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Ulster Rally - 31 Aug-1 Sep 07

Posted: September 20, 2007 2:27 PM - 21339 Hits

Round 7 - 2007 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2007 British Rally Championship
Round 6 - 2007 Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge
Round 5 - 2007 MSA National Asphalt Rally Championship

  • MSA ASPHALT RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - PRICES FIX SIGHTS ON TITLE!…
  • Meeke/Nagle dominate the Ulster Rally
  • More Photos
  • Morrow stars on his home event
  • 2nd for Toni in Ulster Rally
  • Randalstown's Mulholland secures top diesel result at Ulster Rally!
  • Barry gets to grips with new car on Ulster Rally
  • McCLOSKEY ROBBED AT LAST GASP
  • It’s A Kind Of Magic…
  • REID MOTORSPORT RECORD SUPERB RESULTS ON ULSTER INTERNATIONAL RALLY
  • BRC POST Ulster International Rally
  • GASS’S PROMISE THWARTED
  • Mitsubishi settles for second in Ulster
  • Evo Challenge - Morrow records fifth win of the season
  • Photos

Photo: Roy Dempster

Posted: September 20, 2007 2:27 PM


MSA ASPHALT RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - PRICES FIX SIGHTS ON TITLE!…
John & Caroline Price’s victory on the Philip White Tyres Ulster National Rally at the weekend, their second in three years, sets up a grandstand finale to this year’s MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, which sees their MG Metro 6R4 and the Hyundai Accent WRC of Steve Simpson/Mark Booth heading for the final round, on the Otterburn Military Ranges on 11th November, tying on points. Both crews still have scores to drop but, put quite simply, the first one home will take the title!

Simpson/Booth have led the Championship throughout the season and, indeed, maintained their 100% finishing record in Ulster, while the Prices’ campaign started steadily but has been boosted by maximum scores in Sligo and now Ulster. ‘JP’ has already amassed an incredible 12 Championship titles during his illustrious career, while Caroline is looking for her 6th Co-drivers’ crown – both records that are already unlikely ever to be surpassed.

The Ulster National Rally is split into two legs, with four stages on Friday evening followed by another eight on the Saturday. The opposition posed by the Northern Irish crews is always formidable but, with just a handful of stages to go, ‘JP’ really put the hammer down to move into a lead which he maintained through to the finish in Armagh. Outgoing MSA Asphalt Champions David Kynaston/Andy Russell had damaged their Audi A3 Quattro on the previous weekend’s Mewla Rally and, for a while, their participation in Ulster was in doubt. However, a superb effort by the team saw them take the start and, in the darkness of Friday night, a conservative approach began to pay dividends. Clutch trouble then intervened during Saturday morning and, with a change of the offending article requiring the engine to be removed, doubts began to be expressed as to whether the Devonians would make the finish. After an anxious few stages, the Audi was coaxed over the ramp in 3rd place overall and Kynaston was awarded the ‘John Price Rallying Star Drive’ salver for his and the team’s dedication to duty to make the result possible. Meanwhile, Simpson/Booth suffered a puncture on the third stage in the dark on Friday evening and lost a minute-and-a-half to the leaders. Spending all Saturday playing catch-up in an ill-handling car was not the most enjoyable of pastimes, but they stuck with it and the end result now sets the scene for the showdown on Otterburn. Dave Price has waited 25 years to contest the Ulster Rally and to come away with a class win in his Ford Escort Mk6 RWD made it all worthwhile. Even the addition of a road penalty did not dampen his enthusiasm and he is now assured of Class B12 in this year’s MSA Asphalt Championship. He also leads the ‘Rear-Wheel Drive’ category, but the final destination of that particular award is still to be decided.

Tommi Graham/Mike Bailey (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) have been the revelation of this year’s Championship. Running in the Top 3 in the points table for much of the season, their reliability has been key to their success and a 5th successive finish in Ulster keeps them in the final podium place as the season draws towards its conclusion.

Having been forced to play second fiddle to Graham Hollis in Sligo, Rob & Paula Alderman took their Ford Escort RS to a maximum-points score in Class B11 this time after Hollis’ similar car was forced out after jamming in 5th gear. The final pecking order will be assorted out on Otterburn, with Geoff Glover’s Vauxhall Astra RWD joining in there as well.

Having hired a Group N Lancer for Sligo, Nick James/Bill Robertson did likewise for their second visit to Ireland and returned home to the mainland with Class N4 tied up in their favour. Notwithstanding, having not been to Otterburn before, the pair are likely to be present not only for the practice, but also to attempt to improve on their overall standing in the Championship – James is currently 4th.

Paul Harewood/Bob Jones’ run of good fortune – they took class maximums on each of their first three outings – was brought to a halt when their Vauxhall Astra’s crankshaft sensor failed during the second leg, while Roger Priestnall put his Proton Satria off the road and into retirement at about the same time.

Dave Corris/Mark Perryman arrived at service at the end of the first leg of the rally to discover that their Escort WRC’s turbo had failed and, without a spare, were forced to call it a day - or ‘night’, as it was then!

As can be seen from the foregoing, there is plenty of unfinished business to take to the final round of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, the Cheviot National Rally, in early November and, with part of the event necessarily running in the dark, another sizeable challenge is in prospect.


Morrow stars on his home event
It was a weekend to remember for Lisburn Rally driver Phillip Morrow, who not only won a round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge for the fifth time this season, but also finished third of the British Rally championship runners and collected two special awards: The Pirelli star driver nomination which will take him through to a final at the end of the year with the prize of a fully-funded drive in 2008 and the award for the most promising young driver of the year presented by the Northern Ireland Motor Clubs.

The event was the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally, which was held on 31st August & 1st Spetember. The rally hosted round six of the Evolution Challenge, the fourth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship and the seventh round of the Global Group Irish Tarmac Rally Championship – the sum of which meant that many of the best drivers from the UK and Ireland were competing.

Based in Armagh, the event featured 16 timed special stages totalling 121 competitive miles on closed public roads within a 30-mile radius of the town. Starting on Friday afternoon, the first leg saw six stages before the overnight halt, with a further 10 before the finish on Saturday evening.

In keeping with the event’s tradition, unpredictable weather conditions were to make tyre choice and the judgement of grip levels a lottery. Unperturbed, right from the word go Phillip, together with his co-driver and brother Simon, was the class of the field, not only leading the Evo Challenge runners by 37 seconds, but also setting a series of times quick enough to put him third in the BRC standings after the first loop of four stages.

