Killarney Forest Rally, round six preview

The final round of the 2003 KBB Doors National Forest Rally Championship takes place in Castleisland this Sunday 7th September. Organised by Killarney & District Motor Club the event is based at the River Island Hotel, Castleisland. Clerk of the...

The final round of the 2003 KBB Doors National Forest Rally Championship takes place in Castleisland this Sunday 7th September. Organised by Killarney & District Motor Club the event is based at the River Island Hotel, Castleisland. Clerk of the Course, Dave Slattery and his team have put together a route similar to last year's event, with stages in the Mullaghreirk and Mount Eagle Forests. The first car starts from the mart in Castleisland at 10:00 on Sunday morning the crews will tackle a loop of 3 stages before a 1 hr service at 12:30 in Abbeyfeale (Limerick rd industrial estate), then repeating the same loop of stages. The first car is due at the finish ramp outside The River Island Hotel, Castleisland at 16:30.

The Championship battle for overall honours is set to go down to the wire with only a handful of points separating the top six. Kevin O'Kane/ Francis Regan (Impreza 555) 85 points, Eddie Kinirons/ Greg Shinnors (Celica GT4) 75 points, John Shanahan/ Liam McLaughlin (Impreza Gp N) 73 points and Kevin Lynch/ Martin McNicholl (Impreza WRC) 72 points, John Donnelly/ Greg McCarthy (Escort WRC) 63 points and John McCarthy/ Dan Maguire (Impreza 555) 62 points are the main contenders for the 2003 title, with 6 good long stages the competition will be intense as the season reaches a close.

Eddie Kinirons looks best on paper when drop scores comes into play (best 5 out of 6) he only has to stay on the road and keep Kevin O'Kane at bay, this often easier said than done as Eddie is going against the clock to have his Celica ready after a roll on the previous round. Former champion Kevin O'Kane has been consistent finishing every round this season and may clinch the title once more. Kevin Lynch now well in form with his WRC was second on the last two rounds and recently won his home event "The Dogleap" a round of the NI championship, so victory down south is not far away.

John McCarthy dominated the series until mechanical failure on home soil (round 4) then disaster struck on Cork 2 day, when like Kinirons he rolled out. McCarthy is virtually out of the running but is coming to Kerry for a win in the hope of getting back on top. Dermot Kelly/ John Brennan (Escort WRC) have had a troublesome season and like McCarthy come to Kerry for a win. Dominic McNeill/ Francis Kenny (Escort WRC) while not contesting the championship will adopt their usual flat out approach.

John Shanahan/ Liam McLaughlin (Impreza Gp N) have won class 8 (Gp N 4WD) with five maximum scores. Gus Kearney/ Owen O'Neill (206) lead class 6. Allen Treacy/ Michael Coakley (Corolla) will battle with John Reid (Mk2) and James Coleman (Mk2) for class 4. Brian Lawlor/ Peter Kavanagh (Mk2) look good for class 3. Class 2, is another battle set to go all the way to the last bend of the last stage, Billy O'Connell/ Derek Power (Mk2 16v) 36 points and Alan Mulcahy (Starlet 16v) 34 points. Class 1 also has to be decided, John Carroll (Ka) 35 points and Lyod Hutchinson (Mini) 30 points with Aidan Jackson (Nova) close behind on 27 points.

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Series Other rally
Drivers Francis Regan , John McCarthy , James Cole , Owen O'Neill