Belfast Telegraph

Titles and tests sure to satisfy the need for speed

By Jim Gracey

If fast cars get you revved up you'll be spoiled for choice this weekend.

There is the Festival of Speed at Balmoral Park on Saturday and Sunday, a 500 Club race meeting at Kirkistown on Saturday and the crucial Galway round of the Dunlop Irish national rally championship on Sunday.

The Festival of Speed offers everything from autotests to freefall parachuting, drifting to a 4x4 safari experience and a special rally spectator stage in which famous cars from the past will mix with current machinery.

Pentti Airikkala's 1979 Circuit of Ireland winning Vauxhall Chevette will be there along with a glorious Group B Ford RS200 and a Metro 6R4 right up to Donagh Kelly's rally-winning M-Sport Ford Focus.

The penultimate race meeting of the season takes place at Kirkistown with Formula Ford 1600, Irish Formula Vees and Sheanes taking centre stage.

Niall Murray is in pole position to win the NI Formula Ford title, but Noel Dunne remains in contention after two race wins.

Formula Vee always provides entertaining racing with Sean Newsome and Adam Macauley the men to beat in the championship chase while Brian Hearty has already been a two-time Formula Sheane winner this season.

Five drivers can still win the Irish national rally title as they head to Galway, but top seed and last year's Galway winner, Welshman Hugh Hunter, and defending champion Declan Boyle both need maximum points to stay in contention as does Roy White.

Paddy McVeigh from Dungannon, the long-time leader but now second behind another Welsh driver, Steve Wood, appear to have the most realistic chances of becoming champion but there are two more rounds after Galway.

Derek McGarrity returns to the national series in a WRC Mini.

Belfast Telegraph

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