The last two stages of the evening saw Phillip extend his Evo Challenge lead to nearly two minutes as others had problems, notably his main rivals for the Mitsubishi Championship: Julian Reynolds, who had encountered wetter roads than the young Ulsterman and Seb Ling, who had briefly gone off and into a field on SS6.

But it could have well been a different story as Phillip entered the service area for the last time on Friday, when he felt something break in his car’s transmission. Fortunately, with 45-minutes to effect repairs his team were able to change the transfer box and fix the problem in readiness for the next-day’s 10 stages.

All started well on Saturday morning, right up until SS10, when Phillip ran wide, clipped a bank and squashed an intercooler pipe which reduced his car’s turbo boost dramatically. Although loosing 30 seconds the problem was fixed at the next service halt and he was able to continue at full-power.

Now focussed on getting to the finish unscathed the remaining six stages seemed to be never ending as Phillip drove at a calculated pace – not too fast to risk an incident or a mechanical problem, whilst at the same time maintaining a speed that would keep him well ahead in the Evo Challenge and third in the British Championship standings.

When he finally crossed the finish line back in Armagh a delighted Phillip said: “I am so pleased to have won another round of the Evolution Challenge. It really puts me in a great position now with just two rounds to go. I was happy with my pace on the stages, especially as it’s a tarmac rally and I regard gravel as my better surface. Also, to finish third of the British Championship runners, plus claim seventh overall is a great result for me.”

At this point, unbeknown to Phillip beforehand, he was awarded with the Pirelli Star Driver nomination. Then, later that evening at the event’s prizegiving ceremony, Phillip also received the award for the most promising young driver of the year, presented by the Northern Ireland Motor Clubs.

“What a fantastic weekend this has been. To win all of these awards is better than I could have ever imagined. But I am really pleased to have won another round of the Evo Challenge and take another step closer to the works Mitsubishi prize drive next year.”

With two rounds still to go and dropped scores to be taken into account Phillip has to finish 5th or higher on the next event, the International Rally Yorkshire on 6th October, to secure the 2007 Evolution Challenge title and win the prize that is regarded as the best prize in British rallying – the chance to become a Mitsubishi works driver in the 2008 British Rally Championship.

Phillip’s 2007 campaign is supported by Morrow Fuels, Pirelli Tyres, Lyons European Haulage, Lagan Motor Factors, DGM Motorsport, Kelly’s Toyota, Proflex, PIAA, Speedline Corse, Drenth gear kits, BADMC and RPM Promotions.


2nd for Toni in Ulster Rally
Letterkenny Teenager, Toni Kelly along with co-driver Joe Hunter took 2nd in Class in the Phillip White Tyres Ulster Rally at the weekend. The event which was based in the city of Armagh with stages in the surrounding areas was set to be a tough one for both driver and car.

Straight out of the blocks Toni and Joe took a 48 seconds of David Randles on the first stage and by the first service had a lead of over a minute accrued. Following the service the pair headed for the 2nd loop of the earlier stages but as the daylight faded the weather took a turn for the worst and while sitting at the start of the stage they noticed the windscreen steaming up. This got worse as the stage went on and it caused them to drop some time to Randle and they finished the day in 47th overall and 1st in class.

Saturday morning seen another good start for Toni and Joe and the pair continued to push to maintain their first in class. Pushing to hard maybe as on stage 12 they slid of the road on and got stuck on a ditch for 4 minutes. This put an end to their hopes for a class victory and maximum championship points. In the end the duo finished the rally thanks to the helpful spectators that got them off the ditch. They finished the rally in 38th overall and 2nd in class. Toni commented " This rally was so enjoyable yet the conditions again this year were not ideal and tyre choice was near impossible to get right, going off on the stage and losing the class lead was disappointing for both of us but we still secured 12 valuable points for the championship which is the important thing"

Toni and Joe are now Joint 1st in Class 7 of the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship with only 1 round remaining. "It's all down to Cork now so it should be an exciting end to our 1st full year in the championship" said Joe


Randalstown's Mulholland secures top diesel result at Ulster Rally!
Randalstown's John Mulholland is celebrating after an excellent weekend in his NIIB Finance backed Skoda Fabia vRS TDi at the Armagh based PWT Ulster Rally. Navigated by Eamon Gorman, the crew secured third in class and was the first diesel car home at the event, which marked a round of both Ireland's and Britain's premier rally championships!

Amid tough competition, the 16 stage rally was fought over closed roads during day and night on Friday 31 August and Saturday 1 September. There were plenty of thrills and spills throughout the field, but John and Eamon ensured they kept their John Mulholland Motors Fabia vRS between the hedges to grab a superb result when they arrived at the Armagh finish ramp.

"It was a very difficult weekend," John said after the event. "We always seemed to choose the wrong tyres. On one stage, we were sitting on the start line with slicks and then the heavens opened! It was really slippery and difficult to control so we're pleased to secure such a good result!"

Tyre choice was not the team's only difficulty during the weekend. The Shell Racing Diesel backed car had been fitted with brand new three-way adjustable suspension, and a heavy landing over a jump on stage two burst the dampers! The K.G. Motorsport service crew was forced to revert the car back to its original suspension, but it was also damaged during Saturday morning's stages!

The mechanics pounced on the car once again, allowing John and Eamon to ensure their Shell Racing Diesel and Hankook backed car reached the finish of the demanding event. It was certainly no easy task, but with an armful of points and more crystalware for the cabinet, it was another excellent result for the John Mulholland Motors team!


Barry gets to grips with new car on Ulster Rally
Over the past few weeks Enniskerry rally driver Daniel Barry and his Barry Motorsport team have rebuilt their Mitsubishi Evolution VIII into the very latest Group N specification Evolution IX - and this weekend's Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally saw its first competitive outing.

Held on closed public roads around the rally's host town of Armagh, the event hosted the sixth round of the highly competitive Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the one-make series for production specification Mitsubishi Lancers. The event was also a round of both the British and Irish Rally Championships, which brought together many of the best drivers from the UK and Ireland to provide an overall field of 86 cars. Testing during the week leading up to the weekend, with former Mitsubishi works driver Rory Galligan from Oldcastle on hand to set up the car and offer the advice of his experience, meant that Daniel was as prepared as he could be for this notoriously difficult asphalt rally – especially as his preferred surface is gravel!

Partnered by his regular co-driver, Mark Bowens from Castlemartr, Daniel set off for the first of Friday's six special stages eager to see what his new car would do and straight away he found a significant advantage in its performance. However, like all drivers he was a little cautious from the start, as the event's notorious unpredictable weather meant that tyre choice was a lottery with the stages becoming more and more slippery in the falling rain.

