West Cork Rally preview

O'Donovan hopes for home rule. The ever-popular West Cork Rally reaches a significant milestone later this morning, when the 25th such event gets underway in Clonakilty. Sixteen special stages lay in store for the 150 crews who will start the...

O'Donovan hopes for home rule.

The ever-popular West Cork Rally reaches a significant milestone later this morning, when the 25th such event gets underway in Clonakilty. Sixteen special stages lay in store for the 150 crews who will start the two-day rally. The entry list is headed by last year's winner, Melvyn Evans, who now has a Subaru Impreza in place of the Ford Escort he drove twelve months ago. Also Subaru-equipped are the second and third seeds, Eamonn Boland and Kenny McKinstry. The local challenge is headed by Donal O'Donovan and Pat Lordan in the O'Driscoll Plant & Civil Engineering/Jimmy Barry Motors Toyota Celica, who are seeded at No.4.

O'Donovan and Lordan became the first local crew to win the West Cork Rally, in 1998, so it is remarkable that this year marks their first appearance on the event since recording that historic victory. "Ideally, I would like to do the West Cork Rally every year, but over the past few seasons, Pat and I have been concentrating on the single-day National Rally Championship events", explains Donal. "We have only got back into doing the longer events recently, the Cork '20' last October was the first one we entered in a long while".

The Garda Siochana Motor Club crew finished fourth on the Cork '20' International, and will be hoping for another good result this weekend. However, Donal is reluctant to predict a repeat of the 1998 victory: "It may be too much to expect this time, there is a very strong entry there, and some of the Subarus are not far short of what you would see on the World Championship events. The Celica is giving away eight or nine years in the technology stakes to the newer cars, but we'll be trying our best".

The Quality Hotels West Cork Rally is the opening round of the 2003 023 Tiles Southern Four Rally Championship, while the results of Day 1 and Day 2 will each count as seperate rounds of the Get Connected Tarmac Rally Championship.

* The 2003 West Cork Rally will be the first multi-stage rally in Ireland to be clocked to one-tenth of a second, the organisers having developed a new timing system in conjunction with an Austrian firm, ALGE.

<pre> Top Fifteen Seeds 1 Melvyn Evans/Marc Jones Subaru Impreza WRC 2 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey Subaru Impreza WRC S8 3 Kenny McKinstry/Sean Mullally Subaru Impreza WRC99 4 Donal O'Donovan/Pat Lordan Toyota Celica 4WD Turbo 5 Bob Fowden/Jerry Hynes Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 (GpN) 6 Steve Fleck/Mark Aspinall Subaru Impreza WRC 7 Michael Barrable/Dermot O'Gorman Subaru Imprea WRC P2000 8 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy Toyota Corolla WRC 9 Pete Doughty/Tim Sturla Subaru Impreza 555 10 Denis Cronin/Helen O'Sullivan BMW M3 11 Phil Collins/Howard Davies Ford Escort RS 12 Ollie O'Donovan/David Moynihan Subaru Impreza 14 Tommy Graham/Francis Kenny Subaru Impreza WRC 15 Maurice Gass/Geoffrey Orr Subaru Impreza WRC S7 16 David Armstrong/Herbie Blackburn Ford Escort WRC

-Rallyteamireland.com

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Steve Fleck , Howard Davies , Ollie O'Donovan