ITRC: Killarney: Rally of the Lakes preview

Ordnance Survey Ireland/Gleneagle Hotel. 2002 International Rally of the Lakes. Killarney awaits tarmac titans. Killarney will play host to Ireland's leading drivers on the 4th and 5th of May next, when the Ordnance Survey Ireland/Gleneagle ...

Ordnance Survey Ireland/Gleneagle Hotel.
2002 International Rally of the Lakes.

Killarney awaits tarmac titans.

Killarney will play host to Ireland's leading drivers on the 4th and 5th of May next, when the Ordnance Survey Ireland/Gleneagle Hotel International Rally of the Lakes returns to the sporting calendar, following a year's absence enforced by the Foot and Mouth scare. The event is the second round of the Toshiba Computers Tarmac Rally Championship, the 'premiership' of Irish rallying, and is one of the sport's greatest prizes. The accolade of victory on the 'Lakes' is virtually unrivaled by that of any other rally on this island, and it will be fought over on this occasion by names such as Andrew Nesbitt, Austin McHale, Derek McGarrity, Daniel Doherty and Eamonn Boland.

The Circuit of Ireland Rally during Easter opened the Tarmac season, and it saw Andrew Nesbitt take a dominant victory in his Subaru Ireland/Cuisine de France Impreza WRC P2000. The Armagh man will be anxious to erase the memory of the 2000 Rally of the Lakes, which saw him retire while holding a comfortable lead, when his car ran out of fuel as a result of a faulty filler gauge.

Derek McGarrity, Daniel Doherty and Eamonn Boland will also be Subaru mounted, the latter with the latest 44S model. All will be eager to deprive Nesbitt of victory in Killarney, as will Austin McHale, who debuted his recently acquired, left-hand drive, Toyota Corolla WRC on the Circuit.

Those vying for local honour will include Killarney & District Motor Club members, Donie O'Sullivan, Johnny O'Sullivan, Denis Cronin and Tom Randles.

The rally will commence at 9am on Saturday morning, when the first car will leave the Start Ramp at the Gleneagle Hotel Nine stages are undertaken on both Saturday and Sunday. The opening stage on both days of the event will be Molls Gap, and the crew recording the fastest time over 'The Gap' will be awarded the Bertie Fisher Memorial Cup. The new award is a fitting honour to the multiple Rally of the Lakes winner, who himself held the Molls Gap record for a number of years.

The remaining Saturday stages will be in close proximity to Killarney and Killorglin, including a new stage at Knockacullig, plus Kilgobnet, Caragh Lake and a revised version of Rockfield.

The Sunday route will be similar to that of the 2000 Rally of the Lakes. The Tim Healy Pass and Kilmackillogue will precede new versions of Lough Allua and Fuhiry, with one run over Borlin also on the itinery. The winning crew will return to the Gleneagle at 5.30pm on Sunday evening.

An added attraction on this occasion for the expected thousands of spectators, will be the presence of classic rally cars such as the Audi Quattro Sport, Lancia 037, Ford RS200 and Porsche 911SC RS, which will run as Course Cars for the organisers ahead of the main field. Three times former winner of the Rally of the Lakes, Billy Coleman, will drive Course Car 001, an Audi Quattro A2, on selected stages.

These machines date from the 'Group B' era of the mid-1980s, and were some of the most spectacular rally cars ever to grace the stages of the World Rally Championship. There will be an opportunity to examine them at close quarters at the Supercar Show, which will be held at Ireland's National Events Centre, Killarney, on Friday 3rd May, from 8.30pm to 11pm. Admission proceeds will go to the Special Olympics Fund. The INEC is adjacent to the Gleneagle Hotel, Headquarters of the Rally of the Lakes.

The Ordnance Survey Ireland/Gleneagle Hotel International Rally of the Lakes is organised by Killarney & District Motor Club, and is sanctioned by Motorsport Ireland and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. The event is the second round of both the Toshiba Computers Tarmac Rally Championship and the 023 Tiles Southern Four Rally Championship.

-itrc-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Austin McHale