The Rathkeale House Hotel Circuit of Munster on Sunday marks the halfway point of the eight round Triton Showers National Rally Championship. However, it also contains several subplots including preparation for the next rounds of the British and Irish Tarmac Championships and also forms part of the Top Part West Coast regional series.
Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) headlines the field and seeks a fourth straight win of the Triton campaign. Even without regular co-driver Karl Atkinson– Moffett, who has last year’s Circuit of Munster winning co-driver Keith Moriarty calling the pacenotes, will most likely be the driver to beat.
With three former national champions, current champion and a former triple British champion amongst the opposition, the contest should be frenetic.
In terms of the Triton series, last year’s winner Roy White (Fiesta WRC) is his closest rival and although he’s a consistent finisher, he is seventeen points behind. All of Moffett’s rivals need to stop the Monaghan express but it remains to be seen who can achieve the feat.
Kelly, who has missed one round, is a former Circuit of Munster winner and while he has designs on a second national title, his participation is also a shakedown for his home event, the Joule Donegal International Rally in two weeks time. Indeed, he has stated that he would swap all his success in other events for a win in Donegal.
Fresh from victory in last week’s Cavan Rally, Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Fiesta WRC) will be in a confident mood and will fancy his chances of denying Moffett that fourth straight win.
The rally organisers are certainly benefitting from the Donegal event as both Fermanagh’s Alastair Fisher and Monaghan’s Josh Moffett, in Fiesta R5’s, are using the event as preparation for the three days of action in the north-west.
Meanwhile, Ballylickey’s Keith Cronin (Fiesta R5) and Derry’s Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia R5) are also on a shakedown mode, for Cronin it will be the first time to drive his Fiesta R5 on tarmac. He’s hoping that a batch of DMACK tyres will be available so that he can test them ahead of his upcoming outing in the Ypres Rally, round four of the British series. Henry and co-driver Liam Moynihan are also likely to test components ahead of Ypres. The Subaru WRC duo of Manus Kelly and Niall Maguire complete the top ten.
In the chase for supremacy in the Motorsport Safety Group N series Dunmanway’s David Guest (Mitsubishi) renews rivalry with Monaghan’s Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi), who beat him last time around on home territory. Paul Barrett (Subaru) and Neil Tohill (Mitsubishi) will also be in the championship mix while Limerick’s Colm Murphy (Subaru) is an interesting late-entry. The opening stage is at 10.24am with servicing after stages three and six at Desmond Business Park, Newcastle West at 12.10pm and 2.41pm.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved