McHale aims to hit top gear in of Britain

AUSTIN McHALE, is the top Irish driver in the Network Q Rally of Britain that begins in earnest this morning.

The five times Irish Tarmac Champion is eagerly awaiting the rally.

“It hasn’t been a good year for us, but we have finally sorted the car and considering the opposition, Brian (Murphy) and I would be very happy with a top 15 finish here,” he said.

With 30 “A” seeded drivers ahead of him, MacHale is the third “Priority 2” driver on the entry. Mark Higgins ((Ford Focus WRC) and Polish star, Tomas Kuchar (Toyota Corolla WRC) are the others.

Elsewhere, the Irish contingent also includes Niall McShea (Opel Corsa), Eamonn Boland (Subaru WRC), Stephen Harron (Subaru) and Kris Meeke (Ford Puma).

McShea contests the Junior WRC where Andrea Dallavilla, who leads rival Daniel Sola by a point is expected to win the series.

The popular Yokohama Tyres Kingdom Fast Fit sponsored Kerry Single Stage Rally takes place near Castleisland on Sunday and it will determine the outcome of both the Ford of Ireland Ka Championship and the Top Part West Coast Rally Championship.

Judging by the strength of the opposition, Killarney’s, Johnny O’ Sullivan (Ford Escort WRC), a triple winner of the event, will not have an easy passage to a fourth win. There are several drivers capable of victory including Ed Synan (Opel Manta) and Anthony O’Halloran, who drove a Group N Mitsubishi to a top 15 finish in Galway last week but reverts to his Opel Manta in Kerry.

Another driver in a change of cars is Cullen’s, Donie O’Sullivan, who poses the biggest threat to his namesake. Donie will have Peugeot 206 Cup winning co-driver, Paul Nagle calling the notes on board a Mk. 2 Ford Escort. Others on the entry include Dessie Keenan, David James, Stephen Bird and Sean Lyons all in Ford Escorts and Alan Treacy (Toyota Corolla), who complete the top ten. The latter trio will battle for the Top Part series, the highest finisher of the three will take the title.

The Ford Of Ireland Ka championship is a battle between Limerick duo, Gerry Keyes and David Lyons.

Cork driver, Frank O'Mahony will drive his Metro 6R4 as 00 car. First car away from rally headquarters, the Banna Beach Hotel, is at 11. 30 with the reconnaissance run at 12.05. The third and final run is expected to start at 5. 15 p.m. The British Formula Renault Winter series begins in Donington Park tomorrow with a double round and includes former Irish Ford Zetec champion, James Murphy.

Carlin Motorsport ace, James Courtney was third quickest in the opening qualifying session for the Macau Grand Prix. Japan’s Kousuke topped the time sheets in the final minute of the session where Robbie Kerr, the British F3 champion, was down in 24th place.

Navigation trials over the weekend are in Carrick on Suir and Trentagh, Co Donegal, both with a 10.00 p.m. start tomorrow night. The MEC Rallysprint starts at 10. 30 a.m. in Mondello Park on Sunday.

Shaun Gallagher, one of the three drivers short-listed for the Billy Coleman Award, figured prominently in last week's 2002 Peugeot Sport Gala Ball where the Letterkenny driver scooped no fewer than five awards.

He won the Hella Overseas Trophy for his victory on Le Rallye Touquet in France, received the best Junior Award - for drivers under 25 years and the Junior Dealer Cup representing McGinley Motors, Letterkenny.

The promising 22 year old also won the Mark Fisher Memorial Trophy. The final presentation was his award for second overall in the Peugeot Cup. He lost out by just five points to Fermanagh’s, Garry Jennings.

The Garda Motor Club, led by Dunmanway-born, Pat Lordan, are promoting a restricted Single Stage Rally in County Wicklow on December 8 next with Germaines Hotel as rally headquarters.

More in this section

MotorsportPlace: BritainPlace: CastleislandPlace: GalwayPlace: KerryPlace: LimerickPlace: CorkPlace: Banna Beach HotelPlace: Donington ParkPlace: JapanPlace: CarrickPlace: SuirPlace: TrentaghPlace: Co DonegalPlace: Mondello ParkPlace: FrancePlace: FermanaghPlace: County WicklowPerson: McHalePerson: Austin McHalePerson: BrianPerson: MurphyPerson: MacHalePerson: Mark HigginsPerson: Tomas KucharPerson: Niall McSheaPerson: Eamonn BolandPerson: Stephen HarronPerson: Kris MeekePerson: McSheaPerson: Andrea DallavillaPerson: Daniel SolaPerson: KillarneyPerson: Johnny O’ SullivanPerson: Ed SynanPerson: Anthony O’HalloranPerson: CullenPerson: Donie O’SullivanPerson: DoniePerson: Paul NaglePerson: Dessie KeenanPerson: David JamesPerson: Stephen BirdPerson: Seán LyonsPerson: Alan TreacyPerson: Gerry KeyesPerson: David LyonsPerson: Frank O'MahonyPerson: James MurphyPerson: James CourtneyPerson: KousukePerson: Robbie KerrPerson: Shaun GallagherPerson: LetterkennyPerson: Garry JenningsPerson: Pat LordanEvent: Network Q Rally of BritainEvent: Irish Tarmac ChampionEvent: Junior WRCEvent: Yokohama Tyres Kingdom Fast FitEvent: Kerry Single Stage RallyEvent: of Ireland Ka championshipEvent: West Coast Rally ChampionshipEvent: British Formula Renault Winter seriesEvent: Macau Grand PrixEvent: MEC RallysprintEvent: 2002 Peugeot Sport Gala BallEvent: Le Rallye TouquetEvent: Junior Dealer CupEvent: Single Stage RallyOrganisation: Ford Focus WRCOrganisation: Toyota Corolla WRCOrganisation: Opel CorsaOrganisation: Subaru WRCOrganisation: SubaruOrganisation: Ford PumaOrganisation: FordOrganisation: Ford Escort WRCOrganisation: OpelOrganisation: Group NOrganisation: MitsubishiOrganisation: PeugeotOrganisation: Ford EscortsOrganisation: Toyota CorollaOrganisation: Carlin MotorsportOrganisation: McGinley MotorsOrganisation: Garda Motor ClubOrganisation: Germaines Hotel

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