Gass unable to make Lakes splash
Ireland's premier rally series, the Tarmac championship, finally resumes this weekend but without the reigning champion.
The name of Darren Gass is missing from the starting list of the Rally of the Lakes which begins from Killarney on Saturday morning. Instead he will be hundreds of miles away attending a wedding.
Gass insists he had never seriously intended to defend his Tarmac title, a decision reinforced by his early exit from the Galway International back in February and the cancellation of the snow-bound Easter Rally.
His absence leaves Garry Jennings to head the Ulster challenge in just his second appearance in his ex-Kevin Lynch Subaru S12.
The Irish forest champion will take his place at No.2 in a line-up led by Daragh O'Riordan, the Lakes winner for the last two years who switches from Subaru to a new M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC.
Two other former winners, Denis Cronin and Derek McGarrity, start at three and four ahead of Declan Boyle, Thomas Fitzmaurice, Donagh Kelly and Kevin Kelleher, all in Subarus.
Gass, meanwhile, will be back in action the following weekend on the Tour of the Sperrins, a round of the Northern Ireland championship which also sees one of Ulster's leading racing drivers, Steven Kane, making his rally debut.
Currently driving for the JRM Nissan team in the Blancpain European GT championship, rally fan Kane is coming home to take the wheel of a McGeehan Motorsport Mini WRC with the experienced Noel Orr in the co-driving seat.