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Sep
12
  Irish Notes
by Brian & Liz Patterson

An abbreviated Irish Notes this week – last weekend’s Wexford Rally was led from start to finish by Steve Wood/Keith Moriarty (Subaru Impreza WRC). Steve has been a great supporter of the Wexford event and his was a popular win. Another cross-channel crew, Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson were a worthy 2nd as they settled into their Hyundai i20 R5. Another great supporter of the rally, John Dalton, was 3rd and best 2wd. John was co-driven by Gwynfor Jones. Best Escort accolade went to Frank Kelly/John McGrath. Frank had a great battle with Gary Kiernan through the first day, but Gary put his Escort off the road at a slippy farmyard starting day 2. Indeed, the conditions throughout were changeable and unpredictable, with slippy roads dominating proceedings.

This weekend coming Clare and Turkey dominate proceedings. In Clare, last year’s winner Daniel Cronin, with Shane Buckley again co-driving in his Fiesta R5, heads a strong list. There are many interesting battles promised, none more so than that between the 2nd and 3rd seeds Declan Boyle and Josh Moffett, both in Fiesta WRC+ machines. Declan has James Reilly on the notes, Josh, Keith Moriarity. The name of the game is not just winning this popular 9 stage rally, but gaining maximum points in the white hot race to become the Triton Showers National Champion. With just one more round remaining after this one, the Donegal Harvest, it is a close run race between the two drivers. The points table is actually currently led by Joe McGonigle, but he is heavily involved in opening a new restaurant at his Muff base and can’t make the trip to Ennis. Former National Champion Roy White, with James O’Brien co-driving in his Fiesta WRC+ starts 4th on the road, Roy knows he can’s make the top spot in this year’s Triton series. That won’t stop the Clonmel man from trying to win the rally though! Daragh O’Riordan and Niall Maguire make up the top six, but there are many more very good drivers behind that, which should make it an ultra competitive rally. Of particular interest will be the progress of the 16th seed, Gareth MacHale. Gareth was without doubt one of our very best drivers a few years ago, but hasn’t competed on a rally for 7 years, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in these new breed of cars – he drives an R5 from the Buckley stable, and the experienced Brian Murphy co-drives.

Over in Turkey, it will mostly be new terrain for the drivers. In a way this may favour the relative newcomers to the WRC circuit, such as our own Craig Breen. Hopefully the Citroen driver will have a good run. As ever the focus will be on the battle for the WRC title, mostly between Neuville (Hyundai) and Ogier (Ford), with Tanak in his Toyota looking threatening following two wins. Ott’s Yaris will supposedly be slightly down on power for this one rally, because of some very convoluted rules in the WRC.

Finally for now, news of another rally this weekend coming. Frank Kelly has been invited to participate in an ‘Escort Rallye’ this weekend in Belgium. It is more or less a single stage – but of four 25km loops to make up 100 competitive kms and there will be around 150 Mk1’s and Mk2’s competing, with some famous named drivers as well. Apparently the impetus behind the event is to celebrate 50 years since the first Escorts were manufactured!

 
 
 



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