It is the only event of the series that will use both gravel and tarmac surfaces. The winner of the BRC Junior series will receive a subsidised drive in the 2017 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy worth £60,000.
The winner will compete in five World Rally Championship rounds in 2017. It’s a prize Duggan (co-driven by fellow Killarney man Ger Conway) the current Billy Coleman award winner greatly desires. However, the dual surface event offers a new challenge.
“It is something different to what I have ever done. I’m looking forward to the tarmac part but there is over 40 miles of gravel first. The plan is to give it a good blast and we are going for top spot. We have shown we are with our rivals all through the season now, it’s just to give it that extra push.”
"Our aim is to win the championship so we will have to keep the head clued into that as well and keep it on target. A win would put us in a good position.”
Duggan still has his Joker round (where a competitor can double their points tally) to play and with tarmac being his favourite surface he has plumped for the next round in Ulster to boost his points haul.
Duggan lists his Swedish team-mate Mattias Adielsson, Norwegian Sindre Furuseth (Renault Twingo R2) and Gus Greensmith (Fiesta R2) as his principal rivals, while the likes of Merion Evans, on local terrain, cannot be ignored.
In the main event Welsh ace Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta R5) is again the favourite. Opposition is along the usual lines with the Ford Fiesta R5 of Swedish driver Fredrik Ahlin (Sweden) and the British trio of David Bogie (Skoda Fabia R5), Tom Cave (Ford Fiesta R5) and Euan Thorburn (Peugeot 208T16.
The Irish challenge will be led by Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5), Antrim’s Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia R5) and Belfast’s Jonny Greer (Citroen DS3 R5).
Henry and his Cork co-driver Liam Moynihan netted their first top three finish in the series on the last round in Scotland. The rally is based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
Meanwhile, the Subaru WRC duo of Tyrone’s Frank Wray and Paddy McVeigh head the 90 plus entry for Sunday’s Sligo Rally.
The nine-stage rally is not part of this year’s Triton Showers National Rally Championship but is a round of the Sligo Pallets Border Championship. Monaghan’s Gary McPhillips (Ford Escort) occupies the number three slot and is a major contender for victory.
Cavan’s Gary Kiernan (Ford Escort) the most recent bi-monthly nominee for the Billy Coleman Award, should also be in contention.
Better known for his co-driving attributes Sligo’s Paul Kiely will drive a Group N Mitsubishi and will be co-driven by multi-winning Tarmac and national champion Eugene Donnelly. The showroom entry also includes Pat Kirk and Sean Gallagher in Mitsubishi’s.
Promising Omagh driver Patrick O’Brien will campaign a Derek Jobb prepared Skoda Fabia S2000. Elsewhere, there are entries from David Leonard (Mitsubishi), John Cairns (Mitsubishi) and New York based Enda McCormack (Subaru WRC). Heading into Sunday’s fourth round Monaghan’s Seamus Connolly (Toyota Corolla) leads the Border series – a point ahead of Gary McPhillips.
The rally is based at the Sligo Park Hotel with the first stage scheduled to start at 10.21am.
The Five Star Catering Loose Surface National Autocross Championship and the O’Shea Bus Hire Munster Autocross Championship dovetail on Sunday’s Skibbereen and District Car Club’s Loose Surface Autocross at Clonakilty.
The event at Keohane’s Pit, Grancore on the outskirts of the town will have a practice run at 10.30am before the first of three timed runs over two laps of the 830-metre course.
The Semog Buggy pair of Sixmilebridge driver Brian Hassett and Wexford’s Sean Cahill (Semog Buggy) and Nenagh’s Whitby Moynan (Toyota Special) should be to the forefront with the Rosscarbery’s Brian O’Mahony (Special), Clonakilty’s Paul O’Driscoll (Semog Buggy) spearheading the local challenge.
In the saloon category, Cork based Polish driver Lukasz Czapnik (Subaru), who heads the class in the national series will face a stern test from former double Irish Forest Rally champion, Ovens man Owen Murphy (Subaru).