Slick Performances Ensure Carbin Leads Valvoline Series Into Cork! Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Championship Round Four.
Round four of the 2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally, run by the Cork Motor Club has attracted an astonishing entry, as the championship kicks back into life again after its recess. With four rounds remaining, the winner of the Valvoline title is still very much in the balance. It will all be decided before the big prize-giving night in Tullamore on 26th November. “The Whistlin’ Donkeys” will be playing that night, and the winners partying! However there’s a lot of fast forestry rallying to battle through before all that!
Round four on Sunday is based in Mallow and includes a new sixteen kilometre Duhallow stage. Clerk of the Course Brian O’Connell and his team have been working hard, and once again the On the Limit Sport cameras will be there to capture the action. Championship leader is Michael Carbin in his Mitsubishi Evo 4. A maximum points haul on round three- the Tour of the Sperrins has strengthened what has been a fast and consistent start to the year in the class 20 machine, as Darragh Kelly reads the notes. The number seven seeds will be hoping it’s a lucky number on Sunday. In his Evo 8 Mitsubishi, the ever enthusiastic Ger Lucey is second in the series, despite a troubled Sperrins event, but much of the attention is focused on an array of top flight 4wd machinery!
Desi Henry with Cork co-driver in his R5 Skoda starts at number one and his recent British Championship pace makes him a hot favourite. At two is last year’s championship runner up Mick O’Brien, who feels he’s now adapted to the different driving style of his 1600cc WRC Fiesta. Local co-driver Liam Brennan will be urging him on, and he will need to as behind there is another former champion- Pat O’Connell in his Evo 9, and former Pirelli Star Driver- Mark Donnelly in his S9 Impreza WRC. Top points scorer on round one, and reigning Junior champion- Patrick O’Brien is hoping for a change in fortune after some mechanical niggles on recent outings in his Evo 9, whilst the other Mark Donnelly should be spectacular in his Ford Fiesta Super 2000. Added to this Martin Cairns in his Fiesta WRC now converted to right-hand drive, and the Corolla WRC’s of Adrian Hetherington and John Reid it could be anyone’s rally. It doesn’t even stop there as Jonny Leonard, Frank O’Brien, Cathan McCourt and Niall Henry are all on the list in their Evo’s. Not on the list this time though due to preparations for the Ulster Rally are Brendan Cumiskey and Josh Moffett.
The two-wheel drive race promises much with County Down’s John Gordon leading the points race from reigning Valvoline champion- Micky Conlon both in MK2 Escort’s. Shane McGirr with Martin McGarrity co-driving in the Starlet, will be hard to beat however, but the Escorts driven by Seamus O’Connell, David Condell and David Crossen are all capable contenders. Crossen has now Vauxhall power in his MK2, whilst despite having only 1600cc to power his Escort, local man Paul Fitzgerald is capable of some giant-killing runs.
The rallytrader.ie/ Kumho tyres Junior category winner will collect two tyres from Ears Motorsport Ireland at the end of the event. Shane Kenneally leads the championship in his MK2 Escort, but leading the Junior’s away on Sunday will be round three winner, Adam Bustard in his Fiesta R2T. The Castlederg driver, who is performing so well in the BRC faces serious opposition from the Nova of Derek Mackeral, the Corsa of David Beamish, the R2 Fiesta of Stephen Dickson and James Driver who lies second in the point’s in his Ford Ka.
Sixty kilometres of gravel stages lie ahead on Sunday, with the first car leaving Mallow at 9.30am. With over seventy cars entered, it’s proof again that the championship, the event itself and rallying in the forests is becoming ever more popular. More recent news is that the Limerick Forest Rally will make a return this year and will replace the Mayo Mini Forest Rally as the penultimate round of the Valvoline supported series.
Points after round three:
1 Michael Carbin 52
2 Gerard Lucey 43
3 John Gordon 40
4 Mickey Conlon 39
5 Brendan Cumiskey 35
6 Adrian Hetherington 32
7 David Condell 28
8 David Crossen 25
9 Patrick O'Brien 23
10 Desi Henry 22
2016 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship
Round 4: 14th August - Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally
Round 5: 3rd September - Lakeland Forest Stages Rally
Round 6: 16th October - Limerick Forest Rally
Round 7: 5th November - Glens of Antrim Forest Rally
For all the latest updates and more on the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland Irish National Forest Rally Championship please look us up on Facebook or Twitter and even more details are available on our dedicated website @ www.irishforestrally.com
F: Irish Forestry Championship
Official Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship press release issued by Andrew Bushe Promotions
F: Andrew Bushe Promotions
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