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Ulster Rally (Rally of Northern Ireland) - 20-21 Aug 10

Posted: November 7, 2010 9:10 PM - 21483 Hits

Round 5 - 2010 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2010 British Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2010 MSA British Historic Rally Championship
Round 6 - 2010 Irish Evolution Challenge
Round 5 - 2010 UK Evolution Challenge
Round 5 - 2010 Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland
Round 5 - 2010 Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland
Round 6 - 2010 Fiesta SportTrophy UK

Rally NI voted ‘Best International Rally’ for the second year in a row….

Posted: November 7, 2010 9:10 PM

The Toddsleap.com Rally NI collected the ‘Best International Rally’ accolade at the British Rally Championship Awards Ceremony in Manchester on 30th October, making history as the first event ever to win the Trophy two years in a row.

The event organisers joined the Irish contingent to mark the end of the 2010 season, with Keith Cronin also celebrating two British Championship titles in a row, with co driver Barry McNulty winning his first BRC crown, Carryduff’s Jonny Greer picking up the Mitsubishi Challenge award, Robert Barrable taking home the UK Citroen Racing Trophy and the R2 category win and Alistair Fisher also figuring well in the final overall standings.

Speaking after the Awards Ceremony, Rally NI Clerk of the Course,Michael Johnston commented :
“It’s a great privilage to be able to bring the Trophy back home to Antrim for another year and it’s a fitting tribute to the hard work done by the many volunteers and the organising team who make the event happen each year”.

“The award also recognises the superb facilities available to us at Junction One and in the Antrim Borough and we hope that we can build on our success in 2011”

The ‘Best International Rally’ award was first presented to the Ulster Rally Team in 2005, and this latest success marks the third time in the last six years that the event has been singled out for praise.

The 2010 Toddsleap.com Rally NI was based in Junction One, Antrim and started from Court House Square in the town. Crews tackled 6 stages along the North Coast on Friday before returning to the Rally HQ at Holiday Inn Express. Saturday morning saw an early start for another selection of Stages based round Antrim town before the finish back at Junction One just before 5.30pm.

In Car

Posted: September 1, 2010 12:41 PM

Alister Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) - SS7


Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000) - SS6

TOP TEN FINISH ON TODDS LEAP RALLY NI FOR MARK DONNELLY

Posted: August 27, 2010 9:25 AM

18 year old Mark Donnelly, from Greencastle near Omagh, and Omagh co-driver Stephen O’Hanlon scored an excellent eighth overall finish on the Todds Leap Rally Northern Ireland event. The Todds Leap Ulster International as it is also known, was a round of both the British Rally Championship, and the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship meaning that it provided the ultimate competition over the two days and 14 special stages in the Co. Antrim hills. Indeed Mark on his first ever International Rally, and first outing on tarmac with his newly acquired Mitsubishi Evo 9 was up against the best Group N field ever assembled on this event.

“Thanks to some backing from Todds Leap, we were able to contest the rally. I must say it was a fantastic event, a fast rally and an extremely fast pace at the front”, commented Mark. Indeed the aim for the event was to primarily finish, and the R317 Motorsport Evo 9 ran faultlessly throughout the event, with the stage times improving as the weekend progressed. On day one, tenth fastest times on Knockboy 2, and Torr Head 2 were promising and they ended day one, eleventh overall, just ten seconds off a top ten place.

The second day started well and the Rogers Fencing car was working well, but sliding wide on the third Tardree stage, damaged a differential pump and the crew were glad to get into the Junction One service area to change the offending part. With the miles the stage times too improved on what was a fast paced rally in dry conditions. 9th fastest on Cairncastle 2, 7th fastest on Tardree 2, and 8th fastest on the final Langford Lodge 2 test were all signs of the improvements.
“It was a clinker of a weekend! I really enjoyed the rally, and we were narrowing the gap to the guys in front. We were keeping a watch on Jason Pritchard’s times, and we were getting closer and closer, and there were a few guys behind who I wasn’t expecting to be racing. It was the first run on tarmac with the Evo 9, and as the event went on, I found the better brakes really shone through, as well as the extra pull from the engine.”

Eighth overall was a fine result for the 18 year old who now turns his attention to the Hankook Northern Ireland Rally Championship. Mark is now just 11 points adrift of leader Stuart Biggerstaff and Stephen leads the co-driver’s championship. Indeed Mark also leads the Sunoco Fuels Group N category, and jointly leads the Hankook Junior Championship. The next round of the Hankook series is the Lakeland Stages in the Enniskillen forests on 11th September, and it will be really interesting to see if Mark can climb higher in the championship race.

Mark Donnelly Drives into joint lead of Citroen Racing Trophy UK!

Posted: August 27, 2010 8:50 AM

Finishing 13th overall, and 1st of the Citroen Racing Trophy UK runners, proved to be an excellent result for Omagh driver Mark Donnelly on Rally Northern Ireland, also a round of the British Rally Championship. This now moves the 19 year old into the joint lead of the Citroen Racing Trophy (CRT) UK series, sharing that position with Dubliner Robert Barrable, going into the final loose surface round, the Trackrod Rally in England on September 24th-25th.

Rally NI, usually known as the Ulster International provided two days of intense competition, with 14 special stages over classic Co. Antrim closed road stages such as Torr Head, Glendun and Cairncastle. Mark with co-driver, Donegal’s Aiden Friel were well prepared for the event, as was their C2 R2 Max looked after by Robbie McGurk’s Motor Sport Service team. However on stage one they realised that their C2 was well down on power a problem they had to contend with all weekend.
“On the first stage we really noticed that the car just wasn’t lifting out of corners like it should. Over the weekend we changed a lot of things, fuel pumps included, but we still haven’t got right to the bottom of it. We got away with it better on the Friday stages, as they didn’t require outright power, but on the really fast Saturday tests, there was nothing much we could do.”

The first stage was indeed a fast affair, and understandably they lost a few seconds, but stage two- Glendun is one that requires a lot of bravery, with very fast downhill sections, and Mark and Aiden were indeed brave. 12th fastest overall on this test, just 0.6 of a second behind factory Citroen driver Bryan Bouffier, in the new DS3 R3, illustrated that it was a good run, and despite the down on power engine Mark was happy with his driving.
“I felt happy with the way I was driving and the pace-notes. We were never much faster on the second runs over the stages, as we had the notes and speed not too bad on the first runs.”

Starting day two Mark was 16th overall and just 20 seconds behind CRT UK leader Robert Barrable. But the picture changed dramatically when the Dublin driver took a wheel off the C2 R2 Max on the opening Cairncastle stage, and he was out of the rally. With no threats from behind it was important for Mark to ensure maximum CRT UK points to take the title race to the wire on the final Yorkshire gravel round.
“From then on I had to still drive fast enough to keep the concentration, but make sure we got to the finish. With the car the way it was too, we were going to drop time on the fast stages anyway, but it worked out good in the end. I’m looking forward to the Trackrod, as I do love the gravel, but also I’d like to get a clean run on the tarmac this season, on the final CRT Ireland round in Cork.” On Rally NI, Mark eventually claimed 13th place overall, 4th R2 class car home despite the dramas.

Mark enters the final CRT UK round tied on points with Robert Barrable, and it will be winner takes all. Now the MSS team is tripping the C2 R2 Max to try and find the engine malady and with €10,000 of Citroen Racing parts vouchers up for grabs for a CRT UK series victory there is plenty at stake in September. One thing is for sure, few would bet against the 19 year old after the pace he showed on the previous gravel rallies this season.

Podium Place for Alastair on Rally Northern Ireland

Posted: August 24, 2010 11:20 AM

Rally Northern Ireland, saw Alastair Fisher and Rory Kennedy, in their Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9 clock up an impressive third place overall finish amongst the British Rally Championship runners and also claim more valuable points in their quest for the Citroen Irish Tarmac Championship. After some ill fortune on the previous British Championship rounds for the Team UK member, Alastair’s main championship hopes now lie with the Irish Tarmac Championship and the result from the weekend leaves him second in the series, four points behind leader Gareth MacHale and three points ahead of Aaron MacHale both in Ford Focus WRC’s. It will now go to the wire on the final round in Cork as to who takes the elusive tarmac crown.
“It will be tough in Cork, even though there are bonus points available. Really we would need the conditions to favour us to stand any chance of keeping ahead of Aaron never-mind chasing Gareth which is really out of the question. It felt good to get a solid result on the Ulster and build my confidence up again.”

The pace was furious on the all dry Ulster stages for Rally NI and Alastair was under instructions to finish the 14 stage event, after an indiscression on the last event on the Isle of Man.
“I was happy at the end of stage one, feeling our way back in after the Isle of Man and then on Glendun, stage two we had a great run setting second fastest time. However on a jump close to the finish we broke the left front damper and had to drive with caution through Torr Head. It was a bit un-nerving on some of the jumps and corners and we lost around 15 seconds.”
The Gerry McGarrity Motorsport team changed the damper swiftly at first service. By the end of the day Alastair had maintained that fourth position in the BRC and lay ahead of Aaron in the Irish Tarmac Championship race. The WRC cars were running in a separate rally on this event.

Day two moved into faster stages the first using the famous Cairncastle Hill-climb course near Larne. “This was a super fast stage with some big jumps and with just a few junctions and bale chicanes.
We were happy with the way the car was taking the big jump and I really enjoyed the Cairncastle stage. We were within a few seconds of the fastest time and it was a good start to the day.”
The Revolution Wheels backed crew had a faultless second day, moving up to third overall in Rally NI when Gwyndaf Evans made a mistake on the Langford Lodge stage. This result saw Alastair and Rory take another BRC podium and score their second UK Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge victory of the year. The team also secured the Irish Tarmac Group N title with one round to spare. Alastair commented after the event,
“I really enjoyed the rally and it was nice to get back into the swing of things and get a good clean run. We drove with a finish in mind but nevertheless we were still driving quickly and the pace was very hot. The Irish Championship is still up for grabs so we will have to give Cork a real go.”

Over the past couple of weeks Alastair has attended two Team UK meetings, one at M-Sport where the drivers were given an in depth session with one of M-Sports’ top suspension engineers. The second was at the Porsche Human Performance Centre at Silverstone which incorporated; fitness assessments, psychology support along with media and PR training.

