Tarmac Rally Organisers Association to make a crunch call on levelling the road
Key players in Ireland's premier rally championship face a tricky decision when they meet in Dublin tonight.
Members of the Tarmac Rally Organisers Association (TROA) are expected to lay out plans for the future amid calls for the series to exclude the old WRC supercars, like the Subaru Imprezas and the Ford Focuses which have dominated the championship for well over a decade.
They are no longer in production, having been superseded by the 'greener' 1600cc cars, such as Kris Meeke's Rally Argentina winning Citroen DS3 and the new breed of less complex R5 machines like the Peugeot 208 T16 in which Craig Breen won the Circuit of Ireland.
Numbers of the old two-litre supercars have been dwindling sharply in recent times, but still they keep winning, a situation which is forcing the several of the country's best young drivers to look elsewhere for a more level playing field.
In addition, the British championship which used to run hand-in-hand with the Irish Tarmac series, will be back next year with the focus on R5 and Super 2000 cars. Some feel it is time for the TROA committee to follow suit, but it is a situation which sees competitors sharply divided.
Five-times Tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly, for instance, feels it would be wrong to outlaw the supercars; Derek McGarrity, a five-times Circuit of Ireland winner, agrees but suggests restricting the power of the two-litre cars.
Former Billy Coleman 'Young Driver' Award winner Stephen Wright, just back from finishing third on a Belgian event in his R5 Ford Fiesta, has been urging TROA officials to and exclude the big cars from next season's championship.
Meanwhile, Kris Meeke made a conservative start to Rally Portugal, setting sixth fastest time in the short super-special stage at Lousada last night.