It’s far too early to predict who will become champion, however, with consistency being the hallmark of recent seasons, Clonmel’s Roy White (Ford Fiesta WRC) is currently the favourite for the honour. Two season’s ago he lost the title by a point as Declan Boyle staged a tremendous recovery to win the series. The Donegal driver is involved again as are former champions Peadar Hurson and Niall Maguire. It’s likely the champion will come from this quartet although Daragh O’Riordan’s late bid could also be ominous.
Last year’s Cavan winner Peadar Hurson, a national title winner back in 1992 in an Opel Ascona, is 36 points adrift of White following his retirement from the last round in Carlow when he crashed his S10 Subaru WRC. That transpired to be his final outing in the car as the Warrenpoint driver will debut the ex-Chris Atkinson S12B Subaru WRC on the nine stage Cavan event. There’s no doubt that the acquisition of the car Atkinson drove in Rally Ireland in 2007 will ramp up Hurson’s title bid and performance. It is something that series leader White is acutely aware.
White said: “It’s a massive top 10 and Peadar (Hurson) with the new car will be a big threat as will Declan (Boyle) and Niall Maguire. The Moffett brothers Sam and Josh in their Fiesta R5’s have shown great pace this season.”
White admitted: “I would like to feature at the sharp end of the field, we are making progress with the car the whole time.”
For former double champion Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC) the Cavan event is crucial as he tries to get his own bid back on course. With no points from outings in Mayo and Carlow - Boyle must score in all the remaining rounds to stay in touch. Triple national champion Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) is a former Cavan winner, at present he is 12 points behind White.
The entry of the Moffett brothers Sam and Josh in their Fiesta R5’s adds further interest especially in terms of how close they can get or perhaps event beat some of the WRC brigade. They are using the rally as a shakedown for the Donegal International Rally as is Omagh’s Seamus Leonard (Subaru WRC), who will drive the ex-Martin Cairns S14 Subaru WRC. Having taken all but four of the maximum 23 points available in Carlow, Daragh O’Riordan (Ford Fiesta WRC) continues his title bid. Series title sponsor, Kevin Barrett and Paddy McVeigh, both in Subaru WRC’s round out the top 10. Elsewhere, Steve Wood (Subaru) and Skoda S2000 pair Aaron McHale and Stuart Darcy are also competing. The first stage starts at 10.45am.
There is a strong entry for Sunday’s Clare Autocross at the Lagan Quarry – amongst them last year’s winner Derry’s James Cassidy (Semog Buggy), Donegal’s Mac Walsh (Semog Buggy) and the Yacar Buggies of Maynooth’s Joe and Padraig MacHale. The event is a counter in the Five Star Catering National Loose Autocross Championship and the O’Shea Bus Hire Munster Loose Surface Autocross.