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Ulster Rally - 22-23 Aug 08

Posted: August 29, 2008 2:13 PM - 28649 Hits

Round 7 - 2008 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2008 British Rally Championship
Round 6 - 2008 Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge (UK)
Rounds 5 & 6 - 2008 Citroen C2 R2 Irish Cup
Round 5 - 2008 Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy

  • Boland/Morrissey win Rally and take 2008 Tarmac Championship

Photo: sperrinsphotography.com

Top 3 Irish BRC Co-Drivers!

Posted: August 27, 2008 10:02 PM

Paul Nagle (3rd), Rory Kennedy (1st) & David Moynihan (2nd)
Photo: Roy Dempster

Video Clips

Posted: August 27, 2008 9:46 PM

Sébastien Ogier

Posted: August 27, 2008 9:44 PM

In Car....

Posted: August 27, 2008 9:31 PM

Adrian Hetherington/Adian Friel (Ford Escort Mk2) - SS1

Parkanaur Garrett & Philip Loughran (Vauxhall Nova 1400cc)

Class win for Kieran O'Neill Historic Kadette

Posted: August 27, 2008 9:04 PM


Cronin in driving seat in Ulster !

Posted: August 27, 2008 8:49 PM

Keith Cronin and Greg Shinnors fought some mechanical demons to take a start to finish victory in the Evo Challenge section of the Todds Leap Ulster International Rally. The Rally, which as a counting round of both the Irish Tarmac Championship and the British Rally Championship, had attracted the best drivers from the two islands to battle over the sixteen special stages, some of which would be run in the dark.

They signalled their intent on Stage 1 when they took a 14.6second lead in their category from Neil McCance, who was competing on his home event! This saw them slotting into 11th overall in the rally. On the second stage they did suffer a slight setback as the stage was cancelled as the result of an accident and they received the time of the last car to traverse the stage before the accident, which was about 20 sec slower than the time that they would have expected to traverse the stage in. This time was, of course, queried with officials through normal channels, however, the official ruling was that the time should stand.

Friday evening also saw them suffer from differential worries and if it were not for David Bogie, who gave them his spare rear differential, they may not have been able to continue. They completed the evenings six stages unbeaten in their Evo category and were lying 13th overall at the overnight halt. They also had some suspension worries on Friday evening and without spare suspensions, a mishap could be costly but the team applied some super glue to the offending part and it duly completed the weekend.

Starting on Saturday with a two minute lead in the Evo Challenge one could have expected that a safe drive to the finish would have been in order, however this ultra competitive duo had other things in mind. Having recently started writing their own pacenotes and utilising just a two pass system (Write the notes on the first pass and then one other pass to check them), they needed to see how effective their notes really were for future reference. They were indeed fastest Evo challenger on the first six stages on Saturday to lead the category by over 3 minutes and a fine 10th overall in the Rally.

At this point in the rally it began to rain and this was immediately capitalised on as the more powerful cars found it difficult to transfer the power to the road. Keith and Greg however had no such problems and the completed stage 12 just 2 seconds slower than current British Champion Guy Wilks and 1 second slower than multiple champion Mark Higgins. Towards the end of the next stage a problem developed with the differentials, which made the car very difficult to drive as it was behaving like a rear wheel drive. Although they were straight into service after this stage the team were unable to rectify the problem. This meant that they had to contend with a very unpredictable car for the final three stages and at this point it was more important to finish the rally and receive maximum Evo Points.

Although not able to attack the final three stages as they might have liked, they were still fastest of the Evo Challengers on each of them meaning that they were unbeaten on any of the fifteen competitive stages. This is something, which has not previously been achieved on the Evo Challenge. Neither has a 4m+ winning margin!!

With only one round remaining in this years Evo Challenge it is all very much to fight for, however, to become Evo Challenge Champion 2008, Keith has to win the final round in mid October, the Bulldog Rally and hope that other factors also fall into place. The commitment of the entire team cannot be questioned and most of Ireland is now shouting for them too!

Ford Fiesta SportingTrophy - Evans leaps ahead in Ulster

Posted: August 27, 2008 8:41 PM

Round 5 of the Maxol E85 Ford Fiesta SportingTrophy Ireland took place over the weekend when eleven registered Fiestas took to the start to tackle the Ulster National Rally.

The event promoted by the Northern Ireland Motor Club was based in the city of Armagh. The crews would start the event with a new challenge: for the first time this year the first three stages would be run in the dark. With the weather dry but cool, the first car left the service area in darkness with all the crews preparing themselves for the challenge ahead.

