Ireland Rally round five Cork Forest preview

Round 5 of the KBB Doors National Forest Rally Championship takes place over two days Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th next. Based in Mallow, this is the only two day event in the series and looks like it's going to be one to remember, with a...

Round 5 of the KBB Doors National Forest Rally Championship takes place over two days Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th next. Based in Mallow, this is the only two day event in the series and looks like it's going to be one to remember, with a capacity entry including all the Championship contenders, some of the Northern Ireland Championship front runners in state of the art WRC machines, a few overseas entries and the event is the fourth round of the Ford of Ireland Ka Championship. Cork Motor club were delighted to secure John and Sandy Corrigan of "The Windscreen Company" for the second year running as the main sponsors. John a regular forest competitor is running as a 00, Sandy is helping with paper scrutiny and driving a course car. COC John Quill and his team have put together a very competitor, spectator and media friendly package, with everything centralised around Mallow.

Cork Motor Club is a great supporter of the KBB Doors Forest Championship and has led the way over the years in implementing new ideas. In September 1999 the Cork Forest Rally was the first Forest Rally in the south to have Safety Notes (Route Notes). This was a big step forward and has since made the sport safer and more competitive. This year the club have introduced their new timing gear, making the event the first in the series to be timed to the tenth of a second. Cork Motor Club members are very good supporters of the Championship and have had a lot of success across the board over the years.

Top seed Dermot Kelly/ John Brennan (Escort WRC) return to the championship for their home event after an unlucky season so far. Dermot won the event in '97 and '00 but was forced to retire with engine trouble last year while only 3 seconds off the lead. Eddie Kinirons/ Greg Shinnors (Celica GT4) at 2 are current championship leaders and will be hoping to score some valued points. Kevin O'Kane/ Francis Regan (Impreza 555) at 3, battling for points as they hold second in the Championship. John McCarthy/ Dan Maguire (Impreza 555) at 4 will be one to watch, this East Cork pairing in the famous ex-Fisher car have won the first three rounds but were forced to retire on round 4, their home event now they need a maximum score to keep their title hopes alive. Kevin Lynch/ Martin McNicholl in the Impreza WRC P2000, holding 5th in the championship are at 5. Kevin has been adapting to the ex Richard Burns car better and better each day.

Trevor Moore/ Philip McCrea (Escort WRC) at 6 make their first trip to Cork and based on current form in the Northern Ireland Championship Trevor could be well up the leader board. Glen Allen/ John Gallagher (Escort WRC) at 7, another of the Northern front-runners. John Donnelly and club member Greg McCarthy (Escort WRC) at 8 are holding 6th in the championship. Dominic McNeill/ Francis Kenny (Escort WRC) at 9. Dominic won this event 2 years ago and will take his usual flat out approach with the famous ex Boland "Black Car." Local hero John Shanahan/ Liam McLaughlin (Impreza) at 10 currently lead Gp N in the championship, with max scores on all 4 rounds. Sunday's stages are on his doorstep so John is sure to have a go at the WRC's!

James Murphy/ Con Mulcahy (Escort GpA) are next, followed by Championship sponsor Brian McCloskey/ Damien Duffin (Escort WRC). Omagh's Paul Barrett/Dermot Colgan (15) are first 2WD in a G3 Escort. John Reid/ Brendan Greene at 16, lead class 4 in the championship and the best 2WD in the series so far. Brian Lawlor/ Peter Kavanagh at 17 lead class 3. Gus Kearney/Owen O'Neill (37) in the 206 lead class 6, Alan Mulcahy/ Karl Beauman (46) lead class 2 in a 16v starlet, Aidan Jackson/ Denis Jackson (64) are leading class 1 in a nova.

The Ford of Ireland KA Championship returns to the forests for round 4 of the championship. 16 KA's have entered, Ian Chadwick is well used to gravel. Emily O Mahoney competed on the Moonraker Forest Rally last may, so she will be on the pace. Vivian Noone won the first round this year, the Carrick Forest Rally and John Carroll is just a point off the class 1 lead in the KBB Doors series. Tommy Graham is driving a McNeill Motorsport Escort WRC and will have Skibbereen's Donnacha O Haodha on the notes. Overseas entries include Phil Morgan/ James Philips (Evo 7) and team mate Alun Evans in an Evo 6.

Scrutiny and Documentation will be from 9 o'clock on Saturday morning at Quartertown Industrial Estate (1 mile outside Mallow). Driver's briefing is at 2pm (at Parc Ferme, Quartertown Industrial Estate). First car away at 3 o'clock on Saturday, the crews will tackle six stages over 30 miles, with service near Mallow after ss3 at 5 pm. The first car is due in overnight parc ferme at 8:15 Saturday evening. Sunday is even more challenging as there are eight stages over 50 miles. The first car is away at 10 o'clock, with service the same as Saturday after ss10 at 12:15, then a repeat of the last loop of four stages. The first car is due at the finish ramp, Mallow at 3:30 Sunday afternoon. Prize giving will be at 7 pm at the Mallow Park Hotel.


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Series Other rally
Drivers Richard Burns , James Murphy , James Philip , Francis Regan , John McCarthy , Owen O'Neill