Now the Lancer Evo 9 is being readied for Cork, with the possibility of a run on the Fisher Engineering Lakeland Stages on the 11th September.

ANOTHER FINE DRIVE BY DESI HENRY ON RALLY NORTHERN IRELAND

Posted: August 24, 2010 11:19 AM

20 year old Portglenone driver Desi Henry and co-driver John Rowan in their Citroen C2 R2 Max finished a fine 17th overall, and third of the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland runners on the weekends, Rally Northern Ireland event. In just their second Citroen Racing Trophy appearance, the pair impressed once more, as they once again significantly upped their pace in relation to the other Citroen Trophy runners. Desi was understandably happy.
“We were very pleased with the weekend. We had a few issues on the Friday stages, but on Saturday we were there or there-abouts as regards pace. We weren’t on Marty McCormack’s pace, but we were pleased that we were doing similar times to Mark Donnelly and Mark Sheahan, who don’t hang around.”

Day one brought a few small dramas for the PRH Construction team, with a very worrying problem of the brake pedal going to the floor on occasion!
“We were having to pump the brakes on occasions and others I was just checking to see that there was a hard pedal there. It was a little worrying at times, especially over stages like Torr Head. We eventually found the problems when I spotted some fluid near John’s feet. A connection to the bias valve had worked loose and the boys corrected it at service.”
Despite the problems the crew lay 22nd overall overnight, but were set to climb a lot higher on day two. Indeed on the day’s second test they were third fastest C2 R2 Max, a performance they were to repeat on stages 10, 12 and 13, before being fastest C2 Max on the final Langford Lodge stage near Antrim. Indeed a hold up behind an ailing Mitsubishi on the penultimate test cost a position to John McCrone’s Fiesta, but clocking up a result of 17th overall and third of the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland runners was an excellent second outing in the Trophy for Desi and John.

“I really enjoyed the event. The stages were great, as was the weather for it, and the rally was very well run. There wasn’t one stage cancelled and there were no long queues for the stages. Now we intend to complete the final CRT Ireland round in Cork, as we have been really enjoying the Citroen series since we joined it this year.”

Evolution Challenge Ireland - Brendan Cumiskey scores surprise victory.

Posted: August 24, 2010 11:12 AM

Brendan Cumiskey and co-driver Conor Foley ended the Todds Leap.com Rally NI as surprised winners of the sixth round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland. After a difficult first leg, they inherited first place half-way though the second day when Neil McCance/Jonny Hart left the road whilst comfortably in the lead.

Based in Antrim, the Todds Leap.com Rally NI (or Ulster Rally as it was previously known) featured six stages on Friday evening followed by a further eight on Saturday, the combination of which provided competitors with a total of 127 miles of timed special stages on closed roads to the north and south of the town.

First to leave the start at Friday lunchtime were McCance/Hart. After scoring two outright victories and then having his first non-finish of the season last time out on the ALMC Stages Rally, McCance was eager to stamp his authority on his title bid by ensuring another top result this weekend.

Therefore, even having opting for a cautious approach, he was pleased to find that after the first loop of three stages he and Hart had pulled out a lead of 48 seconds ahead of Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly, with whom they had started the event sharing the championship lead.

At the first service halt after three stages, Moffett reported he was yet to get on the pace, but his progress had not been helped when he had to stop and reverse at a tight chicane. Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O’Callaghan were ‘happy enough’ with their third place, 10-seconds behind Moffett/O’Reilly, whereas Cumiskey was pleased to be back in his own Mitsubishi, but not happy with his pace, the car not handling to his liking and not giving him the confidence to push.

The next loop of three stages was a repeat of the first three and, although the roads remained dry there appeared to be less grip, as most crews posted times slower than that of their first run. This was certainly the case for Moffett/O’Reilly, when they had to stop on SS5 after a rear brake disk fractured and ruptured a pipe, the fluid then leaking out.

With no brakes at all, they cautiously nursed the car through the remainder of the stage and tried to make a few roadside repairs before SS6. With a just a small amount of braking they made it through the stage and back to service, but with so much time lost and now some significant repairs to make, they elected not to continue on Saturday.

The exit of Moffett/O’Reilly gifted McCance/Hart and even greater lead and, at the overnight halt, their advantage had increased to 1-minute 51 seconds. With Cumiskey/Foley still not happy with their pace, Ballantine/O’Callaghan held second - even after welding a crack in their car’s front chassis rail (the aftermath of a heavy landing) at the final service halt of the day.

Saturday’s opening loop comprised two stages where the margin between the leaders and second place increased. However, the gap between second and third was decreasing, as Cumiskey started to feel more comfortable on the Saturday stages and he and Foley started catching Ballantine/O’Challaghan.

But then, on stage nine, disaster struck for the leaders when McCance mis-heard the pace-note: ‘right-two into a left five’. Having negotiated the quick right-hander, he was going too fast for the tight left that followed and, with nowhere else to go, he aimed the car at the hedge, blasting straight through it and into the field on the other side.

Luckily the car was not too badly damaged, but they were unable to continue, leaving Ballantine/O’Callaghan to head the Irish Mitsubishi series field. It was a frustrating end to a good run for McCance and Hart, especially as it was meant to be a points scoring exercise in order to make the title more achievable on the final round.

Two stages later, their new-found pace saw Cumiskey/Foley pass Ballantine/O’Callaghan to take the lead. However, their task to stay in front was made much easier on the next stage (SS12), when a worn rear-brake mounting bell came loose on Ballantine’s car and damaged the rear brakes too badly to continue.

With just two stages to go, all the new leaders had to do was get to the finish, which they did and, in doing so, scored their second victory of the season and claimed enough points for Cumiskey to take the lead in the championship.

“I wasn’t happy with my pace this weekend, so of course I am delighted – if not surprised - to take my second Evo Challenge win of the season”, said Cumiskey. “With the team only able to finish the recent rebuild of the car in the early hours of Friday morning, I am delighted that it ran without a problem, which is a credit to them and we’re now in with a good change of the title.”

The final round of the Irish Evolution Challenge takes place on 11 & 12 September in Wexford and, with a double-header format which sees round seven on Saturday and round eight on Sunday and a maximum of 24 points up for grabs, the scene is now set for a three-way battle between the series leaders: Cumiskey, McCance and Moffett.

The Evolution Challenge UK also shared the Todd Leap.com Rally NI as a round of its championship, as did the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship. The UK Mitsubishi series was won by Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy, with the British Championship event won by Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts in a Fiesta S2000.

For the first time this season, the winner of the Evolution Challenge in each of the three countries it takes place, UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event, will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Donnelly Group, James Foley Rallysport, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear, Pacenotes and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

Round six - results
1 Brendan Cumiskey (Dundalk)/Conor Foley (Ballinode) 1:54:18.0

Retirements
SS6 Sam Moffett (Monaghan)/James O’Reilly (Monaghan) Brakes
SS9 Neil McCance (Comber)/Jonny Hart (Carryduff) Accident
SS12 Stanley Ballantine (Strabane)/Donnacha O’Callaghan (Mallow) Brakes

Alastair Fisher takes second Evo Challenge victory of the season.

Posted: August 24, 2010 11:08 AM

For the second time this season, Alastair Fisher and co-drier Rory Kennedy scored maximum points in the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, when they won the fifth round of the series, the Todds Leap.com Rally NI. Jonny Greer/Dai Roberts finished second and, in doing so, strengthened their case for the title with one round still to go.

Based in Antrim, the Todds Leap.com Rally NI (or Ulster Rally as it was previously known) featured six stages on Friday evening followed by a further eight on Saturday, the combination of which provided competitors with a total of 127 miles of timed special stages on closed roads to the north and south of the town. The rally also hosted the sixth round of the Irish Evolution Challenge and the fifth round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.

Having retired after a crash at the previous round on the Isle of Man, Fisher/Kennedy showed no signs of hesitation and stamped their authority on proceedings right from the start, setting the fastest Mitsubishi times on the three opening stages before the first service halt. This was a particularly impressive performance, as a front suspension strut broke after a heavy landing in SS2 and Fisher had to drive with a strangely handling car for the remainder of the stage and then through SS3.

Greer/Roberts had an early scare when their brakes appeared to be non-existent at the first corner, but once the new set of pads had bedded-in, the problem quickly disappeared. Times at the service halt showed Fisher/Kennedy ahead by over 30 seconds from Greer/Roberts, with about the same margin separating them from third-placed Daniel Sigurdarson/Asta Sigurdardittir - the Icelandic siblings admitting they were still cautious on asphalt, but now getting quicker – although spin and a reversing manoeuvre at a chicane in SS2 had not helped their progress.

The second loop of three stages, which was a repeat of the first three, saw the gaps between the leading trio increase by roughly the same amount, albeit Greer/Roberts had been slowed by a potential problem with their car’s centre differential during SS6.

Saturday saw another dry day dawn and, with a further eight stages in store - all of them different to those ran of Friday - the final result was far from decided. However, with a one-minute advantage, Fisher/Kennedy were in control and proceeded to claim the fastest Evolution Challenge times on all but two of the stages – Greer/Roberts achieving that accolade on SS10 and SS12.

Once again, Greer/Roberts had a worrying few moments towards the end of the day, this time when the gear linkage jammed and they had to complete the final part of SS13 with the car stuck in first gear. However, they were able to rectify the problem once on the road section and then complete the 14th and final stage to take second place and consolidate their series lead. They also continue to lead the British Rally Championship with one round to go.

For Sigurdarson/Sigurdardottir SS13 also proved to be jinxed, when a rear suspension arm snapped and consequently caused their car to progress at some strange angles – so much so, they spun and hit a bank with the front of the car. Thankfully, the damage was only cosmetic and, after nursing the Evo X through the last stage and back to the finish, they were delighted to claim another podium result and still keep their Evo Challenge title hopes alive.

Such was Fisher/Kennedy’s pace, as well as claiming their second Mitsubishi series victory, they also finished third overall in the British Rally Championship event. Indeed, it was a credible achievement for all three Mitsubishi teams to get to complete the event, as the demanding nature of the stages claimed a number of other competitors around them.

