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Clare Stages Rally
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Pre Start Ennis - Saturday @ 17:59:50

RALLY NEWS NO.1 Auburn Lodge/Ennis/Saturday evening

This weekend’s Clare Stages Rally, the penultimate round of the Dunlop National Championship, promises to be an exciting event. There is a plethora of World Rally Cars at the front of the field, but the rally is about more than the expected battle for an outright win as well as Championship points. There is also a fabulous line-up of GpN machinery, Escorts, Civics, Corollas and a whole lot more, which should provide great action on the demanding stages laid out by Clerk of the Course Dermot Kelleher. Most attention however will probably be paid to the WRC cars and drivers at the front.

Three times National Champion Niall Maguire was 2nd here in Clare last year, despite some brake problems with his Subaru, and the Monaghan man is No.1 seed this time. Niall is one of only three drivers, the other two being Thomas Fitzmaurice and Brian O’Mahony, who can win the overall National Championship title this year. Thomas Fitzmaurice and Brian O’Mahony, seeded at 2 & 3 in their respective Subarus, have the edge over Maguire in the points race and each in their own way have vowed they won’t be holding back this weekend. It’s not quite a case of now or never as regards, the Championship, but it’s close to that.

Donegal man Declan Boyle is listed at No.4 on the entry list but is a non-starter, and that leaves Kevin Barrett who is seeded at No.5 running 4th on the road in his Subaru. Kevin has had his Impreza engine rebuilt and has Conor Foley co-driving in place of Sean Mullally who is looking after the Radio communications on the Rally this weekend.

West Cork man Kevin Kelleher rounds off the world rally car drivers at the front. Kevin has yet to have a really good run in this car. Perhaps it will all come good here in Clare. Colm Murphy is the GpN leader of the championship and he starts at No.7 in his Impreza. Roy White is at 8 in his Mountune engined MG S2000. Then it is Tyrone man Frank Kelly at 9 in his Mk2 Escort. Frank is well placed in the 2wd category in the National series and also leads the Top Part West Coast Championship. Shane Maguire in his GpN Impreza is at No.10. Josh Moffett was a late entry and has the number 102 on his Lancer but will start on the road between Shane Maguire and Anthony O’Halloran at 11. Donegal man Declan Gallagher in his Starlet rounds off the top 12.

Further news of non-starters from the original published list includes James Coleman (20) and Paddy McVeigh (42). Some more re-seeds are Derek Daly/Diarmuid Falvey who have No.105 on their Lancer start behind Jonathan Folan (24). John Warren who has 107 on his Corolla starts behind Ken Lyons (35).

More news in the morning: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net Follow RallyNews on Twitter @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews

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