Limerick Forestry Stages 2019 Preview
Following his very impressive win on the opening round of the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, Marty McCormack heads to the second round, the Limerick Forestry Stages Rally as top seed. The Skoda driver will be favoured to make it two wins out of two but could face a tough challenge from Cathan McCourt who is getting quicker with each event as he gets used to his Ford Fiesta R5. Niall Henry the number three seed brings his Citroen DS3 R5 to Limerick fresh from a fine performance on the Cambrian National B Rally where he finished third overall. Conor McCourt at number four is the only other R5 car entered and he will be driving a Ford Fiesta. A string of very competitive Mitsubishi Lancers start with Patrick O’Brien at five hoping for better luck than in Carrick when he slid off the road and out of the event early on. Niall McCullagh is next up followed by Gerard Lucey with both drivers featuring strongly in the overall results over the past couple of years. Michael Carbin is another very quick driver at eight and a place on the podium is not out of the question while Donall Sweeney and Peter McCullagh also in Lancers complete the top ten.
The 2WD line up is as formidable as ever, led by David Crossen who will be anxious to get points on the board following his retirement on the opening event. Shane McGirr (above) took top championship points in Carrick and he starts as second seed in the category and will be looking to continue the momentum in his Toyota Starlet. Adrian Hetherington is next up and ran McGirr very close on the first round, he will be looking to go one better in Limerick while Mickey Conlon, John Gordon and David Condell are all very capable of a strong result to boost their championship chances. The junior category looks like a straight fight between Marty Gallagher and Derek Mackarel with very little to separate the pair usually. Others in the running include Jason Dickson, Shane Kenneally, Gareth Deazley and current J1000 champion Jason Murphy.
The M. O’Brien sponsored J1000 championship has a healthy eight entries with all those who took part in the opening round in Carrick back to do battle again. Reece Pollock is top seed by virtue of winning the first round in very impressive fashion in his Nissan Micra. Second seed Kyle McBride got much quicker towards the end in Carrick and if he starts in the same form he will have a great chance of victory in his Toyota Aygo. Peter Beaton is the most experienced of the J1000 crews and he will be looking to build on his third place on the opening round while Marcus McElwee who led after two stages in Carrick before slipping off the road has shown he has the pace to take victory. Aaron Whelan, Casey Jay Coleman (both Nissan Micra), Ella Conway (Peugeot 107) and Joseph Kelly (Toyota Aygo) complete the list of J1000 drivers.
The six stage event takes place close to Rockchapel, Co. Cork with the first stage taking place at 10.28am. There will be service after Stages 2, 4 & 5 with the first car due back to Parc Ferme at 17:15.