Irish Rally news 2003-03-02

Full ahead for 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship. After 5 rallies, 4 bank-holiday weekends, a top 3, a 2 wheel drive award and 1 great night for all the prize winners, the 2002 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship will certainly be ...

Full ahead for 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship.

After 5 rallies, 4 bank-holiday weekends, a top 3, a 2 wheel drive award and 1 great night for all the prize winners, the 2002 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship will certainly be remembered for a long time to come. Ollie O'Donovan & David Moynihan took the honours in a championship that went down to the wire.

The counting rounds for the 2003 championship remain the same as last year with the opening round being the West Cork Rally on 15-16 March. Round 2 will be the Rally of the Lakes on 3-4 of May. On June the 1st the action moves to Co. Limerick for the Circuit of Munster rally. Again the 4th round will be the Cork 20 rally, which will take place over the weekend of October 4-5th with the final round being the Fastnet Rally on the 26th of October.

As 4 of the five rounds taking place on Bank Holiday weekends, the social side of the championship will certainly be one not to miss.

Last year James O'Sullivan's 023 Tiles (Cork & Bandon) took over as title sponsors for the Southern 4 Championship. A very quick competitor himself, James's input is hugely beneficial to the championship from a financial and supportive role, and we are delighted to have him on board again this year.

The classes for the championship will remain as per Motorsport Ireland's structure, with an additional class for historic competitors. As well 1st, 2nd, & 3rd in each class & overall, there will be additional awards for the highest placed 2WD car and a new award for the highest placed 1600 car in the overall standing.

The expectation is for this year's 2 wheel drive award to be hard fought, with former overall champion Denis Cronin and Killarney based Donie O'Sullivan both in BMW M3s expected to fight it out with the Escorts of 2002 2WD award winner Leonard Downey, Mick Walsh, Diarmuid Koehane & the spectacular David James. Rumours suggest championship sponsor James O'Sullivan may be using a 2.0ltr Escort and could be another in with a shout of the award.

In a class dominated by immaculately presented Mk I Escorts, Double Historic champions, Liam Sheehan and Martin Cronin from Castletownbere will be aiming to make it 3 in a row.

Last year Tommy Graham made the early running talking maximum points from the West Cork Rally. Donie O'Sullivan then in the Gp N Subaru took the top points in Killarney with Ollie O'Donovan taking the maximum points in Limerick and Cork. Liam McCarthy maximum points on the Fastnet could be sign of what to expect in 2003 from the Dunmanway driver.

Barry Coleman/Greg McCarthy are expected to use a Subaru World Rally Car on this year's championship as is regular national driver Michael Barrable with co-driver Dermot O'Gorman, who have expressed an interest in this popular championship.

2003 023 Tiles Southern 4 Rally Championship
1. Mar 15-16 West Cork Rally
2. May 3-4 International Rally of the Lakes
3 .Jun 1 Circuit of Munster (Limerick)
4. Oct 4-5 Cork '20' International Rally
5. Oct 26 Fastnet Rally

-www.irish-rallying.com

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Series Other rally
Drivers Ollie O'Donovan