“I’m very pleased to take my second Evolution Challenge win of the season, but of course, it should really have been my fifth”, said Fisher. “Following our retirement on the Isle of Man last time out, to win the Challenge and to finish third overall is an excellent result. With the car completely rebuilt after the accident I have to thank the team, as it has run perfectly throughout the event.”

The final round of the UK Evolution Challenge takes place on 25 September in Yorkshire and, with one-and-a-half times the usual allocation of points there is potential 30 points up for grabs. Added to this, Greer is still to drop one score and therefore, he and Sigurdarson will battle it out to see who becomes 2010 Evolution Challenge Champion.

The Evolution Challenge Ireland also shared the Todds Leap.com Rally NI as a round of its championship, as did the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship. The Irish Mitsubishi series was won by Brendan Cumiskey/Conor Foley, with the British Championship event won by Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts in a Fiesta S2000.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

For the first time this season the winner of the Evolution Challenge in the UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions. Added to this, the winning driver in the UK will be a guaranteed nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK - Round five results
1 Alastair Fisher (Trillick)/Rory Kennedy (Letterkenny) 1:44:00.4
2 Jonny Greer (Carryduff)/Dai Roberts (Carmarthen) 1:47:37.0
3 Daniel Sigurdarson (Iceland)/Asta Sigurdardottir (Iceland) 1:57:22.4

BHRC report, round six: Ulster Historic Rally

Posted: August 23, 2010 3:06 PM

Category two victory for David Stokes and Guy Weaver and a stunning category three win for Connor Corkill and Rob Fagg headlined the action as the Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship headed to Northern Ireland for the Ulster Rally (20/21 August).
In category one, a fine victory went to the Mini Cooper S of Ray Cunningham and Ross Forde, but the BHRC points contest was between Jonathan Gale/James Whitaker (Sunbeam Tiger) and Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911).
The BHRC's first visit to Ulster was a runaway success and all the crews gave the event rave reviews. "We've been to a world class rally," said Jeremy Easson.

Category 1
Although not registered for the BHRC, Cunningham was keen to pit the Mini against the British crews and the Galway driver was in stunning form as he swept clear on the opening day to lay the foundations for an emphatic victory.
But the battle for top BHRC crew was far less clear-cut and it took a mighty effort from the XS Racing crew to keep Gale's Tiger running after a range of dramas. Two offs, including one into a fence, steering damage after a heavy landing and a detached roll bar all hit the Sunbeam in the course of 12 stages, but they ploughed on and ended the event as leading BHRC crew.
But Nutt was always there on his home event and maintained a constant pressure on Gale. Even at the finish the margin was just 15s after nearly two hours of competition. "There is still some play in the steering," said Nutt on Friday evening, but Gale had bigger concerns after hitting both ends of the Tiger on a bank in the Torr Head stage.
The contest went back and forth through Saturday, but Gale managed to grab the upperhand as the XS crew worked hard to keep the car running.
As the only finishers in class B1, Gary and Jane Edgington took the spoils even though they ran under super rally rules when the gear lever came off their Singer Chamois on the fourth stage on Friday. On Saturday, they continued to throw the car around the lanes and typically came to the aid of Neil Rudd when his Escort stalled at the end of the Langford Lodge stage, with a failed starter motor. Edgington finished the stage and then ran 500m back to help Rudd get going again.
Philip Wylie and Maurice Beckett (MGB) won class B4. They arrived at first service needing to tweak the suspension to cope with the bumps and jumps. "The first stage was good but we couldn't keep going at that pace," said expatriate Ulsterman Wylie. His brother Drew, partnered by Howard Pridmore, unfortunately retired on the opening stage with electrical woes in his Lotus Elan. Rikki Proffitt and Peter Scott teamed up again to take fifth in the category in Rikki's Porsche 911, with Scott having won the Ulster Rally back in 1974 with Billy Coleman!

Category 2?
Right from the off, Stokes and Weaver set a cracking pace in category two, although local crew Keith McIvor and David Burns were right in contention in their Porsche 911. With McIvor not registered for points, Stokes was content not to fight with the Irishman and instead concentrate on his BHRC rivals.
On the first stage, Stokes was running first car and had a strange moment when he came over a brow to find a tent in the road. He managed to avoid it and several more cars reported the same problem before the stage was halted to move the tent.
With the Escort running like clockwork, Stokes ended the first day well clear or Easson/Alun Cook, but recognised that for maximum points he needed to beat Ernie Graham and Iain Johnston on Saturday's times as well. A distributor problem cost Graham a lot of time on Friday, but with Saturday's stages going past his former home, he would surely fly.
Stokes pushed very hard and eventually beat Graham by just 4s on Sunday with a big late charge that also took him ahead of McIvor's Porsche.
"It was a wonderful event with fantastic stages," said Stokes, summing up the views of just about every BHRC contender.
Easson took second in the BHRC contenders, but acknowledged that he was short on recent asphalt experience and was nearly caught at the finish by the recovering Graham.
The Escort Mk1 of Vince Bristow and Tim Sayer again won class C2.
"No brakes, as usual," said Bristow. However, they also had a serious title rival to watch for this time as Nick Danks and Martin Corbett had a great run in their Escort Mk1. Competing at this level for the first time, Danks was a revelation on his first closed road event and chase Bristow all the way home.
Andrew Siddall and Captain Thompson swept to class C3 victory in their Escort Mk1, winning by more than five minutes. Siddall set course for the class win with a strong run on Friday.
"More of the same on Saturday," said Siddall. In his wake, brothers Michael and David Pedley took second in C3 in their Escort RS2000 having again run on maps rather than complete the recce.
In class C4, the Porsche 911 of Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne took maximum points after a strong run, with the car back in top condition after the off on the Isle of Man.

Category 3
The prospect of a mighty contest in category three was dashed when Ryan Barrett and Paul McCann suffered gearbox failure barely three miles into the first stage. "It's such a let down for everyone," said a dejected Barrett as he ran with number one on his Escort Mk2 for the first time.
Instead, Corkill and Fagg took a vice-like grip on the rally in their Escort Mk2, going 7s ahead on the opening stage and building that to 1m22s by the end of Friday. Despite his pace, Corkill maintained that he was not taking chances. "No big risks, the pace we're on is okay," said Connor as he laid the foundations for the biggest win of his career to date. "We hit the tent as well," he added of the strange incident on stage one.
With Will Onions/Dave Williams leading the chase, Corkill and Fagg kept up the pressure on the opening stages of Saturday before easing back to score a resounding win. Onions was a strong second, with a minute in hand over class D4 winners Rob Smith/Shaun O'Gorman (Vauxhall Chevette). "That's the most fun you can have with your clothes on," said Smith after only the fourth asphalt rally of his career. Like many, he fell instantly in love with the dramatic Torr Head stage on Friday.
A minor off cost Tomas Davies/Eurig Davies a good result in their Escort Mk2. They slid off on stage nine and, though the car was undamaged, their rally was over after a very strong run.
Through to fourth in category three after an equally impressive run came Roger Kilty and Lynette Banks in their Escort Mk2, finishing less than half a minute down on Smith/O'Gorman.

JRM denied podium finish

Posted: August 23, 2010 2:56 PM

When battling for the lead in round five of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, driving the JRM Mitsubishi Evolution X Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Phil Pugh were forced into retirement after sliding wide and hitting a wall on stage 10, the impact rupturing a radiator pipe and consequently, with coolant leaking out, the engine overheated.

After two victories out of four rounds so far this season, JRM and Evans went to the Todds Leap.com Rally NI looking to consolidate their position in both the teams’ and driver’s championships. And, following a highly successful test a few days before the rally, the team were upbeat about their chances.

Based in Antrim, the rally featured six stages on Friday afternoon and into the evening followed by a further eight on Saturday. This combination provided competitors with a total of 127 miles of timed special stages on closed roads to the north and south of the town.

Evans and Pugh were the quickest out of the box and posted the fastest time by 4.2 seconds ahead of Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts in a Fiesta S2000 on SS1, with their main championship rivals Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty a fraction of a second slower in third. But with the nature of the roads suiting the Super 2000 machine, Breen took the lead by the time cars returned to Antrim for the first service halt after SS3.

Cronin was still in third place having lost time due to a spin in SS2. However, he fought back during the next three stages - a repeat of the opening three - and pushed ahead of Evans by ten seconds before the overnight halt.

With the JRM team making a few adjustments to the car’s handling in readiness for Saturday’s eight stages, Evans was happy with his car and set off to close the gap on Cronin. The first stage of the day saw Evans go quickest, but Cronin caught back the time on the next, the two BRC leaders now driving on the limit.

The third stage saw the pair split by just 0.7 seconds, with Evans the faster of the two and it was perhaps inevitable that the blistering pace would take its toll. Unfortunately for JRM and Evans, this applied to them: After a down-hill straight, Evans came over a crest and found he could not scrub off enough speed to negotiate the right-hander that followed.

With the shiny tar under the trees providing very little grip, the Evo slid wide into a hedge and made contact with a wall. After losing around 30 seconds extracting the car, Evans continued, but noticed that the engine temperature was climbing as he progressed through the stage, the cause being a loss of coolant fluid after a radiator pipe had been ruptured in the impact.

Managing to nurse the car back to Antrim for the service halt that followed, the JRM engineers set to work and, although repairing the damage, the engine would not start when Evans and Pugh went to leave. Even pushing and towing the car had no effect and the team had little choice but to retire from the rally.

A disappointing to end to yet another great performance, which gave the event and the British Championship its main focus of attention over the weekend. With Breen/Roberts winning the rally and Cronin/Breen second, the result means that the Subaru paring will have the advantage going into the final round, needing to finish eighth or higher to claim the driver’s title.

Evans and Pugh’s team-mates Daniel Sigurdarson and Asta Sigurdardottir drove a faultless rally, which was also trouble-free right up until the penultimate stage, when a rear suspension arm broke. With their car handling very strangely and even after clipping a bank, they made it through the final stage and back to Antrim to score points for JRM in the teams’ championship.

The season finale sees a return to gravel stages, this time in the forests of North York Moors, for the Yorkshire Rally on 25th September. And, with competitors scoring one-and-a-half times the usual amount of points, there will be a maximum of 30 available to the winner, a factor that provides Evans, JRM and other leading drivers and teams a fighting chance of still claiming the title.

