Killarney Historic Stages Rally sees large entry

The 2003 edition of the Killarney Historic Stages Rally has attracted the event's largest ever entry, 180 crews having registered with the organisers, the Killarney & District Motor Club. Of this number, only 151 will be permitted to start, ...

The 2003 edition of the Killarney Historic Stages Rally has attracted the event's largest ever entry, 180 crews having registered with the organisers, the Killarney & District Motor Club. Of this number, only 151 will be permitted to start, therefore almost thirty crews have had to be placed on the reserve list. The nine stage rally, which will take place on Sunday, December 7th, is shaping up to be one of the most exciting events in Irish motorsport this year.

The Killarney Historic Stages Rally will, as always, cater for three categories of cars: Historic, Post-Historic and Classic.

In the Historic category, Dessie Nutt will attempt to extend his record of victories on this event, having been triumphant five times already, a remarkable achievement. He will be navigated on this occasion by Liz Jordan. Nutt's strongest opposition is expected to come from another former winner, John Keatley, and Steve Perez, the 2003 British Historic Rally Champion. All three will drive examples of Porsche's famous 911 model.

John Farrell, navigated by his brother, Christy, returns to defend his Post-Historic crown, but he will be pushed all the way by Martin Freestone, who has also been a winner on this event in the past. The husband and wife pairing of Ray and Elaine Cunningham should also figure strongly, as will former works Ford driver, Andrew Stokes.

The Classic category will see some local crews battle with other Irish and overseas visitors for honours. Millstreet's John Moynihan, twice a former Classic winner, returns with his Ford Escort RS. His co-driver will be James O'Brien, well known as Andrew Nesbitt's guide in the Subaru WRC on international tarmac rallies. Killarney and District Motor Club members, Tom Randles and Diarmuid Lynch, will also be in the hunt for victory, boosted by their third place finish on the recent Kerry Single Stage Rally.

Jimmy McRae will also be a major contender in the Classic section of the event. The ultra-successful Scots driver will pilot a 3-litre Porsche 911, a considerably different machine to the Subaru Impreza which he drove on the World Championship Rally of Great Britain a few weeks ago. McRae's last competitive appearance in Killarney was on the 1995 Rally of the Lakes.

The 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally will be sponsored by Randles Dromhall Hotel, (which will provide the venue for the Rally Headquarters), Connolly's Red Mills Animal Feeds, EPS Bison Environmental Products Division and Killarney Crystal.

The 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally will get underway at 8:20am on Sunday next, December 7th, when the No.1 seeds, Dessie Nutt and Liz Jordan, leave Parc Ferme, located at Killarney Racecourse. Competing crews will tackle a loop of four stages (Molls Gap, Beallaghbeama, Caragh Lake and Brookhill) twice during the day. The ninth and final stage (Coolick) will be run in darkness, creating an additional challenge for competitors before the conclusion of the event. The victorious crews are scheduled to arrive at the finish ramp at Randles Bros. Nissan in Killarney at 5:45pm.

The RNLI Valentia Lifeboat is the chosen charity to benefit from the 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally, and a donation will be made by Killarney & District Motor Club to the Lifeboat fund at the rally prizegiving on Sunday night.

Further detail regarding the 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally are available at the event's official website, www.killarneyhistoricrally.com .

The 2003 Killarney Historic Stages Rally Official Programme is now on sale at the Dromhall Hotel and numerous other locations throughout the county. Costing 10 Euros, it provides a full timetable and detailed maps of the rally route.

Top Seeds

Historic
1 Dessie Nutt/Liz Jordan (Porsche 911)
2 John Keatley/James McKeefry (Porsche 911)
3 Steve Perez/Peter Scott (Porsche 911)
4 Drexel Gillespie/Gill Cotton (Ford Lotus Cortina)
5 Philip Wylie/Jim Howe (MGB)
9 Adrian Kermode/John Coleman (Porsche 911)
11 Stephen Hall/Aggie Foster (Triumph TR4)
17 Mervyn Johnston/Richard Hyland (Mini Cooper)
18 David Holroyd/Richard Bruce (Lotus Elan)
19 Chris Green/Hilary Green (Ford Lotus Cortina)

Post Historic
6 Martin Freestone/Chris Heyes (Ford Escort)
7 John Farrell/Christy Farrell (Ford Escort)
10 Ray Cunningham/Elaine Cunningham (Mini Cooper)
12 David Stokes/Stephen Bennett (Ford Escort)
14 Sean Tracey/Paddy Flanagan (BMW Alpina)
15 Nick Whale/Kieron Patterson (Porsche 911)
16 Mike Doody/Keith Moriarty (Mini)
20 Martin Ward/Linda Conroy (Opel Manta)
21 George Tracey/Mark English (Ford Escort)
22 Liam Sheehan/Martin Cronin (Ford Escort)

Classic
85 John Moynihan/James O'Brien (Ford Escort RS)
86 Tom Randles/Diarmuid Lynch (Ford Escort RS)
87 Kieran O'Neill/Diarmuid Falvey (Opel Kadett GT/E)
88 Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James (Ford Escort RS)
89 Jimmy McRae/Campbell Roy (Porsche 911)
90 Peter Kelly/Con Lucey (Ford Escort RS)
91 James O'Sullivan/Rebecca Walsh (Ford Escort RS)
93 Douglas Richardson/Paula Richardson (Ford Escort RS)
94 Ceiros James/Patrick Kiely (Opel Manta)
95 Kevin O'Donoghue/Joe O'Leary (Ford Escort RS)

Rally Route
Start Killarney Racecourse
Stage 1 Molls Gap Service
Stage 2 Ballaghbeama
Stage 3 Caragh Lake
Stage 4 Brookhill Service
Stage 5 Moll Gap
Stage 6 Ballaghbeama
Stage 7 Caragh Lake Service
Stage 8 Brookhill Service
Stage 9 Coolick
Finish Randles Bros. Nissan, Killarney

-www.killarneyhistoricrally.com

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Series RALLY