However, they will have to watch Eddie Kinirons, who will be on familiar territory in his Toyota Celica GT4. He has finished the last three forest rallies in the runner-up slot and is the most improved driver in the series.
While Kinirons is only four points adrift of championship leader McCarthy, it is crucial for former champion Kelly to register a top three finish. John Donnelly continues to improve in his Escort WRC and he, too, will endeavour to close on the top duo, as will Kevin O'Kane (Subaru Impreza).
Others on the entry are Brian McCloskey, John Shanahan, the pacesetter in the Group N category. Paul Staunton heads the rear wheel drive entry along with John Reid, William Smyth and Brian Lawlor, all in Mk. 2 Escorts.
The format is based on a loop of three stages repeated twice. First car away is at 10.30am, with servicing after stages two and five.
The final navigation event before the summer recess takes place tomorrow night.
Organised by the Munster Motor Cycle and Car Club, headquarters is at the Coolcower House Hotel, Macroom, with check-in at
9.00pm. The first car starts the 70-mile route based on Discovery Sheets 77, 85 and 86 at midnight. Inquiries to Colin Fitzgerald on 021/4872420 or 087/2583552 after 6.00pm.
Continuing his European exploits, Letterkenny's Shaun Gallagher participates in tomorrow's Rallye National Lyon-Charbonnieres-Rhon, the opening round of the French Peugeot 206 Cup. The two-day event features 13 tarmac special stages totalling some 110-stage miles. Gallagher, in his Mullen Express Transport backed Peugeot 206 leads the British Peugeot 206 Super Cup and also heads his class in the Norwegian National Championship and the West Euro Cup. He will also compete in next week's Circuit of Ireland, where he will drive a Group N Mitsubishi Evo 7.
Robert Woodside and Ollie O'Donovan are the top Irish entries in tomorrow's Astra Stages Rally in Wales, the second round of the Kumho Rally Championship. The top three seeds are Marcus Dodd (Subaru Impreza), Andrew Burton (Peugeot) and David Mann (Subaru). World Championship leader, Richard Burns tackles one of his favourite events, Rally New Zealand which will see Ford make the competitive debut with its new Focus WRC. Burns (a winner in New Zealand in 1996 and 2001), Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera are Peugeot's points scoring trio.
Aside from his team-mates, the danger will come from the Citroen camp of McRae, Sainz and Loeb, Juha Kankunnen (Subaru) and Ford's young guns.
The Formula Renault UK Championship, that launched the career of F1 Championship leader, Kimi Raikkonen continues to appeal to Irish drivers with County Kildare karting ace Ronayne O'Mahony, the latest recruit. The 17-year-old student will join Fortec Motorsport that already includes fellow Irish drivers, James Murphy and Robert Scott. The team also has young British drivers James Rossiter and Michael Conway.
A four-hour video on the rallying career of the late Frank Meagher has been produced by Tyndall Productions. The RPM video centres on his 1995 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship winning year.