Favourite Nutt has a crack at sixth win

BASED on previous performances, Dessie Nutt is the obvious favourite in Sunday’s Killarney Historic Rally.

The Northern Ireland driver is seeking his sixth win in the event and the main challengers are fellow Porsche drivers, John Keatley and Steve Perez.

Keatley is also a previous winner in Killarney while the credentials of Perez include the 2003 British Historic Rally title. Others in the hunt are Drexel Gillespie (Lotus Cortina), Philip Wylie (MGB) and Mervyn Johnston (Mini Cooper).

The rally caters for three categories Historic, Post Historic and Classic.

John Farrell (Escort) is the likely pacesetter in the Post-Historic section but Martin Freestone, another category winner, Ray Cunningham and ex-works Ford driver, Andrew Stokes will provide strong opposition.

Millstreet's John Moynihan (Escort) seeks his third win in the Classic section and will set a strong pace. The category offers plenty of entertainment; Tom Randles, Kieran O'Neill (Opel Kadett), Gareth Lloyd (Ford Escort) and the legendary Jimmy McRae are in opposition.

The Scot was the top privateer in last month's Wales Rally GB where he drove a Subaru WRC. On Sunday, he will pilot a three-litre Porsche 911.

Based at Randles Dromhall Hotel, the first car away from Parc Ferme (Killarney Racecourse) is at 8.20am. There are nine stages, including a double loop of Molls Gap, Beallaghbeama, Caragh Lake and Brookhill and the final stage Coolick. The final stage doesn't start until 5pm, posing the question is it really necessary. Also on Sunday, the Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland features a number of Irish competitors: Denis Biggerstaff (Metro 6R4), Kevin Barrett (Subaru WRC) and Kenny McKinstry, who drives the Peugeot 106 normally campaigned by his daughter Emma.

Dunlop National Rally Champion, Eugene Donnelly switches roles he will co-drive for Paul Kiely (Peugeot 206). Last year's Billy Coleman Award winner and current British Peugeot 206 Super Cup champion, Shaun Gallagher is also entered, as is Gareth MacHale.

The Midland M.C. Navigation Trial starts from Clondra, County .Longford at 6 pm tomorrow.

In motorcycling, the final round of the Evening Echo Motocross Championships takes place at Vernon Mount, Cork on Sunday (11am). In Grade A, Brian O'Connell (Honda) is 23 points ahead of his only rival for the title, fellow Cork rider, David Galvin (Yamaha). Waterford's Gary O'Sullivan (Honda) is the likely winner of Grade B ahead of Barry Galvin and John Buckley while Grade C honours rest between Tom Power, Brian Landers, Stephen Flanagan and Ian Cooney.

Sixteen-year-old Cork driver, Owen Murphy beat off several young drivers to win the Ford Academy series that was decided over a four stage event in Mallory Park last weekend. Murphy, from Ballincollig, finished last week's event five seconds ahead of Armagh's Graeme Nesbitt and 10 seconds ahead of Andrew Dolan while Tom Barton was one minute and 20 seconds adrift. The top prize is a fully-funded drive in an eight round championship in Scotland, England and Wales in 2004. The winner of that series will receive a works backed drive in the 2005 Ford Ka series, worth an estimated stg£25,000.

Cork racing star, Matt Griffin received a surprise invitation to the prestigious Porsche dinner in Stuttgart tomorrow night.

The talented 22-year-old, who won the British GT Cup, could land a factory Porsche deal in 2004, the British GT Championship with Tech 9 is also a possibility along with a drive with Morgan in Le Mans.

Motorsport items on tomorrow's Sports Monthly programme on RTE include highlights of the recent Marine Hotel Fastnet Rally and footage of Michael Keohane's Champ Car test in Florida.

Kris Meeke will be able to compete in next season's World Junior Championship and British Championship after a successful appeal against a 12-month driving ban imposed for a speeding offence committed on the 2002 Rally of Great Britain was reduced to three months.

More in this section

courtsmotorsportplace: northern irelandplace: killarneyplace: randles dromhall hotelplace: parc fermeplace: killarney racecourseplace: molls gapplace: beallaghbeamaplace: caragh lakeplace: brookhillplace: scotlandplace: clondra, countyplace: vernon mountplace: corkplace: waterfordplace: mallory parkplace: ballincolligplace: armaghplace: englandplace: walesplace: stuttgartplace: floridaperson: dessie nuttperson: john keatleyperson: steve perezperson: keatleyperson: perezperson: drexel gillespieperson: philip wylieperson: mervyn johnstonperson: john farrellperson: martin freestoneperson: ray cunninghamperson: andrew stokesperson: john moynihanperson: tom randlesperson: kieran o'neillperson: gareth lloydperson: jimmy mcraeperson: denis biggerstaffperson: kevin barrettperson: kenny mckinstryperson: emmaperson: eugene donnellyperson: paul kielyperson: billy colemanperson: shaun gallagherperson: gareth machaleperson: brian o'connellperson: david galvinperson: gary o'sullivanperson: barry galvinperson: john buckleyperson: tom powerperson: brian landersperson: stephen flanaganperson: ian cooneyperson: owen murphyperson: murphyperson: graeme nesbittperson: andrew dolanperson: tom bartonperson: matt griffinperson: morganperson: michael keohaneperson: kris meekeevent: killarney historic rallyevent: 2003 british historic rallyevent: wales rally gbevent: galloway hills rallyevent: dunlop national rally championevent: super cupevent: midland m.c. navigation trialevent: evening echo motocross championshipsevent: 2005 ford ka seriesevent: british gt cupevent: british gt championshipevent: tech 9event: le mansevent: marine hotel fastnet rallyevent: champ car testevent: world junior championshipevent: british championshipevent: 2002 rally of great britainorganisation: porscheorganisation: lotus cortinaorganisation: mgborganisation: escortorganisation: fordorganisation: millstreetorganisation: opel kadettorganisation: ford escortorganisation: subaruorganisation: subaru wrcorganisation: peugeot 106organisation: peugeot 206organisation: hondaorganisation: yamahaorganisation: ford academyorganisation: rté
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