A case of third time lucky as the FAAC Simply automatic/Sligo Park Hotel Rally finally takes place this Sunday. Following the much-publicised cancelations last July and after discussions with the sport’s governing body, Motorsport Ireland and all the Sligo stakeholders it was decided to re-schedule the rally for this weekend.
Clerk of the course Robert Lyttle explained the situation, he told the Sligo Champion, “When neither the original date, nor the proposed second date in July materialised, I took it that the Sligo Stages Rally was not going to happen this year. However, Motorsport Ireland and the Triton Showers National Championship Sub-Committee were both very keen to have the event take place and began investigating if an alternative date could be found to accommodate our event.”
He added, “Thanks to their efforts and to the co-operation of the various parties involved this weekend’s date (September 2nd.) was proposed. We liaised with the Sligo County Council, the Garda Siochana and the stage residents to get agreement for this date and again we got tremendous support and encouragement to proceed.”
The experienced motorsport organiser added that his team at the Connacht Motor Club were on board immediatley putting all the necessary elements of the rally in place.
Of course the date change has seen a somewhat different entry as the new date suited some but not all those that had originally intended to compete last July. Robert concluded, “We are optimistic that we will reach close to the 114 crews that had entered for the July event.
I wish to thank all parties involved for their support and co-operation which has enabled us to achieve this revised date and look forward to a safe and successful FAAC Simply automatic/Sligo Park Hotel Sligo Rally this weekend.”
Last year’s Triton Showers National Rally champion Monaghan’s Sam Moffett is the top seed in his Ford Fiesta R5. He won the series on last year’s event here in Sligo and then went on to win the Irish Tarmac Championship and the Irish Forestry series to become the first driver to win all three championships in the same season.
Meanwhile, this year’s Triton campaign is shaping up to be a battle between Sam’s younger brother Josh and Donegal’s Declan Boyle, both in Ford Fiesta WRC’s. The series is decided on the best six scores from seven events and while Boyle has an 18 point lead at present, when the dropped score rule is applied they are actually level on points.
Josh Moffett won the last round, the Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally in Clonmel, it was a back-to back championship win as he also won the previous round in Cavan. Boyle, second in Tipperay, will be keen to get back to winning ways in Sligo and not allow the balance of power to slip to Moffett. The one aspect in Boyle’s favour is that he has scored in all five rounds to date while Moffett missed the Circuit of Kerry and therefore, cannot afford to have a non-finish.
Donegal’s Joe McGonigle (Mini WRC), while not on the same pace as Moffett and Boyle has shown great consistencty all season, he is also on the entry along with former triple national champion and indeed Sligo Rally winner Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC).
Donegal’s Stuart Darcy (Darrian T90) is the top two-wheel drive competitor and he will renew rivalry with Cavan’s Chris Armstrong (Ford Escort) as they chase the rally.ie category within the Triton series that is awarded for the highest placed two-wheel drive championship finisher.
The top ten also includes Louth’s Brendan Cumiskey (Skoda Fabia R5) and the Group N Mitsubishi’s of Tyrone’s Aidan Wray and Donegal’s Trevor Bustard. The showroom category also features Maynooth’s Paul Barrett (Mitsubishi EvoX), Carrick on Shannon’s Sean Gallagher, Tyrone’s Gary Cairns and Roscommon’s Colin Flanagan all in Mitsubishi EvoIX’s.
Co-sponsor, Ciaran Phelan of FAAC Simply Automatic is competing in a Honda Civic and will be co-driven by his daughter Aine while another member of the Phelan family, Cormac will campaign a Ford Escort and will be co-driven by Katja Auhl.
Local interest is also provided by Grange driver Colin Currid (Ford Escort) and his co-driver Paul Gallagher (Ford Escort), who were second in class last year and will be aiming to go one better on Sunday. Other locals include Ballinafull’s David Leonard (Mitsubishi), Ballintoher’s Brendan McCarrick (Subaru), Patrick Corcoran and Art McCarrick in Honda Civics and Patrick Herity (Escort),
Aside from being round five of the Triton series, the rally is also a counting round of both the Sligo Pallets Border Championship and the Top Part West Coast Rally
Mechanical scrutineering takes place at the Carraroe Retail Park, Sligo from 2.30pm on Saturday until 8pm. The competitors briefing that is compulsory for all crews, is scheduled for 8.45am on Sunday morning at the Sligo Park Hotel.
Organising Club: Connacht Motor Club
Clerk of the Course: Robert Lyttle.
Rally Headquarters: Sligo Park Hotel. Tel: 071 9190400
Provisional Top 10:
1. Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson (Ford Fiesta R5)
2. Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta WRC)
3. Declan Boyle/James O'Reilly (Ford Fiesta WRC)
4. Joe McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Mini WRC)
5. Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru WRC)
6. Stuart Darcy/Patrick Brides (Darrian T90)
7. Chris Armnstrong/Chris Melly (Ford Escort)
8. Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane (Skoda Fabia R5)
9. Aidan Wray/Kieran McGrath (Mitsubishi EvoX)
10. T. Bustard//John Mccafferty (Mitsubishi Evo IX)
Triton Showers National Rally Championship (Provisional Positions after Round 4): 1. D. Boyle 77pts; 2. J. Moffett 59pts J. McGonigle 58pts; 4. S. Darcy 46pts; =5. D. Kelly & R. White 42pts; 7. K. Barrett 36pts & 8. C. Armstrong 27pts.
First Car Away: 09. 45.
S.S. 1, 4 & 7: Killadoo (15.01km) 10.38; 13.09; 15.40.
S.S. 2, 5 & 8: Tullynure (13.90km) 11.10; 13.41 & 16.12
S.S. 3, 6 & 9: Kittycloghan (10.78km) 11.41; 14.12 & 16.43
Service (Union Road Business Park): 9.58; 12.14 & 14.45.
Finish Ramp: Sligo Park Hotel, 17.15.