Rivals warming up for Circuit of Ireland bid
It's called the Circuit of Kerry but it could be a mini Circuit of Ireland. More than a dozen rally crews are using the opportunity of Sunday's Tralee-based Irish national championship round as last-minute preparation for the big event next week.
From the likes of former British Junior champion Marty McCormack and five-time Circuit winner Derek McGarrity to the junior factory teams of Opel and Vauxhall, they will be in action over the Kerry stages before heading north to Belfast and the start of the European championship rally on Thursday.
For McCormack, it is desperately needed mileage after his S2000 Skoda Fabia broke its transmission en route to the first stage of the Mid Wales Rally. He will be joined in the Kerry line-up by Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia) and Robert Woodside (Ford Fiesta), two more drivers keen to build up experience with their new R5 cars.
McGarrity, who heads the Circuit's National Rally line-up in his WRC Ford Fiesta, is among the top seeds for the second round of the Triton Showers Irish championship, joining the likes of Declan Boyle, Peadar Hurson, Daragh O'Riordan, Roy White and Alan Ring in a near capacity line-up. First round winner Garry Jennings is absent.
Rob Duggan leads a trio of R2 Vauxhall Adams on his home stages before he and team-mates Mattias Adielsson from Sweden and Australian Aaron Windus move on to the Circuit along with the sister Opels of Chris Ingram and Germans Julius Tannert and Marijan Griebel.