Citroen Racing Trophy Ulster Rally preview The penultimate round of the UK's Citroen Racing Trophy takes place this weekend on International NI, part of the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally, where Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly will try to make it...
Citroen Racing Trophy Ulster Rally preview
The penultimate round of the UK's Citroen Racing Trophy takes place this weekend on International NI, part of the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally, where Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly will try to make it four in a row in their bid for the 2010 title.
Whilst a win would certainly put the pressure on his nearest rival Mark Donnelly with co-driver Aiden Friel, the friendly rivalry across the Irish border could easily still go to the final round in Yorkshire in September, since the return to gravel counts for points and a half.
That said, the pace in the Antrim lanes is not likely to be diminished as the crews battle for their share of thousands of Euros in prize money. Arguably Barrable's continued run of good luck must be in question and both drivers have undoubted speed on the black stuff.
From south of the border comes another threat too, that of Joe McGonigle and Niall Burns. Burns lies second in the co-drivers' tables by virtue of changes to Donnelly's team-mate and McGonigle's position behind Australian Molly Taylor in the tables is a result of a non-finish on the Isle of Man, his pace also not in question.
Taylor and co-driving mother Coral have recent experience of the Irish lanes though, competing on this month's Stonethrowers Rally in preparation for the Ulster event. The dry asphalt was sufficient to give the 2010 Dulux Trade MSA British Ladies Rally Champion a big confidence boost for the two day rally, her second with mum alongside.
Rumours abound that the two English entries may not make the start of the rally, Richard Sykes unable to make any impression on the tables after four non-finishes and Mark Gamble struggling to overcome pre-event technical difficulties.
With Citroen's new DS3 rally car making its International debut on the Ulster Rally at the hands of experienced test driver Bryan Bouffier, the French marque will be well represented, Citroen Sport boss Fr0x00e9d0x00e9ric Bertrand even on hand to keep an eye on proceedings.
The rally is based around the Junction One Outlet Shopping Centre on the edge of Antrim, with Rally HQ at the nearby Holiday Inn Express hotel and the service area in the complex's car parks.
A ceremonial start at the historic and recently renovated Antrim Old Courthouse square will take place on Friday afternoon from 1pm, with fourteen stages between the crews and a champagne finish back in Antrim from 5pm on Saturday.