Team quotes

Gwyndaf Evans
Obviously, I’m very unhappy about the accident. The pace was so fierce between us that I just had to push and, at those speeds any mistake was going to be punished - which it was. Other than dents and scratches there was nothing wrong with the car, so it was unlucky that something had just punctured the pipe. Other than that we could have kept going without a problem. I feel sorry for the team, as they put so much into this campaign and the car has been fantastic.”

Chris Hodgson – Motorsports Director (Rally)
We had to keep the pressure on today and this is something that can happen when the pace is as strong as it was. Gwyndaf always gives his total commitment and therefore this is one of the things that can happen. I was very pleased with the way things were going up until the accident, as the car was performing so well, so there are certainly some positives we can take away from this event.”

James Rumsey – Team Principal
“I’m disappointed for the whole team that the event ended the way it did. We’ve had an excellent season so far and what happened this weekend is not a true reflection of that. It now means that to achieve our goals of capturing the drivers’ and teams’ titles is going to be a tough call on the last event, but in motorsport it’s never over until it’s over and we’ll be there to do all we can to win.”

The Citroën DS3 R3 triumphs on its debut

Posted: August 23, 2010 12:15 PM

It’s mission accomplished for the Citroën DS3 R3, which made its competitive debut this weekend. Bryan Bouffier and his co-driver Xavier Panseri claimed two-wheel drive and Group R victory on the specialised Irish roads of the Ulster Rally, ending the event in a superb fifth place overall.

The latest challenger from Citroën was straight in at the deep end, facing much more powerful cars over the slippery and bumpy asphalt roads of Northern Ireland. Bouffier and Panseri steadily built up their pace over the course of the weekend, but the DS3 R3 dominated its class right from the beginning. The opening day on Friday allowed the Frenchman to get used to the car and the conditions, and he got quicker and quicker with every stage. After the 53 miles that made up the first leg, Bouffier returned to parc fermé in seventh overall. During the morning loop of Saturday’s stages, the Citroën DS3 R3 continued its progress by making up another place. The crew ended on a high by setting four blistering stage times and claiming fifth overall at the finish.

Frédéric Bertrand, in charge of the customer competition department at Citroën Racing, said:
“This great debut result has underlined our belief in the ample capabilities of the DS3 R3. The car has been reliable and we’ve not encountered any problems at all throughout the rally. Of course it proved to be extremely competitive as well, so now we just need to refine the set-up to suit all the different types of conditions that we might encounter. Sealing a result like this on the Ulster Rally is an important moment, because this is a very specialised rally that is well-known for pushing cars to the limit. The whole team has done a very good job and the crew drove a perfect rally. We have also been able to rely on the performance of BFGoodrich tyres. Putting all these elements together has resulted in an excellent fifth place at the finish. Given that this was only our first time out, it’s extremely encouraging for the future.”

Cronin /McNulty Eye Title after Ulster Podium

Posted: August 23, 2010 11:58 AM

Defending British Rally Champion Keith Cronin took a major step towards retaining his title when he brought his Pirelli TEG Sport Subaru Impreza N15 home in second place on this weekend's Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally which comprised the penultimate round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.

The 23-year-old Irishman, along with co driver Barry McNulty finished just over a minute and a quarter behind start to finish leaders Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts but the fact that main rival Gywndaf Evans retired his Mitsubishi halfway through today's stages means that Cronin holds the upper hand going into next month's International Rally Yorkshire.

But it wasn't all plain sailing for Cronin, from Cork, despite setting six fastest stage times out of the 14 special stages. Only sixth after two stages yesterday, the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out winner of last year had to claw his way back into contention which he did to hold second place overnight, just 20.9 seconds behind Breen's Ford Fiesta S2000.

The unforgiving lanes of Northern Ireland saw the drama continue today and as Cronin narrowed the gap to Breen to just 17.6 seconds, a road penalty saw the crew docked a minute so it was simply a case of consolidating second place which they did to make it two podiums and two victories out of the five rounds run to date.

Making it a successful day for the Carnforth-based TEG Sport team was Bristol driver Adam Gould and co driver Craig Drew who overcame the disappointment of retiring in the last round to bring their Subaru Impreza home in a fine fourth place overall to ensure a decent points haul in the teams' championship for the defending champions, which will also be decided on next month's finale in Yorkshire.

Cronin simply needs a finish in the top ten in the final round to guarantee his second successive British crown but with the tough Yorkshire forests standing between himself and that accolade, neither he nor the TEG Sport team are taking anything for granted just yet.

Keith Cronin:
"I'm really happy with the result today, but we can't relax, the title isn't in the bag yet although I only need a top ten finish on the last round to secure the Championship. I could let Craig Breen go this weekend, my fight was with Gwyndaf and I did the job by putting in some tremendous times in order to put the pressure on Gwyndaf and it's worked."

Adam Gould:
"The pressure was on me to prove I could bounce back from the accident in the Isle of Man, not only with the car preparation but also to mentally get back on the pace and I think I've proved that this weekend. I needed to show I have the consistency and I think I've done that so I want to say a big thank you to the effort put in by TEG Sport for this rally. I'm over the moon to have helped them claim maximum team points as well."

Stuart Newby - TEG Sport Team Principal:
"We have come away leading both the individual and team championships so I cannot fault the level of commitment from both the team and the drivers. This is the best result we could have hoped for and we have a lot to celebrate. We began proceedings on Tuesday at an exclusive test venue, where the team spent a full day setting up the car as time invested there was going to be vital in preparation. We have managed to get the best out of our new suspension settings from our partner, Tein, and it has proved on the event that the pre-event testing has been well worthwhile. Keith put some fantastic times in last night and that put Gwyndaf under pressure, and that was the plan to try and force a mistake. Adam drove brilliantly this weekend and I can't fault him at all. He drove a real sensible rally showing that he has the pace if not the budget. He has done a very professional job for the team here and what a great job, this second and fourth is more like a 1-2 finish for us."

The final round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship takes place on 24/25th September with the International Rally Yorkshire based in Scarborough.

Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts record first BRC win

Posted: August 23, 2010 11:55 AM

Saturday August 21st, Craig Breen driving the Kick Energy Ford Fiesta S2000 has tasted victory for the first time in the British Rally Championship by winning the International Rally Northern Ireland. Rally Northern Ireland has turned into a happy hunting ground for the Waterford driver as twelve months ago he secured both the Irish and UK Fiesta Sport Trophy titles on the Antrim based event. Craig’s smile was easy to be seen at the finish,
"The car was fantastic and so was the rally. Last nights stages were the best tarmac stages I have ever done.” Twenty year old Craig continued,
“I’d like to do the Trackrod and Cork 20 next, then Rally GB. Next year hopefully come back and string all the rallies together for the championship. Craig’s father Ray was standing quietly in the service area and was rightly very proud of his son and commented,
“I’m delighted with him, he led from the front.”

Craig took the lead after the first run over Glendun 1 (special stage 2) and extended his advantage to hold an over night lead of 20.9 seconds. Craig did say
“The stages are very fast and my car was on the rev limiter in top gear quite a lot but I’m very happy to be in this position and to hold the overnight lead.”

When the action resumed on Saturday morning Craig initially lost time on stages seven and eight but his blistering time on Tardree 1 (stage 9) regained the advantage from the start of the day. Again as day two unfolded Craig constantly commented
“The stages are very fast and my car is on the rev limiter for 20 seconds at a time on the really fast sections, it’s killing me. I’m trying to make up for it on the tighter stuff and under braking.”

The debut win for Craig also signifies the first victory for the Ford Fiesta S2000 in the UK.

The remainder of Craig’s 2010 season is now made up of the final rounds in both the British Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Championship. First up is the International Rally Yorkshire (Trackrod) on the 24th and 25 of September and Craig is back in Ireland for the Cork 20, which take place on the 2nd and 3rd of October. He will then complete the season with his second trip of the year in the Fiesta to the World Rally Championship for Rally Great Britain.

Full Results and Times - All Sections:

Posted: August 23, 2010 11:48 AM

Ulster Rally (WRC Cars)
1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 39m 45s
2 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 39m 46s
3 Aaron MacHale/Eugene O’Donnell (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 43m 37s

Rally of Northern Ireland
1 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000) 1h 42m 10s
2 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15 Gp N) 1h 43m 36s
3 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 1h 44m 00s
4 Adam Gould/Craig Drew (Subaru Impreza Gp N) 1h 44m 43s
5 Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Citroen DS3 R3) 1h 45m 13s

Combined Top 10
1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 39m 45s
2 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 39m 46s
3 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000) 1h 42m 10s
4 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15 Gp N) 1h 43m 36s
5 Aaron MacHale/Eugene O’Donnell (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 43m 37s
6 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 1h 44m 00s
7 Adam Gould/Craig Drew (Subaru Impreza Gp N) 1h 44m 43s
8 Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Citroen DS3 R3) 1h 45m 13s
9 Jason Pritchard/Robbie Durant (Subaru Impreza N16 Gp N) 1h 47m 20s
10 Jonny Greer/Dai Roberts (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 1h 47m 37s

Stage Winners:
SS1 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS3 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS4 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS5 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15 Gp N)
SS6 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS7 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS8 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS9 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS10 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS11 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS12 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS13 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS14 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)

Full Results/Times/Analysis from all Sections in Zip File:

Video Clips - Day 1

Posted: August 21, 2010 3:51 PM

Craig Breen Rallying - Ulster Rally Event Preview

Posted: August 18, 2010 10:20 PM

Only days after returning from Sweden, where Craig qualified for the Pirelli Star Driver Global Shootout he is now set to take part in the ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally next weekend. The Kilmurry native returns to Antrim with great memories from twelve months ago where he clenched both the UK and Irish Fiesta Sport Trophy Championships. Craig states "Securing both championships on the Ulster last year was one of the highlights of a great year."

This year’s event forms the penultimate round in both the MSA Dulux Trade British Rally Championship and the Citroën Irish Rally Championship. Craig suffered misfortune on his last outing in the ITC on the Donegal International, when a puncture attributed to a heavy crash. His Kick Energy Ford Fiesta S2000 sustained alot of damage and as a consequence Craig did not take part in round five of the British Rally Championship, the Isle of Man International Rally.

