Donegal’s Declan Boyle begin the defence of his National Rally Championship which begins this Sunday with the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel Rally.
Sunday’s rally is the first of the eight rounds of the championship which this year is being sponsored by Triton Showers.
Boyle, with his cousin Brian Boyle calling the notes, have won the championships for the last two seasons, is bidding for a three in-a-row. This is something that has never been done before. He faces a tough field on Sunday with his fellow county man Donagh Kelly in a Ford Focus WRC; Garry Jennings in a Subaru WRC, with Rory Kennedy sitting alongside him, and Darren Gass, also in a Subaru, the other big names in a top class field.
The field also contains Clonmel’s Roy White, the only non-WRC car in the top ten - who has finished in the top three of the national series for the past two seasons.
Former National champion Peadar Hurson is also on the; the Warrenpoint driver who won the title in an Opel Ascona 400 will compete in a Subaru WRC.
Maynooth’s Kevin Barrett and managing director of Triton Showers, occupies the number seven berth in his S14 Subaru WRC.
The top ten is completed by overseas pair John Stone (Skoda Fabia WRC) and Steve Wood (Subaru WRC) and former triple National champion, Monaghan’s Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC). Ardara’s Declan Gallagher with Ryan Moore in the co-drivers seat will debut the new Toyota GT86 R3 car in Abbeyleix. Gallagher is a former winner of the two-wheel rally.ie category in the national series.
European Rally Championship front-runner Craig Breen will compete in a Mk. 2 Ford Escort where opposition in the Modified category is also hugely impressive.
The Lettterkenny combination of Brian Brogan and Damien McGettigan will head the Donegal challenge in this category.
The rally will be based at the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel. Scrutiny takes place on Saturday afternoon at Oliver Stanley’s Service Station, Cork Road, Durrow.