Derry ace Callum Devine (Ford Fiesta R5) headlines the CBtoolhire.com Cork “20” International Rally that begins tomorrow and brings the curtain down on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship season.
Although the series has been decided with Craig Breen annexing the title on the Ulster Rally, Devine can finish as runner-up but is more likely to try and secure his first International rally win.
Although opposition over tomorrow’s five and Sunday’s eight stages is bereft of the usual ITRC regulars, Devine will not have things his own way over some of the best stages in Irish rallying. He will be followed off the start line by the similar car of Belfast’s Jonny Greer who will be amongst the leading threats to Devine’s hopes of victory.
The competitive debut of a Volkswagen Polo GTi will attract much attention, Draperstown’s Marty McCormack will certainly put the car through its paces but much will depend on how quickly the Dom Buckley Motorsport outfit will achieve the correct settings to get the maximum from the car to challenge the Fiesta that has enjoyed huge success in Irish rallying.
Welsh driver Meirion Evans has a Skoda Fabia R5 at his disposal and will seek a season-best result. Runner-up in last year’s rally — Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin (Fiesta R5) — should benefit from his shakedown appearance on the recent Dougie Hughes Memorial Clare Rally and could be a serious contender.
Due to the championship and indeed MI regulations, Waterford’s Andrew Purcell in his right-hand drive Ford Fiesta R5 is only eligible for a class win but will be more interested in comparing his times with the front runners.
Irish Forest champion Cathan McCourt (Fiesta R5) has plans to race in next year’s ITRC series and the rally offers him an insight into the pace required. Five times Irish Tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly will drive a Proton Iriz R5 after a late plan to have Killarney’s Rob Duggan drive the car failed to materialise. Dunmanway’s David Guest (Skoda Fabia S2000) and Chepstow’s Sacha Kakad (Fiesta R5) complete the top ten.
Elsewhere, the entry features Derry’s Jordan Hone, Glounthaune’s Denis Moynihan and Limerick’s Keith Lyons, all in Fiesta R5’s and Louth’s Eugene Meegan (Citroen DS3R5). The Ford Escort pair of Armagh’s Damien Toner and Carlow’s David Condell vie for the Modified honours within the ITRC and Group N duo, Enniskillen’s Willie Mavitty (Mitsubishi) and Welsh ace Andy Davies (Subaru) are in search of the ITRC2 title.
The Historic section includes last year’s champion Ovens driver Owen Murphy (Talbot Sunbeam) facing Swords driver Robert Barrable (Escort), Glounthaune’s Luke McCarthy in his pristine Class K Ford Escort and Alan Ring, who will debut a Class K BMW M3. Based at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa in Little Island, tomorrow’s opening stage (Kilnamartyra) is at 11.12am. Sunday’s first stage (S.S. 6, Mullaghanish) begins at 9.32am. The service park on both days is at the IDA Industrial Estate in Macroom. The finish at the Radisson Blu is scheduled for 5.10pm on Sunday.