As Daniel returned to Armagh for the overnight halt the team were delighted to report that although further work was needed to perfect the tarmac set-up, the car was running faultlessly and Daniel found himself a respectable fifth in the Evolution Challenge and 23rd overall.

With a further 10 stages on Saturday, the 22-year old Irishman felt confident enough to increase his pace, but the conditions were still not ideal and on the first stage of the morning the car under-steered into a post. Although hardly damaged, an intercooler pipe was crushed, resulting in almost no boost from the turbocharger. Having to nurse the car through the rest of the stage and the one following, Daniel returned to the service area where the necessary parts were replaced.

With the car restored to 100% he set off to make up for lost time, only for the same thing to happen on SS10 – this time the car coming into contact with a tree and damaging the intercooler itself. Again, the team did the business at the next service halt, but for some reason full power could not be resumed, which meant a frustrating final few stages.

Determined to get to the finish Daniel pressed on and was pleased to cross the line back in Armagh 7th in the Evolution Challenge and 30th overall – a worthy result considering the time lost during the day and the quality of the competitors around him. He also picked-up third place in the PIAA Junior category for under 25-year old drivers.

“Although it was a difficult rally I was really pleased with the way the car performed. I must also thank my team for keeping me going and fixing the car within the service time allowed”, said Daniel at the finish. “The Evo IX has significantly more power than the Evo VIII and it really accelerates out of corners, which took me some time to get used to on tarmac. I’m therefore looking forward to my next event which is back in the forests on gravel roads.”

The next event for Daniel and his team is also the next round of the Evolution Challenge and the British Rally Championship – the International Rally Yorkshire on 6th October. Based in Pickering, the event features 90 competitive miles in forests over the picturesque North Yorkshire Moors.

Daniel’s 2007 campaign is supported by: Peggy Murphy’s of Enniskerry, BPI Telecom, Henco under-floor heating and SC Signs.


McCLOSKEY ROBBED AT LAST GASP
Connor McCloskey’s tenth place in the British Rally Championship on the 2007 Ulster International Rally, could so easily have been fifth, but for a mystery engine fault before the final stage.

The County Londonderry driver and his Oxfordshire co-driver, Robbie Durant had to resort to Super Rally regulations, which impose a hefty ten minute time penalty for every incomplete stage. Fortunately his position and the gaps between drivers meant the one missed stage still left him in the top ten.

“We’ve had a difficult season and it would have been nice to pick up decent Irish Championship points,” said a dejected Connor as he walked into the Armagh City Hotel service area, minus car. “I suppose it is some consolation to be in the top ten BRC.”

The rally didn’t start well for the pair, resorting to pushing the car from the start ramp to first service. “We had a leaking clutch pipe,” said a breathless Connor, “and we had to push the car from the Mall back to service as I couldn’t drive it without the clutch in the traffic.” The problem was easily remedied but they collected penalties for leaving service late.

By the end of the first day they lay eighth and with a seventh fastest on day two’s opening stage, Connor was on a charge. The weather was, however very changeable and on the very next test he was caught out on a slippery square corner, dropping the nose of the Mitsubishi in a ditch. Spectators were on hand to extricate them but at a price. They dropped over a minute to the BRC front-runners and with it one place to Championship leader Wyn Humphreys.

A big push saw them reel in the Welshman and by the penultimate stage they were back in front. But the cruellest blow had been hinted at on that stage. “The car had a bit of a stutter in (stage) fifteen,” explained a disconsolate Connor at the service park, “Then it just died on the road section to the final stage.”

The car eventually restarted but on three cylinders, so Connor decided to call it a day and save damaging the engine further. “Tenth place is hardly a consolation,” he said at the finish, “but we’ve set some good times and up ‘til that point the car had run faultlessly.”

The next event sees a switch back to gravel when they return to International Rally Yorkshire in early October.

Connor and the team would like to thank Egger (wood based panels), Euro Components, KBB Doors, Pirelli and Shell Racing Fuels for their continued support in 2007



03/09/07
Entries open for inaugural World Rally Championship Event
Rally Ireland, which sees the World Rally Championship (WRC) come to these shores for the first time ever in November, is now accepting entries from competitors.

The event, which kicks off with a Super Special Stage at Stormont, Belfast’s Parliament Buildings, on 15th November, will see three days of cross-border rally action in the north-western counties and a Service Park based in Sligo.

Ninety cars will be entered in Rally Ireland with all the major manufacturers’ teams, including Citroen and Ford, represented. The event is also a round of the Production Car World Championship.

Clerk of the Course Tom Walsh said: “We’re certain that we will have a large number of entries from national and overseas competitors alike and that will ensure we have the best possible mix of sporting talent for our WRC debut.”

With a nail-biting 0.3 seconds between them on the most recent round in New Zealand and just 10 points separating the two top drivers, Marcus Gronholm from Finland, and France’s Sebastian Loeb, Rally Ireland could well see a Championship decider on the November event.


It’s A Kind Of Magic…
Dungannon’s Kris Meeke is feeling ‘mighty’ today as he has just scored one of the most emphatic victories of his spectacular career – winning the Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rally over the weekend from an off form Eugene Donnelly.

‘The Magician’ was simply in a league of his own throughout the two day event, setting blistering times in his Pirelli Subaru WRC car at the start of each day and leaving his rivals tasting Orchard County dust!

“It’s amazing,” said Meeke afterwards, “because up until a fortnight ago I was planning to be on holiday the weekend of the Ulster. Then the last minute offer of Mark Higgins’ car came from Pirelli at Lurgan Park and I jumped at it. It was only my fourth event in a WRC car, but the Ulster is my home rally and I felt comfortable from the off. The car was superb and myself and co-driver Paul Nagle decided on a maximum attack at the start of each day, which enabled us to build a cushion which we held to the end!”

Current Irish Tarmac Championship leader Eugene Donnelly found that his usual magic had gone awol on the Ulster, losing to Meeke by almost three minutes, but second place still meant a good points haul for ‘The Genie’ which means that only Mark Higgins can challenge him for this year’s ITC title – to be decided in Cork in a few weeks time.

The National battle was a more closely fought affair, with Camillus Bradley’s superquick Mk2 Escort swapping seconds with John Price’s pocket rocket Metro 6R4. In the end it was Hereford man Price who prevailed, his screaming 6R4 using its four wheel drive to advantage on the tricky Armagh and Tyrone lanes.

Lisburn brothers Phillip and Simon Morrow won the closely contested Mitsubishi Evo Challenge at the Ulster International, and need just a few more points to clinch the overall title, with its golden prize of a Mitsubishi ‘works’ drive for next season.

