UK: 2004 Southern 4 Championship preview

After the highs of 2003, the 2004 023 Tiles Southern 4 Championship is already looking to be a cracker. Run over five rounds with the best 4 to count, the Quality Hotels West Cork Rally is once again the opening round of the championship. For...

After the highs of 2003, the 2004 023 Tiles Southern 4 Championship is already looking to be a cracker. Run over five rounds with the best 4 to count, the Quality Hotels West Cork Rally is once again the opening round of the championship. For 2004, 023 TILES, Bandon and Cork continue as title sponsor, and the Raven's Rock rally joins the championship for the first time.

Dunmanway based Liam McCarthy won the 2003 Championship by the slightest margin - level on Points with Maurice Gass, McCarthy had an extra 1 point score. Both are returning to the championship, Gass with a new Hyundai World Rally Car, and along with a host of other drivers are all looking to take the 2004 title.

Third last year and a former winner of the Championship Denis Cronin has upgraded to four wheel drive and must again be about the favourites for the Championship. 2000 Champion Johnny O'Sullivan will also be making a comeback this weekend, with fellow Killarney driver Donie O'Sullivan bringing a Focus WRC to the championship.

The 1600 Award became one of the most sought after trophies on last year's 023 Tiles Southern 4 championship. Open to cars in classes 1,2,5,6,9,10 & 11, Liam Cooper and Denis Delaney took the award in their Mark II Escort and are also planning to defend their title. The Cork crew will face stiff opposition from local driver "Small" Tim O'Donovan, Domonic Naughton from Limerick is a Class 6 Saxo Kit Car, and Cavan driver John Tully in his new Montune Engined Mark II.

New for 2004 will be a Group N award, with drivers should as Kieran O'Callaghan, Willie Fannin, Championship Sponser James O'Sullivan, Mark Nangle, the Civic Type-R of Kevin O'Donoghue/Joe O'Leary, and last year's class 6 winner Alan Ring are all expected to compete for this award.

Last year saw Liam Sheehan lost his Historic title to Mike Doody. Both have given their intention to compete again this year, and as always down to wire is the way the historic championship is expected to go.

Last year's winning co-driver Dermot O'Gorman will have Michael Barrable driving him on the opening round. If O'Gorman can continue his form of last year, he might prove very hard to beat for the co-drivers title in the 2004 023 Tiles Southern 4 Championship.

Championship Rounds
Round 1 - March 13/14 - West Cork Rally
Round 2 - May 1/2 - Rally of the Lakes
Round 3 - June 27 - Raven's Rock Rally
Round 4 - October 2/3 - Cork 20 Rally
Round 5 - October 24 - Fastnet Rally

-s4rc-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Alan Ring