Donegal rally driver Declan Boyle is bidding to get his Triton Showers National Rally Championship ambitions back on track this Sunday in the Trim based Smartpart ALMC Rally.
It’s a crucial event for former double champion and top seed Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC).
The Donegal driver has three non-finishes to his credit and with the series based on the best six from eight events.
in reality he has no room for any further error. His only point’s haul so far was on the Circuit of Kerry where he took a 20 points for victory and two from the Power Stage.
While there is no doubting his pace, a lack of reliability has put a third title in jeopardy. On the last round in Cavan he led entering the final loop but retired with an alternator problem.
It’s a huge task for Boyle, who also needs the extra three points for winning the Power Stage so he can begin to close the deficit to series leader Roy White.
In stark contrast White has scored in all four rounds to date and while overall victory has eluded the Clonmel driver thus far he has taken the maximum 23 points in Carlow and Cavan where the respective winners (Manus Kelly and Sam Moffett) were not registered for the Triton Showers series.
Although he has a 15-point lead it is far too early to speak of a first title given the very fickle nature of the sport while the likes of former champions Niall Maguire and Peadar Hurson are still very much in the title hunt when dropped scores are taken into consideration.
Maguire is having one of his better seasons in recent years and claimed twenty points in Cavan – his best of the current season. In Trim, he will revert to his S12B Subaru.
The nine-stage rally will represent Peadar Hurson’s second outing in his recently acquired S12B Subaru. The Warrenpoint driver took time to get the grips with his new surroundings and he will be expected to mount a more serious challenge this time around.
Meanwhile, having crashed out of fourth place in Cavan, Daragh O’Riordan (Ford Fiesta WRC) returns to the fray, the Cork driver has appeared in three rounds so far but only registered in Carlow where he gleamed nineteen Triton points.
Welsh ace Hugh Hunter (Subaru WRC) heads the overseas contingent, he has experienced the National series in previous years and won the Galway Summer Rally in 2013.
It will be interesting to see how his pace compares with the Triton regulars. It will be similar for the likes of Manchester driver Steve Simpson (Subaru WRC) and Melvyn Evans (Subaru WRC), the only overseas to have won the magnificent Vard Memorial Trophy, who will be keen to renew rivalry with the Irish drivers. Welshman Damian Cole (Ford Fiesta WRC), who leads the British series, occupies the number nine spot in a top ten that is completed by Maynooth’s Kevin Barrett in the Triton Showers liveried Subaru WRC.