“This year’s Ulster International has totally lived up to its billing,” said main sponsor Philip White of Philip White Tyres. “Our congratulations go to Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle for what was simply a magic performance. We look forward to seeing Kris, Eugene and a host of other leading crews do battle again next year on the Ulster, as it is always and will continue to be a pivotal event in the Irish Tarmac Championship.”


REID MOTORSPORT RECORD SUPERB RESULTS ON ULSTER INTERNATIONAL RALLY
Whilst Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely may not have scored a win on the Ulster International Rally, it was a weekend of good results for the Reid Motorsport team, with Eugene finishing a fine second in his WRC Subaru, James Cullen an excellent eighth, and third Irish Group N, and Shaun Reid in twenty third, coping well with the exceptionally slippery and difficult conditions. For Eugene it was disappointment that he didn’t record another Ulster Rally win, but his second place means that he has to finish in the top three to tie up the championship, even if rival Mark Higgins scores maximum points on the final round in Cork.”
There is no doubt I wanted to win the Ulster, but perhaps in our efforts we tried too hard. We picked too adventurous a tyre on the first loop, 100% right for stage one, 100% wrong for stage two, whilst Kris had picked an intermediate which was a safer choice and a choice that was adequate on both tests. We tried another adventurous choice for the second loop, which worked well only on the last stage. Then the second morning was the nail in the coffin for us, when we choose a slick, and the stage was very greasy. In fact we had one moment up a bank and I just said I’ve got to drive through, and once we lost that big chunk of time, and more with a puncture on the next test, there was nothing for us to go for.”

Eugene is a little despondent about the event, but in the circumstances the pressure was very on to finish and record points as a non score would ruin the championship.
“Ok we got the tyres wrong, but its not all about tyres, there is driver error too. I just wasn’t feeling as confident in those slippery conditions as I did before my off back on the Galway Rally. I am bitterly disappointed we couldn’t put up more of a fight to Kris, and ok in those conditions he has more of an advantage with an active car, but at times he was annihilating us. What can I say bit things didn’t just gel for us, and Kris got it right. Before the rally I was under no illusions how fast he would be and he proved that.”

Eugene has just three weeks to prepare for the finale in Cork, and then the next outing will be the World Championship Rally Ireland in November.
“I am looking forward to that. It will be just one rally to think about, and it will be a tough, challenging event.”

For James Cullen and Reba Graham, in the Reid Motorsport Group N Evo 9, it was an excellent rally finishing eighth overall and third of the Irish registered Group N drivers, moving James very close to Kevin O’ Donoghue for second in the championship race, and still with an outside chance of the title in Cork.
“For us it was a good event. We had a minor suspension problem on the first test, but after that the car ran faultlessly. I must say I really enjoyed the night stages. It was like rallying in the old days and there should be more of it. Brilliant!”
Indeed James enthusiasm in the dark brought him up the time sheets, and he finished eighth, just behind British Rally Elite driver Phillip Morrow.
“To be honest if I had of realized that the rules allowed Phillip to score points despite not carrying the championship stickers I may have had more of a go at the end to try and get ahead, as he had down dropped nearer to us before the end of the rally, but that’s not relevant now. Colm Murphy has a commanding lead in the series, but anything can happen in rallying, and if he was to have bad fortune, and we continue to reverse the bad fortune we had early in the year, you never know it’s definitely not all over yet.”

Third member in the Reid team Shaun Reid and co driver Damien McAuley in their sister Evo 9, had an encouraging rally. Twenty third overall amongst British, Irish and massive Mitsubishi Evo Challenge opposition was a sterling result.
“To be honest we really wanted to finish the event, and get experience, and conditions for everyone were difficult especially on Friday night. As ever the rally was very well organized and very enjoyable as was my car which ran very well.”

The Reid Motorsport team is now preparing the cars for the final round of the Irish Tarmac Championship on the final weekend of the month. With the overall and Group N championships both still possible for the Reid team, preparations are intense, for a team that is still very new to the sport.


BRC POST Ulster International Rally
Mark Higgins and Rory Kennedy took victory on the Ulster International Rally this weekend, moving them into the lead of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.

Their second victory of the season puts them just a few points ahead of their team-mate Wyn Humphreys in the similar Stobart TEG Sport Impreza. “We need as many wins as possible,” said Mark at the finish, “because the Championship allows two dropped scores at the end of the season and Guy (Wilks) is still ahead if you take that into account now.”

Second, after Wilks retired from the lead with transmission failure, was his Mitsubishi Motors UK team-mate Gwyndaf Evans. His second consecutive runner-up spot moves him ahead of Wilks but there is just three points separating third to fifth places.

Philip Morrow returned to the series with his Evo Challenge assault and managed a fine third place, his second of the year. His accomplishment was also rewarded with the Pirelli Star Driver award. This will add him to the list of finalists at the end of season shoot-out for a drive in the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.

Conrad Rautenbach took fourth and the Rally 3 win in his Citroen C2 S1600 while Rob Swann’s fifth place moved his into a fine third in the BRC points table. Wyn Humphreys meanwhile, had a fraught event, losing gears in his Stobart TEG Sport Subaru. He managed sixth, dropping him behind Higgins but still thirteen points clear of Swann.

Rally 2 was won by James Wozencroft in the Dealer Team Suzuki Swift, but it was after the demise of Matt Beebe whose excellent run ended on the penultimate stage with engine failure. Lorna Smith was third behind George Thomas, taking her battered Suzuki to the podium and with it securing the win in the Irish N2 class.

George Thomas took Citroen C2R2 Cup honours from Martin Laverty, both stating that they were on a mission to just get to the finish. Jason Pritchard still heads the series despite finishing behind Isle of Man winner and third placed Martin Roberts. Kazutomo Kusama is deserved of mention too, getting his C2R2 to the finish for the first time, one place behind Roberts.


GASS’S PROMISE THWARTED
Darren Gass and Neil Shanks had high hopes for the Ulster International Rally this weekend, but disaster struck before they had even reached the first stage.

After a successful test and driving guests on the Ulster Rally press day, the Markethill youngster was ready to entertain his home fans in Armagh. With at least one of the stages passing within a few hundred yards of Darren’s house and a good recce with his Scottish co-driver, their disappointment was plain as they returned to the service area.

“We set off to the start in the Mall in Armagh, signed some autographs and returned to make our final tyre choice before the first stage,” explained Darren, “There was what felt like a bit of engine movement while we were in the traffic, but I put it down to the fierce clutch and trying to drive slowly in town.”

