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West Cork Rally

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West Cork Rally Empty West Cork Rally

Post  Mark Lowe Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:04 pm

Ford Fiesta WRC to make its first Irish appearance!

The 35th running of the West Cork Rally sponsored by Quality Hotels will provide some great excitement in Clonakilty and its surrounds on St. Patrick’s weekend. Despite the recession 143 entries have been received to date in the main field. Daragh O’Riordan who won the event last year has purchased a state of the art Ford Fiesta WRC and will give the car its Irish debut on this year’s event. O’Riordan will run as top seed and will be favourite to record the first back to back wins on the event since John Price in 1993. The appearance and sound of the Fiesta WRC should be very attractive to Irish rally fans in Clonakilty next weekend. Current Irish National Rally Champion Brian O’Mahony starts at two in a Subaru Impreza WRC S14, and like O’Riordan may be unfamiliar with the car at first, but once he gets used to it should be well in the hunt for overall honours.

Kevin Kelleher has never found his local event to be his luckiest, failing to make the start last year due to mechanical problems. However he had a solid 5th place in Birr and said he is very happy with the current setup of the car. John Dalton from Wales is the top overseas entrant and he starts at four in his familiar and potent Darrian T90 GTR. He has finished second on three occasions and could have a big say in this year’s event. Ballincolligs Owen Murphy starts at five in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, and although the 2011 Irish forestry champion and former Billy Coleman award winner is more at home in the woods, he is sure to be spectacular. Much of the same could be said about Frank Kelly at number six in his Escort Mk2. Franks pace on tarmac has dramatically increased in the past few seasons to such a level that he is now one of the top modified drivers in the country on either surface.

Barryroes Damien McCarthy is at seven in his Honda Civic hoping to emulate last year’s amazing performance which netted him third overall. Twice a finalist for the Billy Coleman award, he is quick in all parts of the country and is usually the man to beat in class 11. J.J. Fleming runs at eight in his yellow Ford Focus WRC after finishing 7th overall in the Galway International Rally. His best result in West Cork was 4th overall in 2004 which could well be improved on this year. John Cope from England is at nine in his Subaru Impreza WRC and he finished fifth overall last year. He will be hoping the experience will stand to him as he strives to improve on that result. Eoin Doyle completes the top ten in his Focus WRC having also experienced the West Cork roads on several occasions in the past and will be aiming for a good result.

Outside of the top ten there is even more quality, with some extremely quick Escorts in the hands of Wesley Patterson, Edward O’Callaghan, Kevin O’Donoghue and Adrian Hetherington to name but a few. 2010 forestry champion Pat O’Connell also makes and appearance in his Lancer at 16. Twenty entries have been received from the UK which is twice the number than in previous years, which has thrilled the organisers. Some of these haven’t been back in a few years such as Wayne Evans, Tomas Davies, Neil Spain and Huw Jeffreys. Denis Moynihan in his Escort Mk1 and Todd Falvey in his Porsche 911 RSR who are notable historic category drivers have decided to take part in the main event this year which adds to the diversity of machines. There are also some entrants from Donegal, while Martin Donnelly from New York has entered in his Mitsubishi Lancer and couple of local drivers have returned from Australia to take part. Rosscarberys Jerry O’Mahony holds the record for most attempts at the West Cork Rally and he will be doing it for the 32nd time in 2013.

There are seven entries to date in the historic class which includes four drivers from the UK and one from Northern Ireland. Wyn Hughes will be favourite to win this category, but the outright speed of Alan Courtney’s Porsche 928 can’t be ruled out either. The junior category has nine entrants and they are headed by Richard Moore from Wexford in his Honda Civic.

The first car will leave the start ramp at 1.05pm on Saturday to tackle six stages with Glandore, Sams Cross and Ardfield being run twice and service in Owenahincha after three stages. The Historic Rally will begin on Stage 4 (Glandore 2) before the cars head back to Parc Ferme at 6pm. Sundays stages will take in Ring, Clogagh and Ballinascarthy twice with service in Darrara Agricultural College after the first three stages. The first car is due back at the finish ramp at 3.10pm. The Junior Rally will get all six stages on the Sunday.

Scrutiny will take place from 4pm to 10pm on Friday 15th March in Clonakilty Car Centre (Old Quay Motors) and Parc Ferme will be in the Model Railway Village on the Inchydoney Road as usual. The event will be recorded for TV by Special Stage and will be shown on TG4 and Motors TV in the coming weeks.

Accommodation may still be sourced by contacting the Quality Hotel on 023 8836400, (00 353 23 8836400 from the UK) or logging onto their website at www.qualityclonakiltyhotel.com. For more rally details please log onto www.corkmotorclub.com or www.westcorkrally.com

Kevin O’Driscoll
Press & Media Officer
Tel: 00 353 86 2866 256
Email: Kevin@westcorkrally.com

Mark Lowe
Mark Lowe

Posts : 3044
Join date : 2012-10-19
Age : 49
Location : Middlesbrough,

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