Craig,
"The accident in Donegal knocked my confidence but since then I've recorded my best World Rally result in Finland, I got the news that I was nominated by Motorsport Ireland to take part in the North European Pirelli Shootout in Sweden and last weekend on that event I qualified for the Global Shootout later this year. I'm on a high and am looking forward to driving the S2000 on the stages near Lough Neagh."

JRM continues British Rally Championship campaign in Ulster

Posted: August 18, 2010 10:18 PM

The JRM Rally team will be back in action this weekend, when it heads to Northern Ireland for the fifth round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, the Antrim-based Rally NI - the event previously known as the Ulster Rally.

Leading the JRM charge will be Gwyndaf Evans in one of the team's Group N Mitsubishi Evolution Xs. Currently second in the drivers' standings, Evans will be looking to move a step closer to the title with a good result this weekend.

His main competition will come from 2009 British Champion Keith Cronin, the Subaru driver just two points behind and also having no-scored on one round so far - a significant factor as competitors have to drop one result from the season's six events to calculate their final total. Current series leader Jonny Greer is four points ahead, but having scored on all four rounds so far means that he is likely to be overhauled before the end of the year unless problems befall his rivals.

This weekend will see Evans out to put the record straight. After holding a comfortable lead in the previous round on the Isle of Man, an excursion into a ditch in the slippery conditions meant that he had to fight back to finish second to Cronin, although stage times showed that the JRM driver's pace was enough to win if all had gone well.

Evans will be joined for this event by Phil Pugh. A highly experienced co-driver, Pugh is usually seen alongside twice British Champion Guy Wilks and was previously a team-mate to Evans when they contested the BRC with Mitsubishi in 2007 and 2008.

Bolstering its chances in the team's championship, which it currently leads, Daniel Sigurdarson has entered under the JRM banner once again and will be looking to put his Manx memories behind him when an electrical problem caused his first retirement of the year.

Sigurdarson, with his sister Asta Sigurdardottir, will be returning to the UK having contested the biggest rally of the year in their native Iceland last weekend and, if it had not been for a series of mechanical problems that forced them into second place, they would have easily won the event.

The Rally NI starts from Antrim town centre at 13.15 on Friday and features six timed special stages on closed public roads before the overnight halt. The event restarts at 06.30 on Saturday morning and comprises a further eight stages, with the finish at the busy Junction One Shopping Centre scheduled at 15.35.

Team quotes

Gwyndaf Evans
“With only two rounds left and the championship so close, it's very important we come away from this event with a good result. To be honest we will be disappointed with anything else, although - as I've always said - that's not an easy task in the British Championship. I enjoy this event and I've had some good results in Northern Ireland in the past, so with the car going as well as it is, I'm sure we can do the job that's need if we don't get any problems.”

John Barnes – Team Manager
“This was our first event with Gwyndaf last year and we finished second. We've made some major advances with the development of the car since then and, if the pace on the Isle of Man is anything to go by, I'm confident we'll be back up there challenging for the top positions.”

James Rumsey, Team Principal
“Our target is to win this year's British Team's and Driver's titles. Therefore, we need to come away from this event with a good haul of points to put ourselves in a good position for the final round. I'm pleased with the speed of our car, so I'm looking forward to a good event.”

The Citroën DS3 R3 takes up the challenge / Three questions to Bryan Bouffier

Posted: August 16, 2010 2:33 PM

The Ulster Rally gets underway in one week, based in Antrim to the north east of Ireland. The start of this event will have a special significance for the DS3 R3, which makes its competition debut. The crew of Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri are determined to showcase the capabilities of the latest challenger from Citroën to the best of their abilities.

Behind the scenes, the entire Citroën Racing team is eager to see their car in action, which was created in the French company’s workshops and then developed over a bespoke test programme. But this will be the first time that the DS3 goes head to head with its rivals, before being offered for sale to customers. In a baptism of fire, Citroën’s latest two-wheel drive machine, equipped with a 210-horsepower engine, will rack up its first competitive miles on extremely specialised terrain. Irish asphalt is notorious for its lack of grip and bumpy surfaces, which the new car will face over the 205 stage kilometres of the rally. The famously changeable weather in Ulster could also play a key role over the course of the event. Whatever happens, French driver Bryan Bouffier – who was an important part of the new car’s development programme – will be doing his best to take the DS3 R3 towards the top of the leaderboard, although he will face considerably more powerful local opposition.

Jean-François Liénéré, in charge of customer competition at Citroën Racing, commented:
“While we have been very pleased with our progress in testing, nothing replicates real competition. The Ulster Rally is a very tricky event where competitors have to deal with narrow roads that offer little grip. The variable weather conditions in Ireland are capable of springing both nice and nasty surprises so these are sure to be a determining factor in the outcome of the rally. The ideal result for us in Antrim would be to win Group R and finish in the top five overall. From a sporting point of view, Ireland and Great Britain are very important customer competition markets for our company. Citroën has a strong presence thanks to the Citroën Racing Trophy, which boasts a high profile and several top quality drivers. These people are very interested in the new DS3 R3 and I believe that our latest challenger will live up to all their expectations.”

Not only the drivers, but also thousands of fans are looking forward to seeing the new Citroën out in anger for the first time next week. The cars will be flagged off the ramp for the start of the Ulster Rally in the early afternoon of Friday 20 August.

Three questions to… Bryan Bouffier
You’ve been chosen for the competition debut of the Citroën DS3. How are you going to approach this event?
I was the first driver to test the Citroën DS3 R3 and now it is a great honour for me to be at the wheel when it has its first taste of competition. I’m going to start this rally hugely motivated, with my objective being to show the world just how fantastic this new car is.

This will be the first time that you have competed on a rally in Ireland. Have you already driven on similar surfaces?
It’s true that this is going to be a completely new experience for me: I’ve never had the chance before to contest any British or Irish Championship events. The roads in Ireland are well known for being bumpy with several jumps throughout the rally. But I’m not worried at all: I know that the DS3 R3 will be very forgiving and consistent on these types of roads, whatever the conditions.

You helped to develop the DS3 R3. What do you think of the car?
From the very first time I drove it, my feeling was immediately good. The Citroën DS3 R3 is easy to drive and it’s a huge pleasure to be behind the wheel. There are some interesting technical innovations as well. I’m thinking in particular of the hard work we accomplished on the suspension, but also on the torque from the engine and the sequential gearshift.
All this makes the DS3 R3 a really formidable machine.

Evolution Challenge Ireland - Irish and UK Evo Challenges combine for annual encounter.

Posted: August 16, 2010 2:30 PM

The Todds Leap.com Rally NI (or Ulster Rally as it’s generically known) is the one event of the year where the Irish Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge meets its UK equivalent. For teams contesting the Irish series, this is the sixth of eight rounds and for those contesting the UK-based series, it’s the fifth of six.

The first driver in the Irish Evo Challenge to leave the start in Antrim is one that ironically used to be a regular contender in the UK, current joint-series leader Neil McCance. He will be co-driven by Jonny Hart, who coincidentally used to partner the driver currently leading the UK series, Jonny Greer.

A non-finish last time out for McCance spoilt a 100% run as top points scorer and he hopes that with a good result this weekend, his task of wrapping up the title at the final two rounds in Wexford next month will be made far easier.

However, next to start are Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly who have been gathering pace all season and a win on the previous round, the ALMC Stages, has given them a significant boost in confidenc. The result also put Moffett equal first in the series with McCance and moved O’Reilly into a commanding position in the co-driver’s standings.

Third of the Irish Evo crews are Brendan Cumiskey/Conor Foley. Having borrowed an Evo IX for the last event whilst his own car was being repaired, Cumiskey is confident that being in familiar surroundings will help him get back the pace at the front of the Mitsubishi field.

The next Evo Challenge crew to leave the start are Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O’Callaghan. Having missed two rounds so far this season, they are further behind on points than anticipated, but hope to contest the remaining rounds and end their year on the podium once again.

Although there are a few notable absentees from the Irish Evo Challenge entry list, the Mitsubishi numbers are bolstered by the UK series also being part of the event. It will therefore be an interesting battle to see who comes out on top between the two, with UK contenders Jonny Greer and Alastair Fisher, together with Iclandic Rally Champion Daniel Sigurdarson, against the four Evo Challenge Ireland entries.

For the first time this season, the winner of the Evolution Challenge in each of the three countries it takes place, UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event, will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Donnelly Group, James Foley Rallysport, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear, Pacenotes and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

Evolution Challenge entries
12 Neil McCance (Comber)/Jonny Hart (Carryduff)
14 Sam Moffett (Monaghan)/ James O’Reilly (Monaghan)
16 Brendan Cumiskey (Dundalk)/Conor Foley (Ballinode)
32 Stanley Ballantine (Strabane)/Donnacha O'Callaghan (Mallow)

UK Evolution Challenge - Jonny Greer aims to get closer to title on home ground.

Posted: August 16, 2010 2:27 PM

The Todds Leap.com Rally NI (or Ulster Rally as it's generically known) is the one event of the year where the UK Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge meets its Irish equivalent. For teams contesting the UK series, which follows the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, this is the fifth of six rounds this season and, for those contesting the Irish-based Mitsubishi series, it's the sixth of eight.

First of the Evolution Challenge competitors to leave the start in Antrim will be Alastair Fisher and co-driver Rory Kennedy. They are also seeded third overall and, if they can maintain the pace they have shown on asphalt in the two previous rounds and make it to the finish, they not only stand a chance of recording their second Mitsubishi win of the season, but also claim their first outright British Championship victory.

However, their season of mixed fortunes has meant they have only scored on one round so far, the Jim Clark Rally and it's another Ulsterman Jonny Greer who has secured the highest number of wins, taking the Evo Challenge honours on three occasions so far. This has given Greer a significant lead in the Mitsubishi series and he now lies 26 points ahead of his nearest rival, Daniel Sigurdarson.

Therefore, with 20 points for a win and one-and-a-half times the points for the final round in Yorkshire - plus Sigurdarson has already dropped one score (competitors counting five of the season's six events) - Greer will still not be able to wrap-up the title this weekend. Having missed the previous round on the Isle of Man, which heralded Greer's third Evo Challenge victory of the season, Dai Roberts returns to the co-driver's seat for this event.

