Belfast Telegraph

Circuit of Ireland Rally: McGarrity drive to emulate Hopkirk

By Sammy Hamill

He's a four-time winner and now Derek McGarrity has set his sights on emulating Paddy Hopkirk with a fifth victory on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally next week.

BY sammy hamill

CIRCUIT OF IRELAND RALLY

And the former Tarmac champion will step up his preparations with a ‘shakedown’ appearance on the Monaghan round of the Irish national championship this weekend.

McGarrity has been campaigning a production Mitsubishi in both the NI and Irish championships this season but with the prospect of a fifth Circuit win on the horizon he has opted to switch back to a WRC Subaru, the kind of car in which he scored so many successes.

“I’ll be driving an S11 Subaru,” confirmed McGarrity.

“It is the ex-Daragh O’Riordan car I’ve had since late last year.

“I looked at a couple of S12s but financially it didn’t add up. Instead I’ve had the engine, transmission and suspension of the S11 re-built and I’m confident it can do the job.

“The reason for going to Monaghan so close to the Circuit is two-fold — to give the car a good shakedown and to get myself up to speed again.

“It’s been a while since I’ve driven a WRC car.”

McGarrity, who won both the Circuit and the Ulster International last season, will head the Easter entry list.

He will be joined at the top of the seeding list by the likes of recent West Cork winner Darren Gass, Kevin Barrett, NI championship leader Kenny McKinstry, Garry Jennings and Aaron MacHale.

Based in Armagh, the rally takes place on Easter Saturday and Sunday.

Road closures for Circuit of Ireland Special Stages 6 & 7 (Lisburn): Saturday 23rd April 2011 from 16:30 to 22:00, Queens Road (Route A1) both carriageways from their junction with Sloan Street (Route A49) to their junction with Seymore Street (Route A1); Canal Street (Unclassified No.U7023) from its junction with Gregg Street (Unclassified No.U7023)

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