The problem would only become clear on the 55 minute run to the first stage, when a broken engine mount was discovered. “It got worse and we had to stop and check under the bonnet,” said Neil, “it was only then that we found the broken mount. It had cracked in two places and there was no point in continuing and causing more damage.”

When the car returned to service it was a simple repair, but they would take no further part in Friday’s proceedings, electing to watch the rest of the field instead. Super Rally rules that saved them several times last year in their Fiesta now came into play again, allowing them to restart on Saturday.

With no pressure Darren pushed on stages familiar to him, setting some impressive times in the 1600cc Citroen C2, but it came to an abrupt end on the final stage when they ended the rally in a ditch. Unable to recover the car in time, they were forced to use Super Rally again, scoring points in the Rally 3 class by returning the car to parc fermé before the end.

The team is now waiting for gravel suspension to arrive in readiness for the next round of the British Rally Championship, Rally Yorkshire in early October.

Darren would like to thank Quarryfix Ltd, Cheevers Chemists, Dalzells of Markethill, Haffey Plant Hire, Killycarn Sand & Gravel , EMC Autopax, AC Vehicle Components, Sligo Pallets, Castrol, ID Graphics (NI) and Crozier Motorsport Engineering for their support in 2007. You can check on the team’s progress at www.darrengass.com


Mitsubishi settles for second in Ulster
After topping the leader board for the first half of the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally, the Mitsubishi Motors UK Works Team finished the fourth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship in a sound second place, Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Huw Lewis crossing the line over four minutes ahead of their nearest rivals.

The Ulster Rally featured six stages on Friday evening with a further 10 on Saturday, all of which were held on closed roads around the rally’s host town of Armagh. The event was also a round of the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship, which brought with it a number of World Rally Cars.

After dominating round three of the UK’s premier rally series, when the team’s two Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IXs finished an impressive first and second, hopes were high for another top performance.

As in all previous BRC rounds so far this year, Guy Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh were fastest out of the blocks and, after the first stage, led all other BRC competitors, posting a time good enough to put them in third place overall. Unfortunately, their dynamic efforts were short-lived as two-miles into the second stage their car’s throttle stuck open – thankfully Wilks discovering the problem before getting to the next corner!

With no other option other than to switch the ignition off each time he wanted to retard his car’s progress, for the remainder of the stage and the following two before the first service halt, over two minutes were lost and he dropped to seventh place. The consequent erratic flow of fuel also took its toll on the car’s turbo-charger - another factor which added to the delay.

The team’s technicians replaced the offending components within the 20-minute service time allowance and, now with his Lancer restored to full power, Wilks set out to make up for lost time.

Notwithstanding his team-mate’s dramas, Mitsubishi still led the British Championship field as Evans had been right behind in second place and grasped the BRC baton when Wilks slowed. With the bit between his teeth for Friday’s final two night-time stages the masterly Welshman extended his lead to 11 seconds before the overnight halt, ahead of the team’s familiar rival Mark Higgins in a Subaru.

As Saturday dawned, rain clouds encircled Armagh and drivers agonised over their choice of tyres – a factor which continued throughout the day. So, with Evans and Higgins at the front and Wilks, who had moved up to fifth by Friday’s close of play and was ready for an epic charge, the scene was set for an exciting 10 stages.

But true to the sport’s unpredictability, the first of Saturday’s stages saw Wilks coast to a halt, a problem in his car’s transmission resulting in zero-drive. Then, on the very next stage, it was Evans’ turn for misfortune when he clipped a bank coming out of a right-hander. Initially there appeared to be nothing wrong with his Lancer following the brief encounter, but as he drove on it became apparent that a driveshaft had been dislodged, which subsequently led to a broken cross-shaft in the transmission.

Nursing his car through the rest of the stage and the one that followed, Evans got back to the service area where a hasty change of the transfer box rectified the problem. Although dropping 32 seconds to Higgins, Evans had already done enough to retain second place and, although he knew it would be a difficult task, with seven stages left to go victory was still possible if his opponent suffered a similar fate.

But with changing weather making grip in the Ulster lanes a veritable lottery, it would be a tough call to make up the deficit – even for someone of Evans’ experience. With Wilks out and to ensure a healthy points haul for the team, Evans opted to play a waiting game and consequently ready to pounce if Higgins hit problems.

But it was not to be and, after a faultless performance for the remainder of the rally by both car and driver, Evans crossed the line to take second place.

The result sees Evans move up to 4th in the British Championship driver’s standings, with Wilks now 5th, whilst Mitsubishi consolidates its second place in the team’s category.

Preparations now start for round five of the UK series and a return to gravel roads when the team competes in the International Rally Yorkshire on 6th October.

The Cirencester-based Mitsubishi Motors UK rally team is supported by HKS, Pirelli, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA, Ricardo and Performance Friction Brakes. The team’s two Lancer Evolution IXs are built and run on events by ADR Motorsport of Chesterfield. Guy Wilks is supported by Mobil 1 and Sega Rally.

Team Quotes
Gwyndaf Evans
“Second place is okay, but it was a shame not to win – especially after leading for half the rally. Although we made the right tyre choice for most of the event there were still times when the conditions were very tricky and you just couldn’t predict the level of grip. With everything clicking into to place nicely it was a real shock to run wide and I have to admit it disturbed my rhythm for some time afterwards. I am very grateful to the team for keeping me in the event by getting the transmission changed within the service time and for giving me a car that otherwise ran faultlessly.”

Guy Wilks
“After a great start it ended-up being one of those events. I’m disappointed not just for me but for the team too as they did a great job replacing the throttle assembly and turbo on Friday evening, so to go out on Saturday morning because of another problem is a real kick in the teeth. Not scoring on this event means that we now have to concentrate on reliability and being competitive for the rest of the season if we want to keep our title hopes alive.”

Paul Brigden
“After Guy’s retirement and Gwyndaf’s unlucky moment, I’m pleased we were able to claim second place by such a healthy margin. After our convincing one-two result in the Isle of Man it was a shame not to get both cars home this time round and it’s therefore important that we focus on getting strong two-car finishes for the remaining three rounds. Having done it before I know we can do it again.”


Evo Challenge - Morrow records fifth win of the season
Phillip Morrow recorded an impressive fifth Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge victory of the season following a masterful performance in his home event, the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally, which took place on Friday 31st August and Saturday 1st September.

In the first of two events away from its usual Hankook National Gravel Rally Championship domain, the Evolution Challenge saw ten of its registered competitors included in the 80-car Ulster Rally entry list. The event was also a round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship and the Global Group Irish Tarmac Rally Championship – the Mitsubishi crews making up 12% of the overall 86-car field.

