The Circuit of Wicklow based in Laragh near Glendalough Co. Wicklow Sunday April 17th is the 3rd Round of the 2004 "McCauley Trailers" National Forest Rally Championship. Hosted by the MEC (Motor Enthusiasts' Club) the event will run 8 stages approx 50 stage miles over a loop of 4 locations repeated with centralised service in the grounds of Avondale House, Rathdrum after stages 2, 4 and 6. The event is also the 3rd Round of the Triton Showers South East Stages Championship.
Top seed Gareth McHale/ Paul Nagle (Corolla WRC) leave the start ramp at 10 o'clock Sunday Morning from the Broacagh Centre, Laragh before the opening stage at Glenmalure. McHale currently leads the "McCauley Trailers" series having won the opening two rounds and is all set to make it a hatrick in Wicklow. Second on the road and Wicklow winner in '03, John McCarthy has Francis Regan on board his Corolla WRC. McCarthy came very close to victory on round two will push hard. At 3, Kevin O'Kane/ Martin Hanna (Impreza WRC) need a result after a disappointing retirement in Mitchelstown.
Number 4 seed Glenn Allen/ Damien Connolly launched their newly acquired Corolla WRC in the Southern Forests. Glenn trails McHale by 6-points in the Championship standings and should be quick in his new mount, after his second overall in Fivemiletown. Pat Norris/ Declan Tumillty (Impreza 555) are at 5. Norris holds joint second in the Championship and has shown a lot of speed this season with the occasional FTD, finishing a consistent 3rd on both events to date. At six, Johnny McKenna/ Paddy Robinson (Evo 6) are top Gp N seed. Number 7 seed Stephen Moore/ Tony McHugh (N10 Impreza) lead the Gp N class 2-points up on McKenna. Trevor J Harding/ Charlie Boland are at 8 with a Gp A Impreza just landed from Canada.
Local crew Paul Staunton/ Bruce Burges are first 2WD at 9 in their 2.0 16v Escort. Staunton will be spectacular as he slides his way through his home forests. Patrick Elliott/ Mark Bowens round off the top ten in an Evo 8. At 11, Brian McGillin/ David Doherty (Impreza), 12 Pete McCullagh/ Alan Dolan (Evo 6). Brian Lawlor/ Peter Kavanagh have 14 on their door and will do battle with Staunton for local honours/ pride! Lawlor has been best 2WD and inside the top ten on the opening two rounds with his 2.0 16v Escort. Frank Kelly is right behind Lawlor and is another of the 2WD front-runners with very impressive results to date -- Kelly may even rattle the locals. James Coleman/ Eoin O'Neill (Escort 16v) are at 16 followed by Dublin's John Reid/ Enda Shields also in a high-powered Escort.
After Glenmalure (ss1) the event heads to Drumgoff (ss2) followed by service in Avondale house at 11:25. Next up is Ballydowling Hill (ss3) followed by the famous "Glenealy" (ss4) with lunchtime service - again in Avondale House. Back to Glenmalure and Drumgoff before a final service in Avondale House (15:30) and the sting in the tail a final run through Ballydowling Hill and Glenealy. The first competing cars are due back in Parc Ferme, Laragh (Broacagh Centre), at 5:30 pm Sunday evening followed by results/ prizegiving at The Lynham's Hotel Laragh at 7 pm.