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Nenagh Stages Rally
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Pre Start Saturday - Saturday @ 18:17:19

RALLY NEWS NO.1 Abbey Court Hotel HQ/Saturday evening

Today’s rally marks the start of another National Championship season and there is a great array of cars setting out from Nenagh’s Abbey Court Hotel to do battle over the stages through the NorthTipperary countryside. Leading the cars away will be three times former National Rally Champion Niall Maguire in his Subaru WRC with four WRC Impreza’s running behind. Then it’s the GpN machines of Kevin Kelleher and Aidan Bourke followed by a horde of ‘quick men’ in their Escorts, meaning a great variety of cars at the front of the field.

There have been a few withdrawals from the top end of the entry list – Patrick Elliott, Garry Jennings, Thomas Fitzmaurice and Trevor Bustard all having gone from the top ten. However, there is plenty of quality as well as quantity left in the entry.

Niall Maguire told us that he has had the engine of his Subaru rebuilt over the winter and has just done a few kilometres around the roads at home to make sure everything is working. He reckons he might be a bit rusty, not having driven any stages since the Skibbereen rally last year. Kevin Barrett at No.3 on the other hand, had a good run on the recent Galway rally, his Impreza only needed a check over, and Kevin reckons he should be able to “get out of the blocks early!” Derek McGarrity should also be sharp from the word go, the Glengormley man having won the opening round of the NI C/ship, the Pedro Pet Food stages at Kirkistown yesterday. Running at No.5 today is Welshman Melvyn Evans. His Impreza, the 12b model, has had a good check over but Melvyn reckons he still has a lot to learn about this car.

West Cork man Kevin Kelleher at No.6 has the new 33mm restrictor fitted to his GpN Lancer. Kevin has been testing at Mullaghanish and feels that the new restrictor gives the car a lot more go. Ironically Kevin’s big opposition today will come from Aidan Bourke, who drives Kevin’s ‘other’ Lancer! Aidan is the local man and should have a good feel for the roads, although he hasn’t been rallying for a couple of years.

Mike Quinn at 11 in his Escort heads the modified section. Mike, who won the modified section in the Championship last season, has new springs fitted to his Escort and is raring to get at the stages. He will almost certainly be facing tough opposition. Just a few of the very quick Escort men behind him are - Trevor Mulligan, Manus Kelly and Daniel McKenna. The pace will almost certainly be frantic. Daniel, who has notched up a couple of wins recently, has geared his Escort up to reduce wheelspin and give him an extra 10mph top speed, which could suit well on these stages, some of which were used on old Circuit of Ireland events. A dark horse may be another Welsh visitor, Washington James. His Darrian could be phenomenally quick here, although the crests and bumps could prove a handful in the Darrian. Cloughjordan man David Percy is in a race against time to get his Escort F2 ready and we will not really know until the flag drops if he is going to get started.

As well as the main field there is a Historic section of just under 10 entries and also 16 Juniors. Todd Falvey in his Porsche 911 heads the Historic entry and Kevin O’Connor in his Citroen C2R2 heads the Juniors.

We mentioned above a few of the non-starters, (Elliott, Jennings, Bustard & Fitzmaurice). Further non-starters include John O’Donnell and Paul McEnroe. Changes to co-driver include Barry Goodman sitting with Niall Maguire, Adrian Deasy with Kevin Kelleher and John Burke with Richard Burke at No.29 in the Impreza. Also non-starting is Wicklow’s Lloyd Hutchinson. His father died on Friday and we offer our deepest condolences at this sad time. More news in morning: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

2018 Patterson Agencies

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