Donagh Kelly and Garry Jennings to skip Circuit of Ireland
Irish Tarmac championship leader Donagh Kelly and 2013 champion Garry Jennings have opted to miss the next round of the series, the Circuit of Ireland National Rally.
The national event runs on the back of the European championship international and counts towards the premier Irish series, the Tarmac championship and the Northern Ireland championship.
But despite winning the Galway International and West Cork rallies, and leading the Tarmac series for the first time, Kelly has chosen not to take part, as has Jennings.
However, both are entered in the Midland Rally, round two of the Irish national championship which takes place five days before the start of the Circuit.
Jennings, who led the Circuit national until crashing on the final stage last Easter, cites a number of reasons for missing out this year, but admits one is: "I can't win the Circuit of Ireland."
Cars like Jennings' S12 Subaru and the Ford Focus of Kelly, older generation two-litre WRC cars, are ineligible for the main European championship section of the Circuit.
He says: "It takes as much time, commitment and expense to do the national rally as it does to compete in the main international and, after a lot of thought, I've decided I can't do it this year.
"Yes, I could win the national part of the rally but I still wouldn't be a proper Circuit of Ireland winner. There is a big difference."
Declan Boyle, who became Tarmac champion after he won the Circuit National last year, is said to be "undecided" about lining up this time.