Irish Tarmac Rally Championship title battle continues in Cork
Can anyone stop Josh Moffett – it’s the question on everyone’s lips. As the Acesigns Irish Tarmac Rally Championship heads to its penultimate round, the Cork 20 International Rally, Moffett holds a 27-point lead in an intense 2022 title race.
The recently crowned National Rally Champion bagged important wins on the first two Irish Tarmac rounds of the year. A consistent approach had Moffett and co-driver Andy Hayes seal runner-up finishes on rounds three and four before tackling June’s Donegal International Rally.
With strong showings from Callum Devine and Alastair Fisher, it looked like Moffett was on course to secure more points but at the expense of another rally win. A dramatic finale on the three-day event had Moffett come out on top, securing his first Donegal International victory, and solidifying his grip on the championship.
Fisher and Devine have won a rally apiece in 2022 but their misfortunes on Donegal’s deciding day of action have allowed Meirion Evans to sneak into second in the standings.
Despite Moffett’s ever-increasing points tally, the championship battle remains completely open with any of ITRC’s top four still able to fight for 2022 honours. ITRC competitors have two drop their two lowest-scoring rounds of the season which includes Ulster Rally’s double-points decider.
In reality, Evans, Fisher, and Devine must aim for rally wins to keep their Irish Tarmac hopes alive in Cork and Ulster. It is an exciting prospect for onlookers that travel to ITRC’s brace of summer rallies. If the five rounds so far this year are anything to go by, you can be prepared for each battle to go down to the wire.
Daniel Cronin, who lies fifth in the championship standings, returns to the ITRC action in Cork after missing out on Donegal’s thriller.
The Acesigns Irish Tarmac Championship also welcomes back David Guest, Enda O’Brien, and Jason McSweeney to the Rally2 battle in Cork.
Ford Fiesta Rally4 pilot Jason Dickson has shaken the ITRC 3 fold on the previous two rounds of the championship. After three non-finishes, Dickson secured a brace of front-wheel-drive wins in Killarney and Donegal, climbing up to third in the ITRC 3 standings.
The Rally4 class is still topped by Ryan Caldwell, however, who holds a 19-point advantage over Joseph Kelly. Caldwell’s co-driver Grace O’Brien has just missed out on one maximum-points score so far in 2022.
ITRC 3’s contenders all travel to the Cork 20 knowing their campaigns now rest on their next two two-day rallies.
After an impressive showing in Donegal, James Stafford became the first modified driver to seal two top-points scores this year. The Darrian ace leads the modified standings by eight points over Colin Byrne who will be hopeful of challenging on his local round.
The top two are by no means safe out at the front as a string of rivals lie just five points shy of Byrne’s 36-point tally. Gary Kiernan and Simon Reid will be hoping they can bridge the gap to Modified’s front-men in their Ford Escort Mk2s.
ITRC’s Historic competitors have provided us with a fantastic battle since their opening round – last November’s Killarney Historic Rally. Craig MacWilliam leads the drivers’ standings but has four rivals within seven points of his tally of 57.5 points.
The Historic Championship’s top nine competitors are all tackling the Cork 20, including Neil Williams who has scored top points in three rounds this season. He lies fifth in the standings but will be right at the front along with Luke McCarthy and Maurice Meskell after dropped scores are considered.
Cork 20 provides an extra incentive for the Historic crews as their finishing points will be doubled in the championship standings.
Ryan MacHugh and Declan Boyle lead a nine-car field in Juniors and will be hoping to win their third round of the year to increase their seven-point advantage in the Junior Championship.