Mar 09, 2019
Clonakilty on St. Patrick’s weekend is the place to be with the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally attracting a stunning entry of over 200 cars across all categories. The rally which is the second round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and the British Rally Championship as well as the opening round of PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship & FIA Celtic Trophy has 160 cars in the main field, although entries are still being accepted. Top seeds are Donagh Kelly & Conor Foley who will be giving their new Skoda Fabia R5 its debut and the five time winner will face his strongest competition since first competing in West Cork in 2014. Craig Breen has never competed in West Cork before, but having two time winner Paul Nagle on the notes will be a help to the Waterford driver who leads the Tarmac Championship after round 1 and will be pushing hard to make it two in a row. 2018 Tarmac Champion Josh Moffett at three has been runner up on the event for the past two years and will certainly be fired up to go one better this year.
Alastair Fisher put in a stunning drive in Galway after a 15 month absence from the stages and will be looking to improve on his third place finish in Clonakilty two years ago. Rounding off the top five is the Fiesta R5 of Matt Edwards the current British Rally Championship who drives an M-Sport prepared car. Sam Moffett at six will be hoping for better luck than Galway when he went off the road on the opening stage. Sam is another to have finished runner up to Donagh Kelly and will certainly be looking to use his experience of the stages to his advantage. Robert Barrable (Skoda R5) is the only other
previous winner of the rally on the entry list with the Dubliner making his first appearance of the year. Coincidentally his win back in 2011 was behind the wheel of a Skoda which may be a good omen for this year. Desi Henry is also Skoda mounted at eight and finished sixth overall last year while at is Scottish driver David Bogie who drives the fourth Skoda in the top ten which is completed by Declan Boyles Ford Fiesta R5.
Lying outside the top ten there are drivers of the quality of Tom Cave, Marty McCormack, Manus Kelly, Jonny Greer, Callum Devine and Stephen Wright to name just a few, and the competition is sure to be spectacular. The national entry is also very strong and led by Gary Kiernan in his Escort followed by John Dalton in the Darrian T90 GTR with former WRC star Mikko Hirvonen, Damien Tourish and Frank Kelly the top five seeds. There is a Welsh family affair for Gwyndaf Evans making his first competitive appearance in West Cork since 2008 who is joined by sons Wayne and Adrian, all in Ford Escorts. Group N sees Michael Boyle, William Mavitty and Andy Davies renew their battle from Galway while the R2 category is extremely competitive. The 2018 Billy Coleman Award winner James Wilson leads a host of quick drivers such as William Creighton, Marty Gallagher, Jordan Hone, Stephen Carey and Josh McErlean. Neil Williams, Ray Cunningham & Ray Hilliard lead the way in the Historic category while Aaron Browne, Mick Lonergan and Kieran Reen are the top three seeded juniors.
The fifteen stages totaling 240km will take in some of the best roads in the country beginning with the fabulous Ring stage at 10.58am on Saturday 16th March. Dunworley, Sam’s Cross, Shanaway and a Clonakilty town stage make up the opening days nine stages. The more leisurely midday start on St. Patrick’s Day will take see Clogagh, Ballinascarthy & Ardfield all attempted twice. You can keep up to date with live results on http://results.westcorkrally.com over the weekend while the Southern Star and C103 Radio who are official media partners for the event will be providing information up to and during the rally. Cork Motor Club would like to thank the Clonakilty Park Hotel for their continued support as title sponsor as well as associate sponsors Jim Davis & Co Builders Ltd and Clonakilty Blackpudding.
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