales into a top result in Killarney.
McDaid’s Mk2 Escort is set to be hunted down the road to Kenmare by the BMW M3 of Donagh Kelly and Rory Kennedy. The decorated Donegal duo finished fourth on last year’s event.
Fergus O’Meara, Mark and Todd Falvey join Alan Ring as County Kerry’s local hopefuls.
Rally car proprietors Meirion and Melvyn Evans make the welcome trip over from Wales in a brace of Mk2 Escorts.
Four of Historic ITRC’s top five from 2022 will take on Killarney’s new-season curtain-raiser. Duncan Williams, Berian Richards, and Craig MacWilliam have their sights set on another Irish Tarmac campaign in a bid to usurp Neil Williams.
Over 70 historic specification rally cars have entered the Killarney Historic Rally. The 3 December event is set to be a remarkable spectacle with cars ranging from Mini Coopers to Audi Quattros, Porsche 911s – even a Mitsubishi Galant.
Crews will tackle seven stages, including three runs of Molls Gap, on Ireland’s final closed-road rally of 2022.
The 2023 Synergy Motorsport Engineering Historic Irish Tarmac Rally Championship will continue next year with February’s Galway International Rally marking the series’ second round. A string of Ireland’s leading asphalt rallies will bring the championship to its eighth and final round on August’s Ulster Rally.
Killarney Historic Rally entry list:
Photo by Gavin Woods
Adam Hall, ITRC Press Officer