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Sligo Stages Rally 2013
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Sligo Pre start - Sunday @ 10:28:25
RALLY NEWS NO.1 Sligo/Sunday morning

Following an `opt out` year, this Sligo Park Hotel Sligo Stages is once again a round of the prestigious Dunlop MI National Championship. Because of that, the rally has received a top class entry, which hopefully will mean some great action over the special stages from Dromahair to Manorhamilton. Indeed this rally is round 5 of eight in the Dunlop series, so it is all to play for between the main protagonists as the Championship moves into the critical second half.

Topping the charts this weekend is Donegal`s Declan Boyle, co-driven by his cousin Brian in his Subaru. Declan has scored maximum points on three of the rounds so far. He now holds a fair lead in the series. However, positions can change very fast in rallying. Boyle has flown straight in here to the rally from Kris Meeke`s wedding celebrations in Spain. No doubt as the aircraft winged its way back he will have slotted his brain into total rally mode, keen to take another step towards the National Rally Championship Title.

So, who can thwart Boyle`s charge? Well, Donagh Kelly in his recently acquired Focus WRC will no doubt be trying to win the rally today. Donagh has one National win under his belt this year, the Circuit of Kerry. However the Tralee event was not a championship qualifier. So Donagh, 2nd on the Donegal International a few weeks ago, could possibly deny Declan Boyle a couple of points, but is not realistically a title threat. Second man in the points is James Belton, but he is missing this round.
Third is Clonmel computer wizard Roy White. He is a bit of a star at the driving as well is ARBELOS man Roy. His feats of derring-do this season in his diminutive Ford engined MG have been brilliant. However it would be a big ask for Roy to get to the top spot here this weekend. Perhaps the biggest danger to Boyle`s Championship supremacy is former National Champion Niall Maguire. Monaghan man Maguire is also a three times previous winner of this rally. He is more than capable of pulling something special out of the bag here, especially if his Subaru behaves itself this time.

Niall`s son Shane won this rally last year. He is No.1 seed this time, but will start a little down the running order. Shane will face a mighty battle even for GpN supremacy. His Impreza will be up against a strong line-up of GpN Lancers to be driven by some cracking drivers including the two Moffett brothers Sam and Josh, Stephen Wright, Pat Kirk, Paul Kiely, Eugene Meegan, Sean Gallagher and several more.

Interestingly, the GpN category has been in somewhat of the doldrums recently, but looks as if it has really come alive here in Sligo. Outside bets for success this weekend? Well, James Stafford leads the rally.ie two- wheel drive category in the series, and he can be massively quick in his Darrian. In addition there is a horde of really fast two wheel drive machines and drivers, from Declan Gallagher`s Starlet, through to Escorts steered by the likes of Russell Woods and Jonathan Pringle and Arthur Kierans. It is that sort of a line-up this weekend; lots of talented drivers stretching well down the entry list. Clerk of the Course Robert Lyttle has designed a very interesting, challenging route, consisting of every type of road. It should be quite a rally. Some changes to the published entry list include. James Gillen is non-starting because his Subaru engine is not ready. Andrew Mullen is out as he has broken his foot. John Cairns has asked to be seeded further back as he feels his Subaru will not be fully on the pace over these stages. Late entry Eugene Meegan has Niall Burns co-driving and will have the number 120 on his Lancer but start with the top cars. Anthony Cairns (No.20) and Daniel Doherty (22) are both missing from the updated list.
More news to follow: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net *Follow RallyNews on Twitter @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews

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