They may have been beaten by Donagh Kelly in the West Cork Rally at the weekend but drivers like Sam Moffett, Stephen Wright and Jonny Greer will have left Clonakilty buoyed and buzzing in anticipation of the forthcoming Circuit of Ireland.
Kelly wasn't the last man standing at the end of the second round of the Irish Tarmac championship but he was the only driver of one of the older but more powerful two-litre WRC 'supercars' to finish in the top 10. Moffett and Co were all on board the new generation of 1600cc cars which now predominate in world rallying.
Next stop for them is the European championship Circuit at Easter when they won't have to face the likes of Kelly's M-Sport Ford Focus or the Subarus of Declan Boyle and Garry Jennings.
The ERC division of the rally is restricted to current cars like the R5 Ford Fiesta of Wright and the Citroen DS3 of Greer.
Wright was bubbling with third place on his Tarmac championship debut in the R5 Fiesta.
He will join Moffett and Greer along with the likes of Craig Breen and ERC leader Kajetan Kajetanowicz in the main rally while Kelly is expected to continue his Irish Tarmac campaign in the accompanying national division which will also feature five-times Circuit winner Derek McGarrity and Kenny McKinstry in S14 Subarus.
McGarrity led from start to finish to win the Bishopscourt Rally in the Subaru on Saturday, following his opening round NI championship win in a WRC Mini. This time the same Mini was in the hands of Derek McGeehan who snatched second place after McKinstry spun away his chances.
Jon Armstrong won the new R2Wales category in his Ford Fiesta, finishing seventh overall, with Kyle White second and Alan Smyth third. They, too, now move on to the Circuit.