Based in Armagh, the event was the second of two asphalt events in the Evo Challenge calendar, which featured six stages on Friday evening and a further 10 on Saturday, all taking place on closed public roads around the host town.

In keeping with the event’s tradition, unpredictable weather conditions were to make tyre choice and the judgement of grip levels a tough call for competitors. Even so, right from the word go Morrow was the class of the field, not only leading the Evo Challenge, he also set a series of times quick enough to put him third in the BRC standings after the first loop of four stages.

37 seconds behind was fellow Ulsterman Neil McCance, who was pleased to be in second following an overshoot in SS1. He was followed by one of three drivers who could still claim the Evo Challenge title Julian Reynolds, who had lost time when it rained in SS2. The same had applied to fourth-placed David Bogie, who admitted to be regaining his confidence after an enormous moment only 400 yards into the first stage and following his crash on the Manx Rally – the last time he competed on asphalt.

The third title contender and currently second in the series, Seb Ling was also slowed by the wet roads, having been caught out on the wrong tyres. But things were to get worse for the Welshman before the evening was out, when he shot off the road and through a gateway on SS6. This agricultural excursion removed his lamp pod and dented almost every panel on the car, as well as costing him nearly a minute in lost time.

Others having problems during Friday’s two night-time stages were Nik Elsmore, who’s car lost power when a pipe removed itself from the intercooler and McCance, who had to stop on SS5 with a broken drive shaft. The rally was also proving tough for Connor McCloskey who found he had collected a 70-second penalty after running late when a clutch pipe split as he was crossing the start ramp!

Getting used to their new machinery were Alan Carmichael in his brand new Evolution IX, purchased only a few days before the rally, Daniel Barry acclimatising to his car, having upgraded it from an Evo VIII to a IX and McCloskey was also gathering pace in his recently refurbished ex-works Lancer.

As Morrow entered the service area for the last time on Friday, he felt something break in his car’s transmission. Fortunately, with 45-minutes to effect repairs his team were able to change the transfer box and fix the problem in readiness for the next-day’s 10 stages.

Still in with a mathematical chance of gaining the Evo Challenge title Reynolds and Ling upped their game from the start of the Saturday’s stages. But it was not going to be a good day for others: Bogie lost his clutch fluid during SS7 and could not get his car going as that start of the next road section was uphill, which elevated Ling to third.

On SS8 McCance realised that to return to the event under SuperRally regulations may not have been such a good idea, when he spun during a tightening right-hander and slid backwards at speed into a ditch. Although both unharmed, he and co-driver Ian Windress visited the nearby hospital for a check up, such was the impact of the incident.

With his car’s transmission getting noisier by the minute, Miles Johnston also opted to go down the SuperRally route and, although pulling out of the event following SS8, he was still accredited with victory in the Evo Cup and now regains the lead in the class for nearer to standard Group N Lancers.

Meanwhile Morrow was forging ahead, but only as far as SS10, when he ran wide, clipped a bank and squashed an intercooler pipe which reduced his car’s turbo boost dramatically. Although loosing 30 seconds the problem was fixed at the next service halt and the young Ulsterman focused on getting to the finish unscathed.

Whilst Reynolds, Ling, Elsmore and Carmichael were getting quicker as they settled into a rhythm, Barry was occasionally caught out by the changing weather and made it a busy day for his service crew as they changed a variety of items in order to keep him in the rally. McCloskey’s day came to a premature end on SS12, when his cars engine expired, albeit he was able to claim Evo Challenge points under SuperRally rules.

But the final twist in the tale was reserved for Reynolds, when a drive-shaft snapped in SS15 - the penultimate stage and, as his pace slowed, he had no choice but to concede the runner-up spot to Ling.

There was no doubt it was Morrow’s day, as not only did his performance score him his fifth Evo Challenge win of the season, he also finished third in the British Rally Championship standings, claimed seventh overall and was presented with both the Pirelli Star driver award and the Northern Ireland Motor Club’s special trophy for being this year’s most promising young driver.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this event”, said Morrow at the finish. “I was happy with my pace on the stages, especially as it’s a tarmac rally and to win the Pirelli Star Driver and all the other awards is fantastic. But I am really pleased to have won another round of the Evo Challenge and take another step closer to the works Mitsubishi prize drive next year.”

With two rounds still to go and dropped scores to be taken into account, Morrow has to finish 5th or higher on the next event, the International Rally Yorkshire on 6th October, to secure the 2007 Evolution Challenge title and win the prize that is regarded as the best prize in British rallying – the chance to become a Mitsubishi works driver in the 2008 British Rally Championship.

Also included in this year’s Mitsubishi championship are the PIAA Junior award for under 25-year old drivers, plus the Pirelli and Performance Friction Brakes Cups.

The series is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK Ralliart, with support from its associate sponsors: Pirelli, PIAA, Speedline Corse, Sparco, Performance Friction Brakes, Shell Helix and Tesco 99 Octane - suppliers of the controlled fuel for the championship.


Results
1 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1.54.31.5
2 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1.57.13.5
3 Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1.59.16.0
4 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N12B) GpN 2.00.19.6
5 Gwyndaf Evans/Huw Lewis (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.01.06.2
6 Colm Murphy/Ger Loughrey (Subaru Impreza N12B) GpN 2.04.28.7
7 Phillip & Simon Morrow (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.05.31.6
8 James Cullen/Reba Graham (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.06.05.2
9 Conrad Rautenbach/Dave Senior (Citroen C2 S1600) 2.07.10.7
10 Sebastian Ling/Aled Rees (Mit. Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2.07.12.1

Leaders After:
SS1-16 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Stage Winners
SS1 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS3 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS4 Tim McNulty/Eugene O'Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS5 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS6 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS7 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS8 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS9 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS10 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS11 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS12 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS13 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS14 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS15 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS16 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Full Results & Times, Photos and News on:
John Bayly (www.rallyfile.com)
RMS - www.reallymeansounds.com
PRE EVENT NEWS
  • MIKKELSEN WON'T MAKE IT...
  • REID MOTORSPORT ATTYRE FOR ULSTER INTERNATIONAL!
  • Championship Battle continues for Toni!
  • Cool FM’s Sonya Mac on Form to Tackle the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally
  • David Higgins - ULSTER URGENCY
  • McCLOSKEY FIT FOR HOME EVENT
  • Top Teams, Titanic Clash!
  • Rally Programme
  • Top 20 International and National Entries
  • GASS ON HOME TAR
  • BRC PRE Ulster International Rally
  • Full List of Entries available
  • MSA Asphalt Rally Championship Preview
  • MAN ENOUGH TO MARSHAL?
  • C2R2 Cup PRE Ulster Rally
  • List of Entries to date
  • Snapped And Trapped…
  • Last Chance Saloons…
  • BIG SHOES TO FILL...
  • THE PAPER CHASE - Regulations available
  • ULSTER SAYS GO!
  • New CoC Is Polished Performer…
  • Draft Schedule for International and National Rallies available


Michael Johnston, Ulster International Rally Clerk of Course (left),
is pictured with Philip White Jnr, Director of main sponsor company
Philip White Tyres Ltd.
Photo: Sperrins Photography

30/08/07
MIKKELSEN WON'T MAKE IT...
Andreas Mikkelsen, one of the top seeds in this weekend’s Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rally, has pulled his entry just three days before he was due to line up at the Armagh City start line.

