West Cork Hotel Skibbereen Fastnet Stages Rally 2010
With a mere two weeks to go to the 2010 West Cork Hotel Fastnet Rally, the stage is set for what promises to be a thrilling battle which covers 145 competitive stage kilometers.To date a very strong field has presented itself and with entries extended untill Saturday the 23rd of October this rally is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested rounds on the national rally calender this year.
After sealing up the 2010 Dunlop National Rally Championship on the penultimate round in Clare September last, Welsh man, Melvyn Evans returns to the Emerald Isle in search of his first Fastnet win after finishing 11 seconds in arrears to event victor Denis Cronin last year.
Denis is also back at the wheel of his 99 spec Subaru Impreza WRC aiming for his 3rd Fastnet victory after a stunning display in this years Killarney Rally of the Lakes where he took first overall amidst the cream of Irish rallying.
Another Dunlop regular in the hunt for victory is Monaghans Niall Maguire at the helm of his S11 Impreza.A trouble free run could see the 3 time national champion at the top of the results come Sunday evening.
Kevin Barrett is another man who cannot be discounted from the tussle for first with him making the return journey to Skibbereen along with Midletons Darragh O Riordan who has been showing impressive progress throughout his first season in a World Rally Car with 3rd overall on the Donegal International Rally, 4th in the West Cork Rally and 5th on the Circuit of Ireland.
To round off the WRC entries to date is UK ace Damian Cole in a WRC Focus fresh from his Wexford Stages win in September.
Notable GRP N entrants to date is local man Kevin Kelleher in an Evo 9 along with Thomas Fitzmaurice(Evo 9) & 2009 GRP N Irish Tarmac Champion Jer O Donovan, who are all set to do battle on the October Bank Holiday weekend.Monaghans Shane Maguire and Sean Flanagan will also come to Skibbereen to fight for the Patterson Rally News GRP N crown along with aiming to be on the top step of the GRP N podium come Sunday evening.
Among the 2wd entrants is the Southern 4 Championship leaders, Ed O Callaghan and Brian O Mahony respectively.Ed leads the championship approaching the last round by 18 points from O Mahony in his S1600 Renault Clio.In the run up to the Cork "20" International, the Escort ace held a slender one point advantage over the Carrigaline man, but after Brians early exit due to a faulty brake caliper, Ed extended his lead to have the upper hand heading to Skibbereen.With a maximum score of 20 points available, its all to play for in the final round.
Also in the modified mix is Welsh man John Dalton piloting his 330bhp Darrian T90.A dry day will see this man very hard caught but damp conditions could result with either Ed O Callaghan, Brian O Mahony, Damien Mc Carthy or BHRC regular Julian Reynolds on the 2wd podium amongst many more capable modified men.
But there is one thing for sure, with entries remaining open untill the Saturday of the event, many more of Irelands top competitors will decend on Skibbereen for what promises to be one hell of a rally.So get to Cork for the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend to witness some of the finest drivers from home and abroad do battle over the boreens and by-roads of the beautifull south west!
2010 Fastnet Stages Rally info ---> skibbdcc.com