Manus Kelly will make a surprise visit to the International Rally of the Lakes in Killarney this weekend as he aims to take on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship’s best.
Kelly uses a number of precursor events as preparation for the Donegal International Rally each year – an event he has won for the previous two years aboard a Melvyn Evans Motorsport-run Subaru Impreza S12B WRC.
“We’re going to get some miles under our belt,” said Kelly, of the event which uses similar roads to Donegal. “You’re always wondering where you’re at [in comparison to the rest of the top crews]. The lads are going great guns and you can’t afford to sit back.”
Two-time Lakes winner Sam Moffett (above, pic by Martin Walsh) tops the entry and is aiming for a maximum points score to close the gap to brother Josh, the current series leader. Both drive Ford Fiesta R5s.
Sam was just pipped at home in Monaghan by Donagh Kelly last month, though he pulled the absolute maximum out of his Ford Fiesta R5 in a brave battle against superior technology.
Declan Boyle is at number two in his Fiesta RS WRC, with Derek McGarrity another WRC car entrant in an Impreza S14 WRC, signalling a three-way fight for top WRC honours.
Further back is a gaggle of R5 drivers including Robert Barrable, Desi Henry, Daniel Cronin and Jonny Greer, the latter still Fiesta-mounted due to delays with his planned switch to a new Citroen C3 R5.
A strong modified entry includes series leader Kevin Eves, local hotshoe Rob Duggan and Gary Kiernan (back in his familiar Ford Escort Mk2), with lots of quick men filling the remainder of the top 30, and a packed Junior contingent is set to provide a spectacle on the Sunday.
Seeded entry list
1 Sam Moffett/Noel O’Sullivan Ford Fiesta R5
2 Declan Boyle/James O’Reilly Ford Fiesta WRC
4 Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes Ford Fiesta R5
5 Manus Kelly/Donall Barrett Subaru Impreza WRC
6 Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson Subaru Impreza WRC
7 Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly Ford Fiesta R5
8 Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan Skoda Fabia R5
9 Daniel Cronin/Shane Buckley Ford Fiesta R5
10 Jonathan Greer/Kirsty Riddick Ford Fiesta R5