The Norwegian teenage sensation damaged his RamSport Focus WRC on the recent Rallye Deutschland and it won’t be ready in time for the Orchard County showdown on the weekend of 31st August/1st September 2007.

“We’re sorry to be missing the Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rally,” said Mikkelsen, “as we always do well on Irish tarmac and this year’s event has a great line-up of top drivers. However, we hope to be back in action in Ireland for a shakedown event prior to Rally Ireland in November.”

Also making a last minute withdrawal is another Ford Focus WRC driver, Dungiven’s Kevin Lynch. Lynch, who recently won a record fourth Lurgan Park Rally in succession is citing work commitments as the reason for his absence.

Despite these withdrawals, a tremendous three way battle is set to be fought out between local hotshots Eugene Donnelly, Andrew Nesbitt and Kris Meeke. Any one of these men could lift the Ulster crown and with all three Subaru-mounted, rally fans are in for a real treat come Friday!

The official 2007 Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rally Programme, available now from all good newsagents, priced £8 or E12 and you can pick up copies from Thursday at Rally HQ, the Armagh City Hotel.

Marshals are still required for the event, so if you can spare a few hours on Friday 31st August or Saturday 1st September, and want a ringside seat at this year’s rallysport battle royale, give the Chief Marshal a call now on 07831 399428/+44 7831 399428.


REID MOTORSPORT ATTYRE FOR ULSTER INTERNATIONAL!
The Reid Motorsport team gathered at Kerr’s Tyres, Antrim depot to collect their BF Goodrich rubber for the Ulster International Rally. It’s round seven of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, which starts in Armagh this coming Friday. Reid team leader Eugene Donnelly is currently leading the Irish Tarmac Championship, after victories on the Jim Clark and Manx rounds and a win on the Ulster would leave things a lot easier for the last round in Cork where points and a half are awarded. “I am looking forward to the Ulster. We had a very productive test in the Sperrins last Friday with the engine and gearbox just back from a major Prodrive rebuild. We tried the 77M BF Goodrich tyre for the first time in the warmer, dry conditions and it was superb, but we really don’t know what the weather has in store for us next weekend. Judging by our summer so far it could be anything! On the Manx I had a problem with handbrake turns, and we stalled several times on the stages which was really rather embarrassing. The crew thought it was just driver error, but on the test the same thing was occurring and we found that the front differential was locking up slightly when the handbrake was applied, so the differentials were reset to sort this, so there will be no excuses at tight junctions on the Ulster!” With Mark Higgins having to resort to a Group N machine once more this should give Eugene an advantage in the points race, although it’s not the way he wants to win a rally series. “I really wish Mark could have contested all the rounds in a World Rally Car, as if I win the championship, I want to win it fairly. At least we have the bonus of Kris Meeke out in Mark’s World Car on the Ulster, and Kris will be very fast, as he proved in Killarney.”

On the run up to this rally the rally rumor mill has been flying, and with Eugene’s S12 Subaru for sale on the Prodrive website, the rumors took off. “To be honest I have been hearing a lot of rumors about me and the team recently, and the fact is the team is getting stronger. The S12 is up for sale, but that is only because we plan to upgrade to the S12B Subaru when it is available, and event by event the Reid Motorsport team is developing We are still planning our Rally Ireland attack also and I’m very much looking forward to that.”

Eugene will be the first to slide off the Armagh start ramp at 3.45pm on Friday, with James Cullen in the first of the Reid Group N Lancers at number 26, and Sean Reid at number 43. James still has an outside chance of the Irish Tarmac Group N title, so there is a lot to play for in the Reid Motorsport team.

Championship Battle continues for Toni!
Letterkenny Teenager, Toni Kelly and Co-Driver Joe Hunter are making the trip to Armagh this weekend to compete in the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally. The event which is a round of the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship will see the pair in a battle for 1st place in the class Championship. "We are currently 2nd in the championship with 2 rounds remaining, we are at a slight disadvantage to the leaders as we missed 3 rounds due to the Leaving Certificate and failed to finish one so we are hoping for a good result this weekend, last year the weather on the Ulster Rally was terrible and this didn't help our cause but we hope to improve on our class position this year." stated Toni.

Pre-event testing took place earlier this week and all the gremlins from the Isle of Man have seemed to have gone. "All-in-All in am happy with the car again. The Isle of Man was hard work but I have learned from it!"

Based in the historic City of Armagh and running from Friday 31st August to Saturday 1st September, the event is always a 'clash of the titans' as it brings together the best Irish and British crews for three days of high octane drama around the tight and twisting lanes of the Orchard County.. The two day event gets underway with challenging night stages on Friday and then a longs days rallying on Saturday.

More updates can be found on Toni's website at
www.tonikelly.ie


Cool FM's Sonya Mac on Form to Tackle the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally
Sonya Mac and Safron Thomas are champing at the bit to get their bright orange Philip White Tyres Ka out on the sponsor’s signature event this weekend, the PWT Ulster Rally in Armagh.

Northern Ireland’s biggest rally event starts on Friday afternoon at the picturesque Mall in Armagh City centre and takes in 16 stages around Armagh and Dungannon on Friday night and Saturday.

Sonya said,
‘Its fantastic to be competing in our sponsor’s title rally. Philip White Tyres has supported us all year in the Pacenotes Northern Ireland Rally and it’s a real honour to compete in such a prestigious event.

‘This will be our first time rallying in the dark so we are a little apprehensive but excited all the same. The stages all look absolutely brilliant if not a tiny bit scary, but the Ka, Saf and I are all ready to tackle them and hopefully bring the Ka home over the finish ramp on Saturday afternoon in one piece.’ She said.

Philip White Tyres has a long association with motorsports and this is the 3rd year the company has sponsored the Ulster Rally. Philip White Tyres teamed up with Sonya Mac at the start of the 2007 season to support the team through the Northern Ireland Rally championship. Sonya is currently place 4th in class with 4 rounds left in the season.

