Preview: Circuit of Munster Rally 2015
National Championship Leader Aims To Hold Advantage At The Circuit of Munster Rally
County Limerick plays host to the latest round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship this weekend as over 120 cars will line up to start Sunday’s Circuit of Munster Rally.
National Championship leader Donagh Kelly is poised to continue his good run of form on the Kilmallock based event in his Ford Focus World Rally Car and the Donegal driver starts the event as the top seed. Kelly, who was partnered by Monaghan co-driver Conor Foley for the last few events, will have regular navigator Kevin Flanagan back in the hotseat this weekend as the pair look to extend their championship advantage. Behind Kelly we have Niall Maguire. Multiple champion Niall has purchased a new car, Declan Boyle’s championship winning Subaru, but Maguire does not yet know if the car will be ready in time for Sunday and may use his slightly older S11 Subaru in Limerick at the weekend. Maguire and co-driver Enda Sherry are fresh from a strong 2nd place finish last week on the Cavan Stages Rally. Munster men Kevin Kelleher and Alan Ring line up at 3 and 4 with Kelleher having narrowly missed out on the win on this rally last year while Ring will be looking to build on his Circuit of Kerry win last month. Derek McGarrity and co-driver Diarmuid Falvey round out the top 5 with championship sponsor Kevin Barrett slotting in at 6.
Chris Armstrong is the top 2 wheel drive car at number 8 and the young Cavan driver currently lies in a remarkable third place in the overall championship standings in his Mark 2 Ford Escort. Armstrong though, will face stiff competition from rapid local driver Ed O’Callaghan, recent Cavan 2 wheel driver winner Jonathan Pringle, Barry Ryan and Declan Gallagher. Gallagher is appearing in Limerick with the Toyota GT86 he has been developing all year and its pace has been increasing on recent rounds. David Moffett is unlikely to make the start having damaged his Toyota Starlet on the Cavan Stages Rally at the weekend. There are also a number of driver capable of springing a surprise this weekend. Roy White is always capable of a good finish in his 2.4 litre MG ZR while English visitor John Stone will be hoping to build on a slow start to his championship campaign with a good result on Sunday. Tommy Doyle is an S2000 Skoda Fabia is another interesting proposition as is local driver Sean Liston in his BWM. In the production category Aidan Wray is the top seed in his new Evo 10 Mitsubishi followed by Shane Maguire and Paul Barrett in their respective Mitsubishis and Subarus.
Circuit of Munster Clerk of Course Kieran Ambrose has laid out a 120km loop of stages and service will be centralised in the Kilmallock area.