Sigurdarson will again be partnered by his sister Asta Sigurdardottir. The pair of them make a welcome return to the UK having contested the biggest rally of the year in their native Iceland last weekend and, if it had not been for a series of mechanical problems which forced them into second place, they would have easily won the event.

The Rally NI gets underway from Antrim town centre at 13.15 on Friday and features six stages on closed public roads before the overnight halt. The event restarts at 06.30 on Saturday morning and comprises a further eight stages, with the finish at the busy Junction One Shopping Centre scheduled at 15.35.

The leading trio of UK Mitsubishi competitors will battle it out with four of thier Irish counterparts: Neil McCance (formally a regular UK entry)/Jonny Hart, Brendan Cumiskey/Conor Foley, Sam Moffett/James O'Reilly and Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O'Callaghan.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers. The series was supported on the Isle of Man by the Mylchreest Group.

For the first time this season the winner of the Evolution Challenge in the UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions. Added to this, the winning driver in the UK will be a guaranteed nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out.

Citroën Irish Tarmac Championship tussle continues at Ulster Rally!

Posted: August 16, 2010 2:25 PM

The Citroën Irish Tarmac Rally Championship bursts back into action this weekend for the penultimate round of the series, the ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally.

The event, which will see Frenchman Bryan Bouffier make the world competition debut of the new Citroën DS3 R3, starts in Antrim on Friday 20 August.

Competitors will tackle a total of 14 stages during the course of the two-day rally, with the Citroën Irish Tarmac Championship crews pitting their driving skills against some truly international opposition.

Teams from as far away as France, Holland, Poland, Iceland, Finland and Australia are descending on the County Antrim's lanes.

However, for the Irish Tarmac Championship leaders, their focus will be on the tussle for championship points with their series counterparts.

Three drivers are separated by a slender three championship points ahead of this weekend's event, with County Tyrone's Alastair Fisher topping the standings in his production category Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

Fisher, who is a nephew of the late Bertie Fisher, will have an uphill struggle on his hands to maintain his championship lead, as the two men breathing down his neck are both using more powerful World Rally Car machinery.

Gareth MacHale is only one point adrift and a maiden victory in Ulster could propel him to the top of the series standings. Meanwhile, his brother, Aaron, starts the event three points adrift of Fisher, and is very much a contender for the 2010 Citroën backed title.

Also in with an outside chance is County Waterford's Craig Breen. After an excellent start to the season, two non-finishes have all but thwarted his championship hopes, although he does have a mathematical chance of taking the championship spoils.

The Ulster event will showcase the World Rally Cars in a separate Ulster WRC Rally, which will run at the head of the field.

Gareth MacHale and Brian Murphy are seeded first in their Ford Focus WRC ahead of Derek McGarrity and James McKee. Daragh O'Riordan and Tony McDaid are next in line ahead of Aaron MacHale and Eugene O'Donnell.

Meanwhile, Rally NI incorporates the remainder of the Citroën Irish Tarmac Championship crews, as well as British Rally Championship contenders. Gwyndaf Evans and Phil Pugh are the top seeds ahead of County Cork's Keith Cronin, who has Barry McNulty calling the notes.

Alastair Fisher and Rory Kennedy are next in line ahead of Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts, with Jonny Greer and Dai Roberts completing the top five.

Results from the Ulster WRC Rally and Rally NI will be combined post-event for the purpose of awarding Citroën Irish Tarmac Championship points.

Modified Trophy competitors have entered the Ulster National Rally, where Mervyn Wedlock will be aiming to build on his two point championship lead in the absence of second placed Barry Meade. However, Geoffrey Dolan, who is only three points adrift, will be fighting hard to close the gap.

And in the Historic, Post-Historic and Classic Championships, the battles for championship spoils will continue in the Ulster Historic Rally.

Competitors will leave service at Antrim's Junction One on Friday at 1.15pm, before crossing the Barbican Gate start ramp at approximately 1.30pm. During the event, crews will return to Junction One for service, and the winners will be crowned at the same location on Saturday afternoon.

Fiesta SportTrophy championships combine for penultimate round

Posted: August 11, 2010 3:46 PM

The penultimate round of the 2010 Fiesta SportTrophy UK (FST UK) and Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland (FST IE) championships take place next weekend (20-21 August) on the Rally Northern Ireland and Ulster Challenge Rally.

The Junction One shopping outlet-based event kicks off with a ceremonial start on the evening of Friday 20 August at the recently renovated Antrim Courthouse. The crews will then battle it out over 14 stages and 127 competitive miles across two days before returning to Junction One for the podium ceremony on Saturday evening. The FST UK event takes place over the full Rally Northern Ireland international event, while FST IE and Fiesta SportChallenge (FSC) events will be decided over the Ulster Challenge Rally. The Challenge event takes place over nine of the 14 stages used in the full event with a total of 81 competitive miles.

Having won all five FST UK rounds so far in 2010, championship leader Elfyn Evans (21) from Machynlleth, heads to event as clear favourite to secure his sixth success of the season. However, Evans only need to finish the event to secure the 2010 FST UK Championship title and that will no doubt be in the back of his mind as he tackles the challenging Irish stages. Should Evans win the 2010 title, it will be his third FST crown having won both the FST UK and FST IE titles in 2008. Evans and co-driver Andrew Edwards will once again use the Fiesta R2 they campaigned on the Isle of Man, before returning to their familiar Fiesta ST for the season finale, the International Rally Yorkshire.

After a challenging event last time out, 20-year-old John MacCrone from the Isle of Mull will be hoping to rediscover the form he showed on the opening Tarmac event of the year, the Jim Clark Rally. MacCrone and co-driver Stuart Loudon currently hold third in the championship standings, just one point behind John Boyd and co-driver Craig Wallace. A finish in the Northern Irish event would move the pair up to second in the standings after rivals Boyd and Wallace opted to skip the event.

Having won the FST IE championship on the previous round in Donegal, Stephen Wright (20), from County Monaghan heads to Antrim free from the pressures of a championship battle. Despite having not been in a rally car since Donegal, Wright and co-driver Paul McGee will be out to do battle with the FST UK regulars and claim top FST honours on Rally Northern Ireland. The pair will also use the event as a warm up for the Tour of Flanders Rally in Belgium, which they will tackle in a M-Sport prepared and run Fiesta R2 as part of their prize for winning the championship.

Championship regular Stephen Baxter took his maiden FST IE victory last time out in Donegal, with the help of new co-driver Martin Brady. Baxter will be hoping for a repeat performance in Antrim to boost his chances of gaining second in the overall standings. Baxter currently holds third, 17 points behind Dara Leonard, with two rounds remaining. With Leonard opting to skip Rally Northern Ireland Baxter is well placed to gain the upper hand on his rival.

Two new additions make their FST IE debut in Antrim, Damien Smith and Philip Ewart taking part in the Ulster Challenge Rally and competing for FST IE honours against Baxter and Wright. Smith has been a regular in the UK based FSC championship this year in his Fiesta ST. Having nominated to score points on the Isle of Man Challenge Rally, Smith is not eligible for FSC points in Ulster. However, after being forced to skip the Isle of Man Challenge Rally due to unforeseen circumstances, Smith and co-driver Frazer Hutchinson opted to compete on the Ulster Challenge Rally to improve their experience on Tarmac ahead of the 2011 season.

Philip Ewart joins the FST IE championship having competed in the Northern Ireland Rally Championship (NIRC) so far this season in a Fiesta ST. Ewart currently holds second in Class 1 of the NIRC at the halfway point of the championship. The 23-year-old from Craigavon will be co-driven by Scott McMahon who only began co-driving ten months ago. By registering for the championship, both Smith and Ewart are eligible for a share of the €2,500 Kick Energy prize fund available to FST IE competitors on each event.

Despite Jonathan Cunningham having wrapped up the Fiesta SportChallenge Drivers' championship on the Isle of Man Challenge Rally, the Co-drivers' title is still up for grabs. Cunningham's co-driver Richard Millener currently leads the standings, but having competed in his final points scoring round of the season, both Chris Williams and Sara Price can overtake him in the standings.

John Pritchard currently holds second in the Drivers' standings with a slender two-point advantage over Richard Parry-Jones, with Alex Laffey a further four points behind. Having not competed on Tarmac in over 15 years, John Pritchard and Chris Williams struggled to match the pace of the front-runners on their last appearance in the championship, the Jim Clark Challenge Rally. The pair will be hoping for an improvement on the Ulster Challenge Rally if they are to secure second in the Drivers' championship standings and win the co-drivers championship.

Currently holding third in both the Drivers' and Co-drivers' standings are Richard Parry-Jones and Sara Price from Abermaw. Parry-Jones has consistently featured in the top five of the FSC this season and will be looking to improve on his fourth place finish on the previous round if he is to close the gap to John Pritchard and claim second place.

20-year-old Alex Laffey has steadily improved his pace over his debut season in the FSC, culminating in a podium finish on the Jim Clark Rally. Laffey and co-driver Peter Martin recently competed on the Isle of Man Challenge rally to give Laffey more experience competing on sealed surfaces. After setting some competitive stage times early on the first day, the pair crashed on the sixth stage, causing considerable damage to their Fiesta ST and forcing them out of the event.

18-year-old Jamie Brown heads to the Ulster Challenge Rally keen to improve on his eighth place finish from 2009. Brown and co-driver Craig Burgess put in a consistent performance on the Jim Clark Rally to make it to the finish on what was only the second Tarmac event Brown had competed on. The pair will be hoping to end their season on a positive note next weekend.

As well as the €2,500 FST IE and the £2,700 FST UK/FSC prize funds, competitors in both championships will have the chance to win the Muc-Off Motorsport Cleaning Best Presented Car Award. The driver who posts the highest number of fastest stage times in the International event will also collect the Castrol Hard Charger Award.

BHRC preview, round six: Ulster Historic Rally

Posted: August 11, 2010 2:47 PM

The 2010 Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship continues next weekend (20/21 August) for the sixth of eight events ? and the second asphalt rally of the season - with the championship's first visit to Ulster.

