Rivals mix it up for Galway battle
The changing face of Irish rallying is reflected in the line-up for next week's Galway International, the first round of the premier Tarmac championship.
Although the top of the entry list is still headed by the WRC cars which have dominated for the past two decades, led by former champions Garry Jennings (Subaru Impreza), Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta) and Derek McGarrity (Ford Fiesta), the new breed of R5 and S2000s are strongly represented.
For the first time, a driver of one of these cars will be overall Tarmac champion at the end of the season and the opening Galway round shows an encouraging start with 11 entered.
They include the Citroen DS3 of triple British champion Keith Cronin, a former Galway winner, as well as the Ford Fiesta of Alastair Fisher, back in the Tarmac series after a spell in the World championship. The Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh, have swapped their WRC Fiestas for a pair of R5 Fords and Desi Henry is entered in the first R5 Skoda Fabia to arrive in Ireland.
Fisher, Henry and Brendan Cumiskey, who also has an R5 Fiesta, had planned to take in this weekend's Donegal Mini Stages but their entries have been turned down as the regulations do not allow the evolution versions of these cars to take part.
The February 6-7 Galway line-up also sees the return of former Tarmac and Irish National champion Tim McNulty.
Top of the Galway entry list: 1 Garry Jennings (Subaru Impreza WRC), 2 Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC), 3 Derek McGarrity (Ford Fiesta WRC), 4 Roy White (Ford Fiesta WRC), 5 Tim McNulty (BMW Mini WRC), 6 Dean Raftery (Subaru Impreza WRC), 7 Declan Gallagher (Subaru Impreza WRC), 8 Keith Cronin (Citroen DS3 R5), 9 Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5), 10 Alastair Fisher (Ford Fiesta R5), 11 Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5), 12 Stephen Wright (Ford Fiesta R5), 14 Joseph McGonigle (Skoda Fabia S2000), 15 Jonathan Greer (Citroen DS3 R5), 16 Desi Henry (Skoda Fabia R5), 17 Aaron MacHale (Skoda Fabia S2000), 18 Brendan Cumiskey (Ford Fiesta R5), 19 Tomas Davies (Ford Fiesta R5), 20 Wesley Patterson (Ford Escort).