Sligo Stages Rally takes centre stage this weekend

Sligo Stages Rally takes centre stage this weekend
The Dunlop National Rally Championship enters the second half of the season on Sunday with Sligo Park Hotel Sligo Rally.

The Dunlop National Rally Championship enters the second half of the season on Sunday with Sligo Park Hotel Sligo Rally.

It is round five of eight and the first in the province of Connacht with Donegal’s, Declan Boyle on board in his S12B Subaru WRC leading the popular series.

Last year’s Sligo Rally winner, Monaghan’s, Shane Maguire (Subaru WRC) will occupy the number one slot in his Group N Subaru, however, he will slot in behind the more powerful cars of the Dunlop contenders.

Having won three of the four rounds to date and with Welsh driver, James Belton (Subaru WRC) unable to make the journey to Sligo, Boyle has a great opportunity to tighten his grip on the Vard Memorial Trophy.

Having retired on the road section to the opening stage of the last round in Waterford, former triple national champion, Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) can improve on his current fourth place position. The Monaghan ace is 24 points adrift of top spot. “From my current position, it will be difficult to win the championship. Declan (Boyle) has made a pretty good start, with three wins out of four and his car is hard to touch.”

The fickle nature of the sport will provide Maguire with some chink of light, however, he really needs to finish ahead of Boyle in order to keep the prospect of an unprecedented fourth national title alive.

Donegal’s, Donagh Kelly in the ex-JJ Fleming Ford Focus WRC will occupy the number four berth. On his debut outing in the car he was second in the Donegal International Rally just a few weeks ago. Earlier in the season, driving a Subaru WRC, he won the Circuit of Kerry.

Dunlop National Rally Championship (Provisional Positions after Round 4): 1. D. Boyle 72pts; 2. J. Belton 62pts; 3. R. White 54pts; 4. N. Maguire 48pts; 5. J. Moffett 44pts & 6. S. Moffett 41pts.