Rally chiefs switch on power to thrill supporters
Irish rallying is to borrow an idea from the World championship and introduce a Power Stage to national championship rounds.
It will feature as the final stage of each round of the series and carry bonus points for the three fastest drivers.
And the move has been welcomed by Declan Boyle, the Donegal driver who is both the national and Irish Tarmac champion.
Boyle, who has indicated he plans to defend both titles this year, said: "The introduction of a Power Stage should make for an interesting finish to the rallies."
The championship, which sees Triton Showers take over as title sponsors from long-time supporters Dunlop, kicks off with the Birr Rally on February 22, the first of eight rounds.
The new sponsors are no strangers to Irish rallying.
Managing director of Triton Showers is Kevin Barrett, a successful competitor in his own right and in the past has supported events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Lurgan Park Rally.
Barrett, who will continue to compete in his S14 Subaru, said: "Having been involved in rallying as a competitor and a sponsor, I am aware of its popularity. The fact that the national series offers such a variety of locations allows Triton Showers the opportunity to reach greater prominence across the four provinces."
The eight rounds (best six to count) are: Feb 22 Birr Rally; Mar 29 Midland Rally, Roscommon; Apr 26 Monaghan Rally; May 31 Circuit of Munster Rally; Jun 28 Raven's Rock Rally; Jul 12 Sligo Rally; Aug 30 Galway Summer Rally; Oct 25 Fastnet Rally.