The overall title may have been decided, but the battle is still very much on as the M.E.Crowe Northern Ireland Rally Championship heads into the forests of County Antrim for the grand finale--.the Toshiba Rally. Ten classic forestry stages...
The overall title may have been decided, but the battle is still very much on as the M.E.Crowe Northern Ireland Rally Championship heads into the forests of County Antrim for the grand finale--.the Toshiba Rally.
Ten classic forestry stages await the 98 entries on Saturday November 2, and Mid-Antrim Motor Club have put together what promises to be a superb event for competitors and spectators alike--.as usual.
In recent years the Toshiba has become a 'flagship' event and this year the entry reflects this.
Derek McGarrity, already confirmed as this years Champion starts at No 1. Officially he's entered in a Ford Focus - an indication of future plans perhaps ? - but in fact he is more likely to rely on a Subaru Impreza for this final appearance of 2002.
Robbie McGurk, fresh from his successful run in Co Tyrone is certainly Impreza-mounted at No 2, while another Subaru for Robert Woodside is down to start at No 3, although the latest news is that he will give this one a miss.
Eugene Donnelly, now locked in a battle with Stephen Whitford for the runner-up position ion the Championship is at No 4 with his Celica ahead of the Escorts of Trevor Moore, Glenn Allen and Dominic McNeill.
Kevin O'Kane's Subaru and George Robinson's Escort come next while, completing the top ten is tarmac specialist Eamonn Boland with his 'new shape' Impreza WRC, making a welcome return to the Toshiba.
And the list goes on. Whitford's Evo 6 is the topo GpN seed ane he starts ahead of Denis Biggerstaff in the evergreen Metro 6R4 with Raymond Mason's GpN Impreza next.
Further back there's a whole galaxy of stars, including Toshiba Managing Director Alan Thompson who will start his Mitsubishi Evo 5 at No 48, proving that there's more to rally sponsorship than simply writing cheques !
Rally Headquarters are at the Tullyglass House Hotel in Ballymena where the first car will leave the start ramp at 9.30am, returning late in the afternoon after a day in the testing North Antrim forests. Service will be based at Glenariff Forest Park.
In all, it promises to be an exciting day, and a fitting finale to what has proved to be a highly successful Championship.