Tarmac champion Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) heads the entry for the Cartell.ie Rally of the Lakesthat begins from Killarney tomorrow morning.
Moffett is already playing catch up to his younger brother Josh, who has taken maximum points in the two rounds.
Sam will also have to get accustomed to the note calling of Killarney man Noel O’Sullivan, (deputising for regular co-driver Karl Atkinson). Sam (Moffett) won last year’s event and with tomorrow’s stages again involving those in the Beara Peninsula he can take advantage.
Opposition in terms of the event features the trio of WRC’s driven by Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta) and the Subaru duo of Manus Kelly and Derek McGarrity.
Killarney is one of the few events that Boyle hasn’t won and he will need to be sharp over each day’s eight stages to break that sequence. Having crashed out on the opening stage in Monaghan a few weeks ago he will also need to judge his pace.
Kelly is on a shakedown for next month’s Donegal International and may take time to adjust unlike McGarrity, a previous victor, who is desperate to show that he can still be a match for the younger R5 brigade.
On the last round on home territory, the Glengormley ace led the way until his Subaru failed to fire into action on the final day.
From a championship perspective, Josh Moffett is the one to beat, however, Dubliner Robert Barrable (Fiesta R5) could be a rival if he rediscovers last year’s form. Having driven a Fiesta R5 on the opening rounds, Derry’s Desi Henry returns in a Skoda Fabia R5 and will be more of a threat. Meanwhile, Cork’s Daniel Cronin (Fiesta R5) will be encouraged by his performance on the opening stages in Antrim (Easter Rally) and should be much closer to Moffett and company than he was in Clonakilty.
Down’s Jonny Greer continues with a Fiesta R5 as his Citroen DS3R5 is still unfinished. Elsewhere, five times Tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly (Hyundai i20 R5) and Monaghan’s Stephen Wright (Fiesta R5) are also in the top frame.
In the Modified category local hero Rob Duggan (Escort) will aim to fend off the challenge of Donegal’s Kevin Eves (Toyota Corolla), Cavan’s Gary Kiernan and Banteer’s Barry Meade both in Escorts.
Dunmanway’s David Guest (Mitsubishi EvoIX) tops a diluted Group N category. Servicing tomorrow is in Castletownbere and at the Liebherr complex in Fossa on Sunday with Moll’s Gap again providing the opening action. The finish at the Gleneagle Hotel rally headquarters is at 5.15 on Sunday evening.
Cork racer Matt Griffin and his Clearwater Racing team mates Mok Weng Sun and Keita Sawa compete in the first round of the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the iconic Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium tomorrow.
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