Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) and Antrim’s Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia R5) carry the Irish challenge into tomorrow’s Scottish Rally in Dumfries, Round 4 of the British Rally Championship.
They trail series leader Swedish ace Fredrik Ahlin (Fiesta R5) by some distance but with the series based on the best five from seven events, Moffett has the best chance of progressing his title bid. The addition of a Joker round, where the competitor must nominate beforehand and can then double their points tally, continues to be the source of debate.
It is of course all luck – both Ahlin and title chaser Elfyn Evans in Fiesta R5’s doubled their winning points tally to 50 points on their Joker rounds. However, Henry nominated the Circuit of Ireland only to have problems and subsequently reaped just eight points. Evans and Ahlin are now the favourites for championship success with the former due to his WRC experience expected to succeed. Yet he cannot take anything for granted and the upcoming Ahlin – a star in the making – will not fear the experienced Welshman.
Meanwhile, for this round at least the most formidable challenge is likely to come front the local hero, David Bogie (Skoda Fabia R5). His knowledge of the Dumfries forests will be a huge benefit as he lines up behind Evans and Ahlin. Last weekend, he won the National category of the Joule Donegal International Rally.
Tom Cave (Fiesta R5) is next off the start ramp followed by the Irish trio of Moffett, Henry and Belfast’s Jonny Greer (Citroen DS3 R5). Killarney’s Rob Duggan can embellish his lead in the Junior category of the BRC in the absence of nearest rival Gus Greensmith. He drives the Vauxhall Motorsport UK Team run Vauxhall Adam and for physical and mental training has worked with Team Ireland. Ger Conway co-drives.
Meanwhile, Castleisland’s Alan Ring makes his first outing since the Rally of the Lakes as he heads the entry for Sunday’s Waterford based Raven’s Rock Rally, Rd 3 of the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Championship. The former racing ace has decided to keep his Munster Joinery Fiesta in R5 trim rather than R5+ as he used in the Circuit of Kerry.
“I just want to try to get up to speed first in R5 specification. The plan is to pick and choose events this year as we learn the car and the different technique with the 1.6 litre engine and left hand drive. We have entered for next week’s ALMC Rally.”
The event marks a rare outing for Kilkenny’s Eoin Doyle (Subaru WRC) and almost similarly for Galway’s Dean Raftery, who will also campaign a Subaru WRC.
In last year’s rally London-based Cork driver Michael O’Brien and his co-driver Liam Brennan brought their Ford Focus WRC home in fourth place. He has opted to remain with the Focus as opposed to the ex-Moffett Fiesta WRC. Another Cork driver Daniel Cronin will be hoping that the glitches in his Mitsubishi have been ironed out, in his most recent outing in Limerick the Ballylickey driver was unhappy with the suspension set-up of the car.
Tipperary’s Liam Ryan will drive a similar car. Local driver Eddie Power (Toyota Corolla WRC) is seeded at number seven, Dubliner Neil Tohill (Mitsubishi) and the Escorts of Kilkenny’s Enda O’Brien and Carlow’s David Condell complete the top 10.
Others that should be in the Modified mix are Tipperary’s Barry Ryan and Tyrone’s Ryan Loughran, both in Escorts. The popular Class 11F battle should be interesting and involves Youghal’s Jason Ryan (Toyota Starlet) and the Honda Civic pair of Bandon’s Vincent McSweeney and Wexford’s James Bradley. The event, based at Dooley’s Hotel, Waterford, consists of a triple run over two stages, the first stage starts at 10.20am.
The European Rally Championship continues with the Ypres Rally in Belgium that begins this morning. Stephane Lefebvre and Bryan Bouffier in a pair of Citroen DS3 R5’s are the top seeds, opposition includes local hot shot and multi-winner Freddy Loix Skoda (Skoda Fabia R5).
Tomorrow in Kirkistown the 500 MRCI host two rounds of the Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship. With series leader Noel Robinson an absentee, Alan Davidson should benefit the most. Jake Byrne, a winner early in the season and the ever-improving Ryan Campbell should also be in contention.
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