Just two rounds now remain to be completed in the 2000 Dunlop National Rally Championship. The penultimate event is the Tom Hogan Motors Clare Stages Rally, which will take place on September 3rd. The Garda Rally Team crew of Donal O'Donovan and...
Just two rounds now remain to be completed in the 2000 Dunlop National Rally Championship. The penultimate event is the Tom Hogan Motors Clare Stages Rally, which will take place on September 3rd. The Garda Rally Team crew of Donal O'Donovan and Pat Lordan are heading to the Ennis-based event in a positive frame of mind, following a string of good results in the preceding three rounds.
The eircom net / Oki Systems Toyota Celica brought O'Donovan and Lordan to second place on the most recent event in the National series, the Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally. They claimed maximum Championship points, as the rally winner, Frank Meagher, was not registered, and the result promoted them to fifth in the overall standings. Indeed, the Tipperary result, allied to second place finishes on the two previous rounds, the Circuit of Munster and Sligo Rallies, has seen the Garda Rally Team crew jump nine places up the Championship leaderboard.
Despite the recent successes, O'Donovan sees fourth position in the 2000 Championship as the most realistic goal. He commented: "Obviously, either Niall Maguire or Paul Harris will win overall, and Tim McNulty is safe enough in third, once he finishes the last two events in or around the top five. Patrick Elliot is five points ahead of us on the board, but he has scored in all eight events so far, and he must start dropping his worst scores from now on. Denis Cronin is only one point behind us, and George Cullen isn't too far away either. It's going to be very close."
The Clare Stages Rally is based in the West Country Hotel near Ennis. All the regular National Championship contenders will be in attendance, and they will be joined by Tarmac Championship regulars, Austin McHale and Eamonn Boland. McHale is the No.1 seed in his Toyota Corolla WRC (which also sports the colours of eircom net), while Boland brings his new Subaru Impreza WRC99/2000.
Follow the progress of the Garda Rally Team at www.rallyteamireland.com.
<pre> Motorsport Ireland 2000 Dunlop National Rally Championship Positions after eight of ten rounds
1. Niall Maguire 101 2. Paul Harris 98 3. Tim McNulty 84 4. Patrick Elliot 74 5. Donal O'Donovan 69 6. Denis Cronin 68 7. George Cullen 61 8. Joe MacHugh 57 9. Ray Breen 50 10. Anthony O'Halloran 42