Calling a winner in this year’s Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic Rally is an impossible task given the strength of the entry.Several former winners, past champions and rally stars form a far afield as the USA, have entered Ireland’s only dedicated rally for historic specification cars.Leading the field away will be last year’s overall winner Ryan Barrett in his Ford Escort Mk2. The Tyrone man surprised many with his pace on the 2017 event in what was his first attempt at the rally.
Welsh man Melvyn Evans drove his way in to the Irish motorsport history books a few years ago when he became the first overseas driver to win the Irish national rally championship.He is also a past winner of the Killarney historic rally and will bring a newly built Ford Escort Mk2 to the event.Making a return after over a year on the side-line, 2015 event winner Denis Moynihan and his local co-driver Ger Conway start at three in a Mark1 Escort. A similar machine will power Rathmore man Mark Falvey over the stages.Former Irish forestry champion Owen Murphy wheels out a Talbot Sunbeam for the event after spending the year driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 in national events.
Tomas Davies is a regular visitor to Killarney, usually in a modern Ford Fiesta R5 but has chosen a BMW M3 as is trusted steed for this weekend.Fellow Welsh man Gareth Lloyd, a class winner on this event as both a driver ad co-driver starts at eight while continuing with the overseas tourists, Shawn Rayner returns from England in another Escort.
The quality continues down through the entry list with the likes of multiple British champions Jim McRae at 14.
The modified rally is always keenly contested and one of the highlights of the weekend for the spectators.Leading the field away is local hero and 2017 section winner Rob Duggan. He has not been out too much this year, an aborted attempt at the Junior World Rally Championship effected funding but he will be keen to record back to back victories. Opposition will come from Gary Kiernan, winner of the recent Kerry Winter Rally.
The rally gets underway at 8am on Saturday morning with a run over the traditional Moll’s Gap classic followed by a run over Beallaghbeama. This loop is repeated before crews tackle Carragh Lake and Rockfield, the second run over the latter test is run under the cover of darkness.