UK: Rally of the Lakes news 2004-02-27

25th Anniversary Rally of the Lakes Promises Stern Test of Tarmac Elite The Ordnance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes 2004, now just over two months away, is set to attract some of Europe's most spectacular drivers to Killarney and the ...

25th Anniversary Rally of the Lakes Promises Stern Test of Tarmac Elite

The Ordnance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes 2004, now just over two months away, is set to attract some of Europe's most spectacular drivers to Killarney and the south-west of Ireland, to decide one of the sport's most coveted titles. The rally, which takes place on May 1st and 2nd, celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year, and the organisers, Killarney & District Motor Club, are making plans to ensure that the occcasion will be a memorable celebration of the very best in Irish motorsport.

A testing route has been laid out to challenge competitors on the 2004 Rally of the Lakes, comprising of nineteen special stages in total, eleven on Day One and eight on Day Two. The format will be broadly similar to that of the 2003 event, which saw Maghera's Eugene Donnelly and co-driver, Paul Kiely, take victory ahead of the local crew of Donie O'Sullivan and Paul Nagle.

Ordnance Survey Ireland will be the main sponsor of this year's Rally of the Lakes, (as it has been since 2000), and its continued support is greatly valued by Killarney & District Motor Club. Killarney's Gleneagle Hotel will again serve as the Rally Headquarters. The Gleneagle has become an integral part of the Rally of the Lakes over the years, and vice versa. Both have progressed extensively during the last quarter-century.

Noreen Marshall will be the Clerk of the Course for the Ordanance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes 2004 . She previously served as Rally Secretary, and now takes over the COC position from her husband, Mike Marshall, who moves into the new role of Event Manager. Mike was the Clerk of the Course for the event since its inception in 1979, and his record of twenty-four years in charge of a major Irish rally is unlikely to be matched in the near future, if ever.

The 2004 Rally of the Lakes will be a round of four championships: the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship; the West Euro Cup; the 023 Tiles Southern Four Championship and the Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship.

The Pirelli Tarmac Championship is the premier rally series on this island, comprising of six International events throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, plus two further rounds in Scotland and on the Isle of Man. The 2004 Tarmac Championship is currently being led by Finland's Tapio Laukkannen, following his victory on the Galway Rally earlier this month.

The West Euro Cup has rounds in Norway, Ireland, France, The Netherlands and the Isle of Man. 2003 saw the WEC gain its first Irish champion, when Navan's Paddy White wrapped up the title on the Golden Tulip Rally in The Netherlands last September.

As the name suggests, the Southern Four Championship, is based in the southern part of Ireland, and it attracts significant support from competitors in this area. Killarney & District Motor Club members, Johnny O'Sullivan and Denis Cronin are among the past Southern Four champions.

Once again, the Ford Ireland Focus Rally Championship gets its season underway at the Rally of the Lakes. This popular one-make series is part of Ford's 'Staircase of Talent' for up and coming drivers, with the championship winner being awarded a test in a Focus World Rally Car at the end of the year.

-www.rallyofthelakes.com

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Series Other rally
Drivers Paul Nagle