Derry driver Marty McCormack will give the Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 its Irish rally debut on next week’s CBtoolhire.com Cork “20” International Rally providing the Munster Car Club organisers with a major coup for their two-day event that brings the curtain down on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
The Joule Donegal International Rally ended in tragic circumstances early yesterday when Manus Kelly, who won the event for the last three years, lost his life after his Hyundai i20 R5 crashed and left the road on Stage 15, Fanad Head.
In front of one of the biggest crowds of spectators in recent times, Waterford’s Craig Breen and his Killarney co-driver Paul Nagle took their Ford Fiesta R5 to victory in the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally, the opening round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
After a dramatic opening on the final leg of the Easter Rally in Antrim, when the Subaru WRC of overnight leaders Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson failed to start after transmission troubles, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes took the spoils and consolidated their lead in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
In a week where the FIA announced changes to the World Rally Championship for 2017, the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship Organisers (TROA) were hit with a backlash to their proposed rule changes for 2016 — a ban on the current World Rally Cars from winning the series — with the announcement that the Donegal International Rally was withdrawing from the series.
The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship celebrated its 50th different winner of a round of its series since its inception in 1978 when Darren Gass won last weekend’s Safety Direct Galway International Rally, the opening round of the 2012 campaign.