The Ulster Historic Rally is another tough event, coming a month after the annual foray to the closed public roads of the Isle of Man. With many of the crews being new to the challenging Ulster stages, it promises to be an enthralling event.

Category 1
Heading the category one field will be the Sunbeam Tiger of Jonathan Gale and James Whitaker, winners on the Isle of Man last time out after a tough battle with the Porsche 911 of defending champions Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride. No one will have more local knowledge than the Porsche crew, so they will be all out to carry local honour and see off the rumbling V8 Tiger. Currently, consistently good pace has put Nutt and McBride at the head of the BHRC points' table and they will want to press home their local advantage this time around.
Chasing Gale and Nutt will be Rikki Proffitt in his Porsche 911 with the hugely experienced Peter Scott on the notes for only the second time. Notable among the smaller cars in category one is the remarkable Singer Chamois of Gary and Jane Edgington, fresh from a fifth straight finish on the Isle of Man.

Category 2
Former champions David Stokes and Guy Weaver will head the category two field in their Ford Escort Mk1, following a great victory on the Isle of Man. However, they have a strong line-up of rivals in similar cars, headed by the uber-experienced Jeremy Easson and Alun Cook. Add in the Escorts of Chris Browne/Liz Jordan and Ulstermen Ernie Graham and Iain Johnston, and it makes the strongest class C5 field of the season so far.
Chasing the Escorts will be the class C4 Porsche 911 of Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne, which scored a famous victory in Kielder in April, while the Pinto-powered Escort Mk1 of Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson should head class C3. Their opposition includes the similar car of James Slaughter/Phil Peak, back in fine fettle after an off on the Isle of Man, and the road-rally specification RS2000 of brothers Michael and David Pedley. Lining up against the Escorts will be the Saab 99 of Jim Valentine and Andy Harris and the Porsche 914 of Richard Morgan and Tim Madeley.
Class C2 has a strong line-up, topped by the amazingly rapid 1600cc Escort Mk1 of Vincent Bristow/Tim Sayer and including the Escorts of Neil Rudd/Brian Hodgson and David Kirby/Sean Kennedy.

Category 3
Local hopes for victory in category three rest with Omagh's Ryan Barrett, partnered by Paul McCann from the Isle of Man, in his Escort Mk2. Although this is Ryan's home event, he has never tackled these stages before but his performance on the Isle of Man last month suggests that he will be hard to beat.
Will Onions and Dave Williams top category three in the championship in their Escort Mk2 after a strong run on the Isle of Man, even though Onions has only limited asphalt experience. This will be his first time in Ulster and he goes up against a strong field that includes Manxmen Connor Corkill/Rob Fagg and Welshmen Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James, while Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks are closing in on the leading pace in their Escort Mk2.
Ranged against the Escorts in category three will be the Triumph TR7 V8 of Stephen Hall/Aggie Foster and the Vauxhall Chevettes of Rob Smith/Shaun O'Gorman and Tony Thompson/Steve Hartley.

The Ulster Historic Rally is organised by the Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd. For more details about the event, please visit the website at: ulsterrally.com
The historic rally starts from Antrim on Friday afternoon (20 August) and finishes on Saturday afternoon.

World Rally Radio to broadcast from Ulster

Posted: August 11, 2010 9:17 AM

World Rally Radio has confirmed that it will broadcast from the Ulster Rally on August 20–21.
The reporter in Ulster will link-up with the team that will be broadcasting live from Rally Germany (which is held on the same weekend).
The idea is to let the rally community know how the Citroen DS3 performs on the narrow, twisty lanes of the Ulster Rally (a round of both Irish Tarmac and British rally championships) as it is the world debut of the car.

List of Un Seeded Entries

Posted: August 11, 2010 8:57 AM

List of unseeded entries available on the competitors pages on:

TOP ULSTER RALLY COMPETITORS UNVEILED.....

Posted: August 11, 2010 8:52 AM

With entries now closed for the 2010 Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally, the pace of the preparations now move up a gear as the contenders for each of the five events included in the August 20th /21st motorsport weekend take shape.

Just under 150 crews are expected to take their places for the Friday afternoon start, and Rally fans are in for a treat this year, with a rich variety of machinery vying for the podium positions come Saturday afternoon.

Leading the cars away from the Antrim Town Centre start on Friday afternoon will be the Ford Focus WRC of Gareth MacHale and Brian Murphy.

Gareth, returning to the Ulster stages after narrowly missing out on a win in 2009, tops the entry for the Toddsleap.com Ulster WRC Rally ahead of Glengormley’s Derek McGarrity and James McKee in a Subaru Impreza 12B. McGarrity will be hoping for success on an event were a win has so far eluded him.

Corks Daragh O’Riordan fills the number three slot in another Subaru Impreza WRC ahead of the second Ford Focus WRC entry of Aaron MacHale and Eugene O’Donnell.

Dutch driver Arjen de Koning makes his first trip to the province and rounds out the top five WRC entries in his Mitsubishi Lancer.

Rally NI follows hot on the heels of the WRC cars, with past Ulster Rally winner Gwyndaf Evans leading a posse of young Irish chargers out to the classic Antrim stages for the first leg on Friday.

Evans, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X starts ahead of the Subaru Impreza N15 of reigning British Rally Champion Keith Cronin with Fermanagh’s Alister Fisher, current leader of the Citroën Irish Tarmac Rally Championship in his production class Mitsubishi Lancer, starting at three.

Also well positioned among the top ten Rally NI challengers are Jonathan Greer and Craig Breen.
Greer, current Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship leader, holds a 4 point advantage over Evans in the BRC standings and will be hoping to come away from his home event in a similar position on Saturday evening. Breen returns with the S2000 Ford Fiesta after setting some very competitive times during the season so far in both the British and the Irish series.

Citroën Sport have also chosen Rally NI for the world competition debut of the new DS3 R3 rally car. The new model, developed by the five-time World Rally Constructor Championship winners, will be piloted by Citroën Racing Development driver Bryan Bouffier.

Its not the first time that Citroën Sport have used the Ulster Rally to launch a new model; 2008 saw the C2R2 Max’s first competitive outing in the hands of the then up and coming WRC star Sebastien Ogier and the presence of the Citroën Racing Team in Junction One should again create quite a buzz in the Service Park during the weekend.

This years Rally NI has a real International feel, with competitors travelling from Holland, France, Poland, Iceland, Finland and Australia to take part in an event which was awarded ‘Best International Rally’ at the British Championship awards in 2009.

Meanwhile, the Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship also makes its first appearance in the province on the Toddsleap.com Ulster Historic Rally, and it’s a local driver who heads the entry list.

Omagh’s Ryan Barrett tops the 45+ entry, ahead of leading BHRC contender David Stokes’s RS1600 Escort. The Historic line up includes some iconic cars and names from the past history of the event.

Reigning British Historic Champion Dessie Nutt joins Derek Boyd, Dessie McCartney and a host of the best British Historic Championship competitors and cars who have crossed the Irish Sea to sample the iconic stages made famous down through the years.

Local interest also centres on the Ulster National Rally, and while numbers may be down for this event compared to previous years, the quality of the entry has not suffered.

Wesley Patterson starts at the front of the Ulster National field with Declan McNaughton at number two, both driving very rapid Mk2 Escorts. George Robinson slots into the number three spot and he is joined in the top ten by another former NI Rally Champion, Sean Haveron.

Last but not least is the Ulster Challenge Rally which runs in conjunction with the main British Rally Championship.
Taunton’s Julian Wilkes leads the Challenge contingent away in his rapid Vauxhall Nova VXR 190 ahead of a gaggle of Fiesta ST’s over 9 of the weekends 14 stages.

The Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally kicks off from Courthouse Square, Antrim on Friday 20st August at 13:30, with cars returning to the Junction One Service Park throughout the weekend.

The Official finish in Junction One is scheduled for 15:30 (Historic Rally) and 17:00 (International Rally) on Saturday 21st August.

The event includes 14 special stages and 7 visits to the Central Service Park based at Junction One International Outlet Shopping Centre, Antrim.

Further information is available from the event website www.ulsterrally.com, including details about the availability of the Official Rally Programme.

Rally NI early entry closing date fast approaching

Posted: July 27, 2010 12:35 PM

The organisers of the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally remind competitors that the early closing date for entries for Rally NI is Wednesday 28th July, and with a potential £500 late fee charge for entries after the Wednesday deadline, crews who have not already secured their place on the event are urged to complete their entry forms before the 5pm cut off.

For 2010 competitors will again be able to enter the event using our on-line entry form. Simply fill in the required information and click 'enter the Rally' and you will get an immediate rely to your email inbox to confirm that the application has arrived safely.

If you are posting your Entry Form, please let us know by email or text that it is in the post (contact details are included at the bottom of this email)

We also provide 3 options for payment; Bank Transfer, Cheque or Debit/Credit Card.

To access the on-line entry form, download the Regulations and print Entry form, or check out the current entries received, log on to the competitors page at www.ulsterrally.com

The final closing date for entries is Wednesday 4th August at 5pm.

The Toddsleap.com Rally NI is a counting round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship and the Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and incudes the Citroen Racing Trophy UK & Ireland, Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK & Ireland, Ford Fiesta Sport Trophy UK & Ireland and the Swift Sport Cup.

Bryan Bouffier to Drive Citroen DS3 R3 on World Debut

Posted: July 22, 2010 12:33 PM

Bryan Bouffier will drive the new Bryan Bouffier to Drive Citroen DS3 R3 on World Debut on its World Debut.

More Info on the Citroen DS3 R3

Ulster (WRC) Rally / Rally NI

Posted: July 22, 2010 12:08 PM

Ulster (WRC) Rally
For WRC Rally Cars Only
Counting Round of the Tarmac Championship

Rally NI
For all other GpA & N Cars
Counting Round of the BRC & Tarmac Championship

For the Tarmac Championship: results of the WRC event will be used to allocate class 6 scores only, and the results of both events will be combined to allocate all Overall Championship and Category scores.

More Details:

The Countdown Begins.....

Posted: July 6, 2010 2:13 PM

Hot on the heels of the Official Press Launch comes the news that the organisers have now released the Supplementary Regulations and entry Forms for the events which will make up the 2010 Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally on 20/21 August.

