The five-time Circuit of Ireland winner can extend his nine-point lead while also getting some valuable seat time ahead of Topaz Donegal International Rally in a fortnight’s time.
Reigning Irish Tarmac champion, Darren Gass (Subaru WRC) is the top seed and will also use the event as a shakedown for Donegal.
In the last round of the Northern Ireland series, McGarrity had a terrific battle with Donegal’s Donagh Kelly and had to be content with second. However, with Kelly not involved in the championship, McGarrity took maximum points for the third successive time. Derry’s Derek McGeehan (Mini WRC), seeded behind McGarrity, is his closest championship adversary followed by Maynooth’s Kevin Barrett (Subaru WRC).
Meanwhile, Camillus Bradley (Escort) is the top two-wheel drive exponent and opposition includes Frank Kelly, Keith White, David Armstrong and Adrian Hetherington, also in Escorts. Elsewhere, former champion George Robinson, Damien Toner, Jonny Leonard and Rory Byrne, all in Mitsubishi Evo’s and John O’Donnell (Subaru WRC) have entered. Beginning from the Carnbane Industrial Estate, the three stage loop is on closed public roads around Newtownhamilton, Whitecross and Loughgilly with the finish at the Sheepbridge Inn, Newry.
Sunday’s Laois Heartlands Rally continues with the support of Laois Tourism, Laois County Council and O’Loughlin’s Hotel.
A counting round of the Loughran Signs Midlands East Rally Championship, the rally consists of three timed runs over two new 20km stages near Portlaoise.
Two previous winners are amongst the entry of some 130 drivers. Wicklow’s Trevor Culbert, who prevailed last year, is the top seed in his Mk 2 Ford Escort.
The Mayo Loose Surface Autocross at Harrington’s Quarry, The Valley, Swinford begins at 10.30am.
Garry Jennings is the top seed for the forthcoming Topaz Donegal International Rally and will drive his Killarney Rally of the Lakes winning S12B.
As yet, there is no entry from five-time Tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly who signalled his intentions to hire a Ford Fiesta WRC from Ray Breen.
In motor racing Mondello 45, a celebration of 45 years of Ireland’s only International Motor Racing Circuit, takes place at Mondello Park tomorrow evening (7pm) with circuit owner Martin Birrane leading the celebrations. A full programme of races on Sunday include the Patch Tyres Fiesta Championship where some 40 racers will battle for the newly created, Birrane Trophy.
The Dunlop brothers, Michael (Honda Fireblade 1000cc) and William (Yahama 600cc) will headline next weekend’s Grand Final of the Great Stuff Caterers Glanmire Motorcycle Road Races.
There will be 11 races at the three-mile course situated just off the N8 near Junction 18.
Entries close today for the Cork Motorcycle Racing and Vintage Club organised event.
Organisers of next week’s Sean Conlon Memorial Forest Rally, will revert to their classic stags at Cambaun, Kilcoran and Kilworth for the Mitchelstown based event.