With ten rounds in the championship and three possible drop scores, the team will be missing the Lakeland Rally next weekend but rejoining the championship for the final three rounds, the Bushwhacker rally on 22nd September in Omagh, the Circuit of Down Rally on 20th October in Newcastle and the Glens of Antrim on 3rd of November in Ballymena.


29/08/07
David Higgins - ULSTER URGENCY
David Higgins is undertaking a testing programme to ensure his points haul on the Ulster Rally this weekend keep his hopes of netting a second British Rally Championship title alive. David and his co-driver Ieuan Thomas have had a mixed year in their TQ RED Toyota S2000R so far. Having successfully scored second place BRC points on the Jim Clark Rally, they were disappointed to have to make use of superally regulations to finish Rally Isle of Man when the Toyota’s engine overheated.

“Ulster is critical to our championship now,” says David. “As well as overheating on the Manx we suffered with tyre problems. Since then Pirelli have addressed the problems we had, so things should be better in Ulster. But regardless of the handling problems we had our car is generally lighter on tyres than a Group N car anyway. The control tyre is just too hard for us so the aim of this test is to get the car to work the tyres harder on the rally.

“Since Rally Isle of Man the team has also worked on the suspension set up. The mixture of that and the tyres should cure the problems we had on the Manx. The Ulster Rally has always been an event I look forward to, but unfortunately not one I’ve ever been very lucky on.

“In the BRC you drop two scores. We’ve had two bad rounds on the Manx and on the Pirelli where we went OTL before the start when the car arrived late at the start ramp. They have to be our dropped scores, we need to do well in Ulster to keep our championship hopes alive.” David and Ieuan continue to be backed by TQ Education and Training. Their team mate, and TQ boss, Hugh Evans will make his Ulster Rally debut this weekend as he continues his inaugural year in the championship driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 alongside David.

The team have also secured a new sponsor, the Shrewsbury branch of car sales firm Inchcape.

To keep up to date with his progress during the rally visit davidhigginsrally.com where David will post daily updates during the event.


McCLOSKEY FIT FOR HOME EVENT
Kilrea’s Connor McCloskey will join regular co-driver Robbie Durant for the Ulster International Rally this weekend in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

The event is a round of both the British Rally Championship and Mitsubishi’s Evolution Challenge and Connor has a good seeding in both. A combination of being tenth BRC runner, fifth Evo Challenge and experience of the event should bode well for the youngster from County Londonderry. The pair had a difficult start to the season but sixth place on the Isle of Man has provided a much needed boost.

“The car was basically new for the Manx,” said Connor, “and we hadn’t really had a chance to test it. But I have had a bit more time in it since and should be fresh for the start, as it is only about an hour from my house.” The duo have not contested the Ulster together before but Robbie is confident that the pace notes will work well. “We have done enough events this year that the ‘notes have never been a problem,” he explained, “and after the really changeable character of the Isle of Man, making these ‘notes should be easier.”.”

Despite two punctures Connor had a good debut on the Ulster in 2006 finishing fourth Evo, a result he would like to improve on this year, “There are about ten Evo Challenge guys out this weekend,” he said, “so it will be a good battle whatever happens. The start of the season means we can’t hope to be near the top in the points, but it is always more interesting when you have to push hard. We really want to get back into the rhythm of the lanes here so we’re fresh when we do Rally Ireland later in the year.”

The rally is based at the Armagh City Hotel with loops of stages centred on the adjacent service area. A full entry of more than eighty cars will head off from the start ramp in the Mall on Friday afternoon at 2.45, returning for an overnight halt.. The remainder of the 121 mile route is completed on Saturday, with the finish back at the Mall at around 5pm and presentations later in the City Hotel.

Connor and the team would like to thank Egger (wood based panels), Euro Components, KBB Doors, Pirelli and Shell Racing Fuels for their continued support in 2007


27/08/07
Top Teams, Titanic Clash!
The start of Northern Ireland’s most eagerly anticipated motorsport event of 2007 is just one week away, and judging by the freshly released seeded entry lists, fans are set to enjoy one of the closest fought Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rallies in years!

The cream of Irish crews will battle it out with leading contenders from the British Rally Championship over the weekend of 31st August/1st September 2007, in an event focused on historic Armagh City.

To get the best from the event, fans are advised to purchase the official 2007 Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rally Programme, available now from all good newsagents, priced £8 or E12.

As well as the full seeded entry lists, top driver profiles and advice on the best places from which to spectate, the full colour, A4 glossy programme has the full rally schedule and detailed special stage maps inside.

If you can’t get your copy before going the rally, pick one up at Rally HQ, the Armagh City Hotel, to make sure you have the best info at your fingertips before tackling the stages!

The 2007 Philip White Tyres Ulster International Rally - spend a great day out with the greats of Irish rallying!

International Rally Seeded Entries Top 20
1 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely Subaru Impreza WRC A8
2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene Ford Focus WRC A8
3 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle Subaru S11 WRC A8
4 Andrew Nesbitt/James O’Brien Subaru WRC A8
5 Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan Subaru Impreza S12 A8
6 Tim McNulty/TBA Subaru Impreza S11 A8
7 Kevin Lynch/David Moynihan Ford Focus WRC A8
8 Guy Wilks /Phil Pugh Mitsubishi EVO 9 N4
9 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy Subaru Impreza N4
10 Gwyndaf Evans/Huw Lewis Mitsubishi Lancer N4
11 Hugh-Martin Doherty/Michael McBride Impreza S12 A8
12 Seamus Leonard /Gerry McVeigh Mitsubishi EVO 9 N4
14 Colm Murphy/Ger Loughrey Subaru Impreza N4
15 David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas Corolla S2000 N4
16 Wyn Humphreys/Ally Mackay Impreza N12 N4
17 Philip Morrow/Simon Morrow Mitsubishi EVO 9 N4
18 Denis Biggerstaff/Paul McGee Subaru Impreza WRC A8
19 Maurice Gass/Kenny Gass Subaru Impreza WRC A8
20 Sean McArdle/Damian Garvey Toyota Corolla WRC A8

National Rally Seeded Entries Top 20
101 John Price/Caroline Price MG Metro 6R4 8
102 Camillus Bradley/Danny O’Neill Ford Escort MkII 6
103 David Kynaston/Andy Russell Audi A3 Quattro 8
104 Stephen Simpson/Mark Booth Hyundai Accent 9
105 Stewart Clarke/Marshall Clar

Topics: Ulster Rally 

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