The Cartell.ie International Rally of the Lakes in Killarney has appointed star actor Michael Fassbender as an ambassador but he will also be “suited and booted” to partake in the rally on the May Bank Holiday weekend that also celebrates the event’s 40th anniversary.
Fassbender, who grew up in the town and attended Fossa National School and St Brendan’s College, is no stranger to motorsport and has competed in the North American 488 Porsche Challenge and is currently racing with Porsche in the Porsche Cup series.
It’s not clear yet as to what car Fassbender will pilot around the iconic stages like Moll’s Gap (he is due to test in the coming weeks before making a decision) but a Ford Escort is a possibility. He said: “Since its inception in 1979, the Rally of the Lakes, epitomises the essence of road racing. It is both an honour and a pleasure to be this year’s Rally of the Lakes ambassador.”
This week, current incumbent of the Billy Coleman Award, Armagh’s James Wilson confirmed that he will debut a Philip Case-prepared Hyundai R5 on the two-day event as part of the recently launched Motorsport Ireland Academy process.
Next week’s Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally will feature former WRC star Mikko Hirvonen while Ken Block will compete in the Joule Donegal International Rally next June.
Tomorrow’s (9.30am) second round of the McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Rally Championship at the Bishopscourt race circuit in Down will see champion Derek McGarrity (Ford Fiesta WRC) aiming to continue his unbeaten run in the event that stretches back to 2012.
The Glengormley man was on course to win the opening round in Kirkistown a few weeks ago until a power steering pipe melted and forced him out. Monaghan’s Stephen Wright (Fiesta R5), Derek McGeehan (Mini WRC) and former Northern Ireland champion Kenny McKinstry (Subaru WRC) are his main rivals. Others in the mix are Mark Massey (Fiesta R5), Sean Devine (Fiesta WRC), Stuart Biggerstaff (Subaru WRC) along with Maynooth’s father and son duo Kevin and Paul Barrett (Subaru WRC/Ford Fiesta R5).
Meanwhile, Kris Meeke (Toyota Yaris WRC) is looking forward to his outing in the Rally Guanajuato Mexico, round three of the World Rally Championship and the first gravel event of the season.
A winner in Mexico two seasons ago and third last year, he is hoping to be at the sharp end once again.
Two sixth-placed finishes in the opening rounds of the WRC in Monte Carlo and Sweden has seen him adapt to his new team, who lead the series with Ott Tanak. There are eight stages today.
Motorsport Ireland are due to announce a decision about last week’s Treaty Plant Hire Limerick Forest Rally that was stopped due to snow after only a few crews managed to finish the second of the six stages.