The final round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the AceSigns Cork 20 International Rally gets under way today with several championships and classes still to be decided. Donagh Kelly has already won the championship and will be looking to add another win to an impressive year where the Galway International, West Cork, Rally of the Lakes and Ulster were annexed. Joe McGonigle from Donegal in his Skoda S2000 is currently second and can only be caught by the Group N pairing of Aaron McHale or Brendan Cumiskey for that runner up spot. The latter duo are also battling for Group N championship honours and it has been nip and tuck between them all year, McHale holding a four point advantage going into the final round. The overall co-driver battle is between three, with Ciaran Geaney (co-driver for McGonigle), Ronan O’Kane (co-driver for Cumiskey) and Paul McGee (co-driver for McHale) only separated by 11 points.
The Modified Championship is going down to the wire with championship leader Ross Hunter not competing having retired on the recent Manx Rally. This leaves defending champion Declan Gallagher and rival bestacnedrug.com Frank Kelly as the favourites provided they make the finish as they are both six points behind Hunter. If either fail to finish, Scotsman Hunter will take the title.
The Historic Category has seen a great struggle all year with Gareth Lloyd leading from the start with Ernie Graham hot on his tail. The best seven out of nine scores count and Lloyd has already scored on seven rounds to bring his total to 90 points, and can only realistically increase his score by winning or coming second in the category. Ernie Graham on 86 points has only scored on six rounds, so if he wins in Cork, he will also take the title, although a lower placed finish could also see him through.
The Junior Championship is a two way battle between John O’Sullivan and Rob Duggan with O’Sullivan holding a strong lead even with bonus points coming into play. He has scored on all rounds so far, but will need to drop a score while Duggan has only scored in three rounds to date, but may have left himself with too much to do.