The event documentation can now be downloaded from the competitor page on the event website and competitors will not be stuck for choice when it comes to which event they wish to compete in.

The 2010 Ulster Rally is able to offer 5 different events over the motorsport weekend from National B status right up to full International standard to include:

Toddsleap.com Ulster (WRC) Rally – National A Status event for World Rally and Group A four wheel drive cars only including competitors contesting the Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The rally covers 127 miles over 14 stages.

Toddsleap.com Rally NI – International Status event for homologated cars included in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, the Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge, Citroen Racing Trophy, Fiesta SportTrophy and the Swift sport Cup. Rally NI covers 127 miles and 14 stages.

Toddsleap.com Ulster Historic Rally – National A stutus event catering for competitors contesting the Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship. The Historic event will compete over 12 stages and 112 miles.

Toddsleap.com Ulster Challenge Rally – National B event for competitors registered for the BRC Challenge which includes the Fiesta Sport Challenge and the Citroen C2R2 Cup. The challenge event runs over two legs, with a total of 81 miles over 9 stages.

Toddsleap.com Ulster National Rally – National B event providing classes for modified cars including competitors from the Citroen Tarmac Modified and Historic Championships. The National event takes in 9 stages and 79 stage miles.

After the successful introduction in 2009, the Online Entry System will again be available as an option for all the 5 events and competitors are reccommended to make use of the system which will greatly streamline and speed up the process of securing an entry in the award winning Ulster Rally.

The early closing date for entries is 28th July and entries will finally close on the 4th August; so competitors are urged to secure their place now for the 2010 event.

In a first for Ulster Rally organisers, this years event will include an ‘historic’ event, one of 8 rounds of the 2010 Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship and will feature a range of 1960’s and 70’s cars including iconic minis, porsches and escorts. 2009 MSA British Historic Rally champions and local competitors Dessie Nutt from Castlerock and Bangor’s Geraldine McBride are currently second overall after four rounds of this year’s event and lie two points behind leader Graham Waite from Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

The organisers have put in place a fantastic deal for Historic crews travelling from the UK mainland and this has been made possible with assistance from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s Event Growth Fund and ferry operator Stena Line.

Originally held in the Antrim area in 1976 when the inaugural Ulster Rally took place, the Ulster Rally returns to the region once again after last year’s successful event which was voted Best British International Rally. Rally HQ will be based at the Holiday Inn Express at Junction One and the event’s Central Service Park will be located in a section of the outlet shopping complex’s extensive car parks. Organisers expect 350 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 175 rally cars over the two day period.

Speaking at the recent Press Launch, newly elected Mayor of Antrim Cllr Pam Lewis said she was delighted that the Antrim Borough is to play host again to such a prestigious sporting spectacular.
“It’s an honour for Antrim to welcome the Ulster Rally back to the Antrim region. We’re looking forward to both local people and international guests sampling the delights of Antrim and enjoying a safe yet thrilling motorsport event. On behalf of the Council I’d like to wish the organisers all the very best for August 20th and 21st and hopefully we’ll be blessed with some superb weather.”

Ballygawley based multi-activity centre Toddsleap.com is once again backing the race as title sponsor and managing director Benny O’Hanlon said,
“As a racing enthusiast this is an event worthy of support – the calibre of drivers racing on our roads makes for a very exciting major spectator event. This is a marvellous showcase for Antrim and beyond.”

Regulations / Entry Form Available

Posted: July 5, 2010 7:45 PM


Pictured at the launch of this year’s Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally at Junction One International Outlet Shopping Centre,
is Ulster Rally fan Melissa Patton with l-r Michael Johnston, Clerk of Course,
Philip Murray, Event Director and Benny O'Hanlon of title sponsors Toddsleap.com

Historic First for Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally

Posted: June 29, 2010 8:01 PM

Antrim Borough Council in partnership with Junction One will play host to the Ulster Historic Rally, one of five events in this year’s Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally which takes place on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st August. In a first for Ulster Rally organisers, the ‘historic’ event is one of 8 rounds of the 2010 Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship and will feature a range of 1960’s and 70’s cars including iconic minis, porsches and escorts. 2009 MSA British Historic Rally champions and local competitors Dessie Nutt from Castlerock and Bangor’s Geraldine McBride are currently second overall after four rounds of this year’s event and lie two points behind leader Graham Waite from Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Officially launching the 2010 Ulster Rally at Junction One International Outlet Shopping Centre were top competitors Jonny Greer from Carryduff, current leader in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship and Robert Barrable, 6th overall in Citroen Irish Tarmac Championship and first in his class at Galway, Killarney and Donegal. Robert is leading both the Irish and British Rally Championship Citroen Racing Trophy series. Also attending the launch event were ‘Historic’ runners Dessie Nutt, Drew Wylie and Omagh’s Ryan Barrett. Special VIP guests also included Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and Mayor of Antrim Cllr Pam Lewis. This year’s first ever Ulster Historic Rally is supported by Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s Major Event Growth Fund.

Other drivers competing in August include Trillick based Alastair Fisher who currently leads the Irish Tarmac Championship and Gareth McHale who is trailing Alastair by one point in the Irish Tarmac event. Alastair, nephew of sporting hero the late Bertie Fisher, will compete with co-driver Rory Kennedy who partnered Bertie during the 1990s. Bertie Fisher was an Ulster Rally winner in 1982, 1991, 1995 and 1996.

The 2010 Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally encompasses127 competitive miles, 300 road miles and 14 stages in the Antrim and Mid-Ulster regions. Set to kick off at lunchtime on Friday 20th August with a ceremonial start at Courthouse Square in Antrim, the rally finishes at Junction One International Outlet Shopping Centre on Saturday 21st August.

Originally held in the Antrim area in 1976 when the inaugural Ulster Rally took place, the international event returns to the region once again after last year’s successful event which was voted Best British International Rally. Rally HQ will be based at the Holiday Inn Express at Junction One and the event’s Central Service Park will be located in a section of the outlet shopping complex’s extensive car parks. Organisers expect 350 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 175 rally cars over the two day period.

Ballygawley based multi-activity centre Toddsleap.com is once again backing the race as title sponsor and managing director Benny O’Hanlon said,
“As a racing enthusiast this is an event worthy of support – the calibre of drivers racing on our roads makes for a very exciting major spectator event. This is a marvellous showcase for Antrim and beyond.”

Leona Barr, centre manager of Junction One who hosted today’s launch said,
“We’re delighted to stage this special launch of the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to Junction One during Rally week-end in August.”

The Ulster Rally is a counting round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, the Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship, the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK & Ireland, Citroen Racing Trophy UK & Ireland, the Ford Fiesta Sport Trophy UK & Ireland, the Suzuki Swift Cup and the BRC Challenge.

The Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally is expected to attract up to 10,000 spectators from Ireland, the UK and further afield at both the start ramp and throughout each special stage. It’s also set to be broadcast on local TV, nationally and on global networks reaching an estimated audience of 30,000 on Rally Week-end.

Clerk of Course Michael Johnston paid tribute to key sponsor Toddsleap.com and partner Antrim Borough Council saying,
“It’s wonderful to be back in Antrim again this year. The course will undoubtedly challenge both old hands and newcomers to the race. This is the third year that Toddsleap.com has been the main sponsor of the Ulster Rally – their passion for the event is awesome and we are delighted to have them on board again.

“In addition to cash funding, Antrim Borough Council have provided support and facilities in kind including their excellent Vanguard depot.

We’re very pleased today to welcome and thank representatives of our many sponsors whose support is especially appreciated in today’s difficult economic conditions. We’re also grateful to Junction One for hosting today’s launch event and of course for enabling us to create a Central Service Park in the shopping centre’s large car park.”

Newly elected Mayor of Antrim Cllr Pam Lewis said she was delighted that the Borough is to play host again to such a prestigious sporting spectacular.
“It’s an honour for Antrim to welcome the Ulster Rally back to the Antrim region. We’re looking forward to both local people and international guests sampling the delights of Antrim and enjoying a safe yet thrilling motorsport event. On behalf of the Council I’d like to wish the organisers all the very best for August 20th and 21st and hopefully we’ll be blessed with some superb weather.”

More Details

Ulster Rally Returns to Antrim.

Posted: June 9, 2010 8:02 PM

Plans are in full swing for the 2010 Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally and after the success of the 2009 event, which was voted best British International Rally; the organisers are delighted to again base the event in Antrim.

Welcoming the ‘Ulster’ back to Antrim, Mayor of Antrim, Councillor Adrian Cochrane-Watson commented,

“This is the second year that the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally has taken place in Antrim. Last year's event was a fantastic success and a great boost for the Borough. With teams and spectators travelling from all over Europe, there is no doubt that an event of this calibre will contribute significantly to the tourism sector and boost the economy of the Borough. We are proud to support this event."

Speaking at a photo shoot with Councillor Cochrane-Watson, Clerk of the Course Michael Johnston endorsed the Mayor’s comments and added,

“It’s great to be able to base the Ulster Rally in Antrim again this year. The local area and its facilities were widely praised by competitors and spectators alike and I have no doubt that this was a major factor in the event being voted best British International Rally in 2009”

Michael also took the opportunity to confirm that for the first time in the event’s history the August Rally weekend will include the Ulster Historic Rally.

“The prestigious Ulster Historic Rally will be one of eight rounds of the Dunlop/WONAGA.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship, joining high profile events such as the Manx and the Tour of Flanders Rally in Belgium. Rally fans will be able see a variety of cars not seen for many years and we hope that they will bring back memories of the first Ulster Rally in 1976”

“Add this to the latest state of the art rally cars included in the Dulux Trade British and Citroen Irish Rally Championships and the local competitors in the National event we are confident that there will be something of interest for everyone.”

The 2010 event will set off from the Courthouse Square in Antrim Town at lunchtime on Friday 20th August and following a selection of interesting and challenging tests around the Hills & Glens of Antrim the cars will return to the finish within the Junction One International Outlet Shopping Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Prospective competitors can now download Ulster Rally Guide 1 giving full details and all the information they need to plan their trip to Antrim for the Rally from the event website

Rally Guide 1 Available

Posted: May 24, 2010 2:55 PM

Rally Guide One available on the Event Website:

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2010 12:01 AM

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