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Clare Stages Rally
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Pre Start - Saturday @ 17:49:57
RALLY NEWS NO.1 Ennis/Saturday evening

This weekend’s Clare Stages Rally is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has attracted a top class line-up. The last minute entry of Kevin Barrett in his Subaru has swelled the number of top line World Rally Cars to six, all Impreza WRC’s. The rally is the penultimate round of the National Championship and Welshman Melvyn Evans who is starting at No.2 on the road could tie up the title here.

Two drivers, four times former Champion Niall Maguire and multiple Tarmac Champion Derek McGarrity, are the only two drivers who could still take the title. If Evans wins the rally, or takes maximum points, he takes the title. If either of the other two, Maguire or McGarrity, win the event then the calculators will come out to see if the title fight is going down the wire in Skibbereen. Tim McNulty, Kevin Barrett or Daragh O’Riordan in the other three Impreza WRC’s, are all capable of taking victory here, particularly McNulty. However Tim is here primarily as a warm up for the Cork ‘20’ as is O’Riordan. Neither wants to interfere in what has been a marvellous season long battle for the National title.

Kevin Barrett was very much a leading contender for Championship honours earlier in the season, but the Maynooth man suffered a few mechanical hiccups with his Subaru and then had to miss a rally because of illness. It’s great to see him back, but his Championship hopes are gone for this season. If he finishes well here in Clare he could still affect the National positions. Kevin will have No.140 on his Impreza, but should start in the top six.

Behind those six World Rally Cars, Declan Boyle and Mike Quinn start at 6 & 7 in their Escorts. The battle for top two wheel drive honours has taken on a new twist with the inclusion of Wesley Patterson in the line-up. Wesley carries ‘137’ on his Escort, but should start in the top ten. The pace amongst these three Escort men is sure to be hectic, while just some of the other Mk2 men who won’t be a mile away include David Armstrong and Aidan Walsh.

Another major battle is promised from the leading GpN contenders – Anthony O’Halloran, Sean Flanagan, Shane Maguire and Trevor Bustard. Indeed if O’Halloran gets a good clean run here on his home patch he could finish very high up, even perhaps mixing it with the WRC machinery. Just some of the other drivers who could spring a surprise include Lloyd Hutchinson in his amazing Mini and David Percy in his Escort F2 Maxi.

In addition to the 130 plus main field, there is a category for Historics as well as Juniors, so all in all the three repeated stages out towards Corrofin through Burren countryside and then through the softer territory close to Ruan, should be pretty busy. Top seeds in the Juniors are Darren & Nicola McKenna in their Corolla Twin-cam with Kevin O’Connor at 2, Cal McCarthy (3) and Fiesta Sport Challenge winner Jonathan Cunningham at 4. Jonathan, who has M-sport’s Richard Millener co-driving, will drive the new Fiesta R2. Some non-starters from the published entry list include: Thomas Fitzmaurice (12): Ed Synan (14): Vincent O’Shea (16): Gwyn Thomas (23): Jonathan Folan is now co-driving for Pat Kelly at No.17. More news after stage 1: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

2020 Patterson Agencies

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