After an enforced break due to the extremely warm conditions, the Triton Showers National Rally Championship resumes on Sunday with the Fanning Motor Factors Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally in Clonmel, round four of the seven round campaign. It’s some eleven weeks since the last round in Cavan where Monaghan’s Josh Moffett took his first win of the season. In the meantime, the Sligo Rally fell victim to the sweltering heat and has since been re-arranged for the first Sunday in September.
Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta R5) is the top seed for Sunday’s nine stage encounter and like his championship rival, Josh Moffett will run his Ford Fiesta WRC in Class 20 after both have switched from Class 7. Boyle took victory in the opening round in Mayo and was second in Tralee and Cavan - in recent years he has lacked that type of consistency as he aims to win the national series for a record equalling third time. Moffett missed the second round and with the best six from seven rounds to count, he cannot afford any slip up that will effectively put his title bid outside of his control.
Roy White (Ford Fiesta WRC) heads the local challenge, he too has switched from Class 7 to Class 20. His only top ten finish in the current series was third in Kerry. “Yes, our championship is goosed, we were on course for a good result in Cavan to stay in the hunt but then we punctured and that was that.” However and although he is 33 points off top spot he has vowed to keep battling and will try and win an event before the end of the series. He added, “Both Declan (Boyle) and Josh (Moffett) will be tough to beat as will Niall (Maguire).”
Donegal’s Joe McGonigle (Mini WRC) has scored in all three rounds and currently lies second in the Triton series, he completes the top quartet in Clonmel.
Meanwhile, Monaghan’s Niall Maguire remains the only driver to have won three national rally championship titles but over the years, Clonmel hasn’t been a happy stomping ground, nevertheless, he could split McGonigle from the latter’s title rivals and the distribution of Triton points could be key.
Title sponsor Kevin Barrett in his Triton liveried Subaru WRC occupies the number six berth, a position he shares with White within the Triton series.
The entry also features Cork’s Daniel Cronin (Ford Fiesta R5) - the younger brother of four times British Rally champion Keith, he will be looking at a top five finish.
The top ten is completed by the two-wheel drive cars of Ian Barrett, Adrian Hetherington and Stuart Darcy.
Maynooth driver Barrett (Darrian T90 GTR) should be the pacesetter while Cavan’s Chris Armstrong (Ford Escort) and Donegal’s Stuart Darcy (Darrian T90) renew their rivalry in the quest for the rally.ieaward (highest two-wheel drive finisher in the overall standings) within the Triton campaign.
Armstrong leads the way in the Mk. 2 Champions Trophy where Tyrone’s Adrian Hetherington (Ford Escort) is eligible to score points and move up the order.
Welsh ace Tomas Davies (Ford Escort) and Wicklow’s Daniel Barry (Citroen DS3 R5) are seeded just outside the top ten, the latter is making his first competitive appearance in quite some time.
Meanwhile, in Group N, Tyrone’s Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi EvoX) will be the benchmark for the likes of Wexford’s Tomas O'Rourke (Mitsubishi EvoIX), Maynooth’s Paul Barrett (Mitsubishi EvoX) and Waterford’s Brian O'Keeffe (Mitsubishi EvoIX). Event sponsor Cahir’s Andrew Fanning will campaign a Proton Satria S2000.
Other local drivers competing are Cashel’s Paul Manton (Citroen DS3 R3), Clonmel’s Michael Ormond (Honda Civic), Kieran Hayes (Peugeot 205), Christopher Maher (Suzuki Swift), Andrew Sheehan (Honda Civic), Kieran O’Sullivan (Peugeot 205), Tom Sheehan (Opel Corsa) and Cahir duo Colum Browne (Honda Civic) and Donal Ryan (Toyota Starlet).
Rally headquarters is at the Clonmel Park Hotel with the first car away at 9am on Sunday morning. The service park is at the Powerstown Racecourse with servicing prior to the start and after stages three and six. The stage locations are Lisnamuck, Knockgraffon and Donegal, the first pair are some 15 kilometres in length and the third stage is 9.5 kilometres. The loop is repeated three times before the finish at the Clonmel Park Hotel at 5.00pm.
Organising Club: Tipperary Light Car & Motorcycle Car Club.
Clerk of the Course: John Ward.
Rally Headquarters: Clonmel Park Hotel. Tel: 052 6188700
Top 10 Starters:
1. Declan Boyle/James O'Reilly (Ford Fiesta WRC)
2. Roy White/James O'Brien (Ford Fiesta WRC)
3. Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta WRC)
4. Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Mini WRC)
5. Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru S12B WRC)
6. Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Subaru S14 WRC)
7. Daniel Cronin/Shane Buckley (Ford Fiesta R5)
8. Ian Barrett/Eoin O'Flaherty (Darrian T90 GTR+)
9. Stuart Darcy/Patrick Brides (Darrian T90)
10. Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Ford Escort)
First Car Away: 09. 00.
S.S. 1, 4 & 7: Lisnamuck (15km) - 09.40; 12.24 & 15.08.
S.S. 2, 5 & 8: Knockgraffon (15km) 10.26, 13.10 & 15.54
S.S. 3, 6 & 9: Donegal (9.5km) 11.00, 13.44 & 16.28.
Service (Powerstown Racecourse): 9.03, 11.34 & 14.18.
Finish Ramp: Clonmel Park Hotel. 17.02.
Triton Showers National Rally Championship (Provisional Positions after Round 3): 1. D. Boyle 59pts; 2. J. McGonigle 44pts; 3. D. Kelly 42pts; 4. J. Moffett 38pts; 5. S. Darcy 34pts; 6. K. Barrett & R. White 26pts; 8. N. Maguire 25pts; 9. C. Armstrong 19pts; 10. D. Henry 16pts.