Tarmac titan Coleman hailed

BILLY COLEMAN, arguably Ireland’s greatest rally driver, will be honoured this evening at the Motorsport International Show at the Simmonscourt Pavilion where a video entitled Tarmac Titans will be launched.

The three-day show has the Millstreet native as its centrepiece and several of the cars that saw Coleman win many of his titles will be on display.

Produced by Tyndall PR, the video contains footage of the Irish rally legend from his early days in a Mk1 Escort through to the Rothmans Porsche and Metro days. Coleman and a number of his former rivals and friends will take centre stage at 6.30pm this evening.

It is also a busy weekend out on the stages where Dessie Nutt (Porsche 911) will be aiming to extend his winning run to five on the 10-stage EPS Bison/Red Mills Killarney Historic Rally. There are three classes Historic, Post-Historic and Classic, each likely to be vigorously contested.

In the Historic class, Nutt has John Keatley, also in a Porsche, and Drexel Gillespie (Lotus Cortina) as his main opposition.

The Post Historic category includes three former winners of the Killarney-based rally. Isle of Man driver, Martin Freestone (Mk1 Escort) joins Irish winning duo, Lloyd Hutchinson (Mini) and John Farrell (Ford Escort).

Most of the entertainment should be provided by the Classic category with the Ford Escorts of Phil Collins, Tom Randles, Donie O'Sullivan, Philip Shaw, Jimmy Lambert, Wesley Patterson and the Opel Kadett of Kieran O'Neill.

Based at Dromhall Hotel, the rally starts on Sunday with the Molls Gap stage at 8.35am. The other stages are Kilmackillogue, Healy Pass, Cod's Head and Ardgroom, each repeated twice prior to the final stage, Derreenderragh. Servicing in Castletownbere follows special stages three and six. The rally returns to the finish ramp in Randles Garage, Muckross Road at 5.45pm.

Meanwhile, the Midland Navigation Trial begins in Ballinalee, Co Longford, at 9.01pm tomorrow and Sunday's Carlow Rallysprint at Mondello Park starts at 10 am.

WORLD champion Marcus Gronholm is in the line-up for the Michelin Race of Champions in Gran Canaria where Fermanagh's Niall McShea competes in the ROC Juniors.

Details of the 2003 Buy and Sell Circuit of Ireland (April 19/21) were announced earlier this week.

The format is similar to last year, with centralised servicing each day.

Saturday's itinerary includes the spectator stage at St Angelo Airport which will be run three times along with four stages in the Ballinamallard/Irvinestown area. Easter Sunday will involve stages in Cavan, Sligo and Leitrim and the final day is a double loop of four stages near Drumquin/Castlederg.

Cork racer Matt Griffin, 21, will contest the British Formula 3 scholarship Class in 2003. The former Irish kart champion is testing with T-Sport at Silverstone today. He has also tested with Sweeney Racing and Meritus. It looks likely he will sign for the Sean Thompson-led Meritus outfit or T-Sport.

Nine young karters completed a two-day test at Mondello Park yesterday. Niall Breen (Dundalk), Jeffrey Collier, (Dublin), Ronan Corcoran (Cork), Lee Farrell (Dublin), David Hilliard (Limerick), Ronayne O'Mahony, (Dublin), Emmett Queenan, (Roscommon), Richard Tannahill, (Coleraine) and Gerard Tohill (Dublin) battled for the prize of the use of a Formula Ireland van Diemen Ford in 2003.

The young hopefuls, who drove a Rover Gti and a Formula Vauxhall, were also assessed in terms of fitness and were interviewed by a panel of judges. The winner will be announced tomorrow during the Motorsport International Show at the RDS in Dublin.

Also yesterday, Mark Smith had a test session in a Cliff Dempsey Racing Formula Renault.

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CourtsMotorsportPlace: IrelandPlace: Simmonscourt PavilionPlace: MillstreetPlace: KillarneyPlace: Isle of ManPlace: Dromhall HotelPlace: Molls GapPlace: CastletownberePlace: Randles GaragePlace: Muckross RoadPlace: Ballinalee, Co LongfordPlace: Mondello ParkPlace: Gran CanariaPlace: FermanaghPlace: St Angelo AirportPlace: BallinamallardPlace: IrvinestownPlace: CavanPlace: SligoPlace: LeitrimPlace: DrumquinPlace: CastledergPlace: SilverstonePlace: DundalkPlace: DublinPlace: CorkPlace: LimerickPlace: RoscommonPlace: ColerainePlace: RDSPerson: ColemanPerson: Billy ColemanPerson: Dessie NuttPerson: NuttPerson: John KeatleyPerson: Drexel GillespiePerson: Martin FreestonePerson: Lloyd HutchinsonPerson: John FarrellPerson: Phil CollinsPerson: Tom RandlesPerson: Donie O'SullivanPerson: Philip ShawPerson: Jimmy LambertPerson: Wesley PattersonPerson: Kieran O'NeillPerson: KilmackilloguePerson: Healy PassPerson: Cod's HeadPerson: ArdgroomPerson: DerreenderraghPerson: Marcus GronholmPerson: Niall McSheaPerson: Matt GriffinPerson: Sean ThompsonPerson: Niall BreenPerson: Jeffrey CollierPerson: Ronan CorcoranPerson: Lee FarrellPerson: David HilliardPerson: Ronayne O'MahonyPerson: Emmett QueenanPerson: Richard TannahillPerson: Gerard TohillPerson: Mark SmithPerson: Cliff DempseyEvent: EPS BisonEvent: Red Mills Killarney Historic RallyEvent: Midland Navigation trialEvent: MICHELIN Race of ChampionsEvent: ROC JuniorsEvent: 2003 BuyEvent: CircuitEvent: Motorsport International ShowOrganisation: Tyndall PROrganisation: Rothmans PorscheOrganisation: PorscheOrganisation: Lotus CortinaOrganisation: Ford EscortOrganisation: Ford EscortsOrganisation: OpelOrganisation: T-SportOrganisation: Sweeney RacingOrganisation: MeritusOrganisation: Meritus outfitOrganisation: RoverOrganisation: Formula VauxhallOrganisation: Racing Formula Renault
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