With four rounds completed Sam Moffett (Ford Focus WRC) is marching towards success in the Triton National Rally Championship.
Four victories and three power stage wins has given him 83 of the maximum 84 points available.
On Sunday’s fifth round, the Dooley’s Hotel Raven’s Rock Rally, the Monaghan driver and his Bandon co-driver Karl Atkinson are the top seeds.
For their championship rivals it’s a crucial event with former champions Declan Boyle and Niall Maguire and reigning champion Roy White all needing to sustain a realistic title bid and stop Moffett from gaining further ground.
Moffett, who also leads the Irish Tarmac Championship, is the favourite for another victory and can inch one event closer to the Vard Memorial Trophy.
For Boyle (Fiesta WRC) a back-to-back winner in 2013/2014, a win is almost a pre-requisite, with two retirements under his belt, he can ill afford any further slip up.
Champion Roy White is 24 points behind Moffett and although consistent, needs to secure that maiden win in a Triton round.
The almost ever-present Niall Maguire (Subaru) completes the World Rally quartet. Dundalk’s Brendan Cumiskey (Skoda Fabia) is the sole R5 competitor in the top ten.
A week from his next outing in the World Rally Championship in Poland, Waterford’s and Citroen WRT driver Craig Breen is seeded at number five and is likely to drive a Mk. 2 Ford Escort.
Meanwhile and following his win on the Portlaoise based Heartland’s Rally Kilkenny driver Enda O’Brien (Ford Escort) is next off the start line and one of the favourites to win the Modified section.
The Group N trio of David Guest (Mitsubishi), Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi) and Paul Barrett (Subaru) round off the top ten.
All three are involved in the Motorsport Safety Group N category with Maguire opening up a nine-point advantage on early season leader Guest. Barrett is still on a confidence building exercise following his Circuit of Kerry exit. Neil Tohill (Mitsubishi) is also in the championship equation.
Others who should be at the cutting edge include Banteer’s Barry Meade and Welsh ace Adrian Evans in Escorts, Wexford’s Liam Bowham (Toyota Starlet), local driver Richard Harney (Ford Escort) and Jason Ryan (Honda Civic).
The first of the nine stages starts just after 9am. The service park is at the Waterford Institute of Technology, withthe finish ramp celebrations at Dooley’s Hotel set for 5.10pm.
Meanwhile, there a good Irish contingent on the Ypres Rally in Belgium where for the first time in some 59 years, the Prestone British Rally Championship has a counting round on mainland Europe.
The Derry/Cork pairing of Marty McCormack (Skoda Fabia R5) head the list, one of the few with experience of this event McCormack could be one of the main beneficiaries of BRC points.
Former triple British champion Keith Cronin and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin will campaign the M-Sport run Fiesta R5 while Derry’s Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia R5) is also competing.
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