Statoil Galway International Car Rally

SCENE IS SET FOR STATOIL GALWAY INTERNATIONAL CAR RALLY Galway Motor Club sets the scene for the big Statoil Galway International car rally scheduled to take place on the earlier weekend of February 5th/6th/7th, 1999. Last year's winner...

SCENE IS SET FOR STATOIL GALWAY INTERNATIONAL CAR RALLY

Galway Motor Club sets the scene for the big Statoil Galway International car rally scheduled to take place on the earlier weekend of February 5th/6th/7th, 1999. Last year's winner Austin McHale is expected to contest his trusty Toyota Celica GT4 against the Toughmac/Subaru Ireland Impreza of Bertie Fisher; Celica GT4s of Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien, Armagh; Derek McGarrity/Victor Carruthers, Glengormley; Gavin Harris/Shaun Lafferty, Convoy; Charles Mavitty/ Barry Goodman, Enniskillen; and Thomas Mullen/ Clement Devaney from Sligo.

Ford Escort WRCs are the cars for Eamonn Boland from Wexford, the Statoil-backed WRC of Stephen Murphy from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow; Ray Breen/ Podge Newe from Slieverue, Waterford; and Pete Doughty/Lyn Jenkins of Nottingham. The 1980 and 1982 winner Jimmy McRae will again have a four wheel drive Porsche 911 4wd co-driven by Chris Patterson.

This will be the sixth year of Statoil's sponsorship of the first round of the Toshiba Equium Irish Rally Championship, which will again feature a 'rolling loop' system of stages for 1999. Crews will check in for scrutiny at Leisureland, Salthill on Friday evening from 3.00pm to 9.00pm. The competition will start from Eyre Square in the heart of Galway on Saturday morning, February 6th. That day the competitors will cover nine stages near Tuam in north Co Galway before returning to Galway for an overnight halt.

The Sunday restart has been brought forward, with service on the coast road between Oranmore and Galway from 9.40am, prior to tackling the famous Dyke Road spectator stage in the heart of Galway city. After that it is south towards Gort for eight more stages, and the first car is due back to Eyre Square finish arch on Sunday evening at 5.30pm. Progress of the Statoil Galway International rally may be checked on the Galway MC Website http://www.iol.ie/~jordane/. The Statoil Galway International rally will be shewn on TnaG (Teilifís na Gaeilge) on Saturday February 6th and Sunday 7th at 10.00pm each night. The popular RPM Motorsport programme returns to the screens with a 50 minute feature on the event on UTV on Thursday February 18th at 23.30 (11.30pm), repeated on Saturday 20th at 13.30 (1.30pm). A 'first' for Irish television will be its coverage on TV3 also on Saturday 20th at 16.00 (4.00pm), repeated on TV3 on Sunday February 21st at 23.30 (11.30pm). There will also be showings on Sky Sports 2, billed as "Motorsports" at times to be announced, approximately two weeks after the event.

The top dozen crews include

DRIVER                   CO-DRIVER                CLASS/CAR                LOCATION
1  Austin McHale   Brian Murphy                13        Celica GT4         Rathcoole        
2  Toughmac/Subaru Ireland
   Bertie Fisher   Rory Kennedy                A8        Impreza                Ballinamallard        
3  Ian Greer           Dean        Beckett                A8        Celica GT4        Hillsborough        
4  Andrew Nesbitt  James O'Brien        A8        Impreza                Armagh        
5  Eamonn Boland   Damien Morrissey        A8        Escort WRC        Wexford        
6  Stephen Murphy  Michael Morrissey        A8        Escort WRC        Bagenalstown        
7  Pete        Doughty    Lyn Jenkins                A8        Escort WRC        Nottingham        
8  James Cullen           Ellen Morgan                                        Letterkenny        
9  David Greer     Michael Reid                A8        Celica GT4        Carryduff        
10 Jimmy McRae           Chris Patterson        13        Porsche 911 4wd Lanarkshire        
11 Derek McGarrity Victor Carruthers        A8        Impreza                Glengormley        
12 Ray        Breen           Podge Newe                A8        Escort WRC        Slieverue        

British entries so far confirmed include DRIVER CO-DRIVER CLASS/CAR LOCATION Russell Brown Jack Cooke 11 Astra Keighley Bob Fowden Jerry Hynes 13 Escort Cosworth Llanelli Pete Doughty Lyn Jenkins A8 Escort WRC Nottingham Martin Melsome-Smith Colin Watson 13 Mazda 323T Keighley Jimmy McRae Chris Patterson 13 Porsche 911 4wd Lanarkshire Paul Fuchs Deklan McCoy 13 Porsche 911RSR Cirencester

Historic entries include Martin Boyle Mark Gowan Anglia Ballymoney John P Hughes Jonathan Beattie C2 RS 2000 Killylea Mervyn Johnston B2 Cooper S Fermanagh John Keatley Maurice Beckett B5 Porsche 911 Magherafelt Philip McDowell Gordon Buckley B3 Cortina Mk2 Bangor Dessie Nutt Geraldine McBride B5 Porsche 911 Castlerock Joe Pat O'Kane Judy Hewitt C1 Avenger Magherafelt

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