SS1, Ivy Hill at 8.93 miles, would give an indication to the pace of the leading crews in the unfamiliar dark conditions. It was Elfyn Evans (19) from Machynlleth that emerged from the stage with quickest FST time, 7.3 seconds faster than joint championship leader Alastair Fisher (19) from Trillick, Co. Tyrone. Paul Quinn (20) from Dungannon finished third quickest, the top three stage times reflecting the current championship leaderboard.

Next for the crews were the two stages of Todds Leap and Parkanaur at 8.84 and 7.52 miles respectively. Fisher took both stage wins on the two tests before the crews returned to service. Fisher ended the night section by turning the deficit to Evans after the first stage to a 5.6 second lead. On the last stage of the evening, Quinn was caught out on a right-hander when he clipped a kerb sending the car into a roll. Quinn did get going again, with just superficial damage to the car and good work from Quinn’s service crew, he would be at the start for day two of the rally. With all the crews returning to the service area, it was a successful night loop for the FST contenders, one noticeable performance was 17-year-old Mark Donnelly, in only his second event he ended the leg in an impressive third overall.

All the crews returned to Armagh for a short rest before an early re-start for the second day of the rally. The day took in seven stages, the first of those being McGaffin’s Corner. With the weather conditions remaining dry, the crews opted for the RS7 Pirelli dry tyre and Evans was on the attack from the word go. He ended the stage 7.7 seconds quicker than Fisher opening up a 2.1 second advantage. Stephen Wright (18) from Co. Monaghan was third quickest and was back up to speed after missing out the previous two FST IE rounds.

Tyrone’s Ditches, at 8.75 miles was next, again Evans set the fastest time, but disaster struck for Fisher. After coming into a hairpin too quickly, the young Irishman was forced to take evasive action to stay on the road. Although he managed to stay on the Tarmac, he broke a driveshaft in the process and lost 45 seconds to Evans, but remained in second place. Despite an overshoot, Wright was second quickest on the stage and lay only two seconds behind third placed man Adrian McBride from Omagh heading into the first service of the day.

At service Fisher had his driveshaft replaced and was ready for another attack. Evans had no problems and the leaders left the service for the next loop of stages. As the top crews were booking out of service the weather changed dramatically with rain beginning to fall - the top runners were already on their way to the stages with slicks. For some of the other crews running further down the field, the later road position played to their advantage and they were able to change to the Pirelli RE7 intermediate tyre as the rain became ever more increasing.

Even with the rain coming down Fisher would set third quickest time in the rally on stage 6, The Hollow, beginning his attack to claw back the time lost to Evans. Evans was second quickest, with Donnelly stopping the clocks in third. McBride ran into trouble on the stage, hitting a bank and bending his steering, although he cleared the stage; a knocking noise coming from the car forced the crew to call it a day without causing any more damage.

On stages 7 and 8 (Fisher’s Hill and Seagahan) Fisher set fastest times on both stages, followed by Evans and Wright. The two stage wins saw Fisher close the gap to 32.9 seconds as the crews headed for the final service. Stage 7 saw the newcomer Donnelly in trouble, a missed pace note saw him go off the road into a field, losing two minutes to Fisher. With the loss of McBride from the classification, Wright moved into third overall with only two stages to go.

Elsewhere in the field the two UK crews who had come to the event were having mixed fortunes. James Everard (22) from Hull was forced to retire from the event on stage 8 after suffering with driveshaft problems all weekend and was forced to call it a day - a bitterly disappointing end. Stevie Brown (20) from Peterhead was having a steady run but was struggling with his pacenotes. Despite this he was enjoying his rally and gained crucial Tarmac experience. Barry Greer (20) from Carryduff was having a good run and, despite a spin on stage 8, he was lying in sixth position. Another newcomer to the series, Desi Henry (19) from Port Glenone was participating in his first ever FST event and had a clean run with only one aim in mind - to bring the car home safely.

After the final service, all the crews left for the final two stages on the Pirelli RE7 as the rain was not easing; the Pirelli tyres coping with all the conditions thrown at them.

SS9, McGaffins Corner, a repeat of the morning stage at 4.98 miles, witnessed Fisher stopping the clocks with fastest overall time on the National Rally - an amazing achievement; Evans was hot on his heels 1.7 seconds slower. Wright was again third.

The final challenge was the repeat of the 8.75 miles of Tyrone’s Ditches. The top three times were the same as the previous stage: Fisher, Evans and Wright. Although Fisher had won every stage since his earlier driveshaft problem, Evans drove exceptionally well to ensure that his lead remained intact.

By the end of the final stage, Evans and co-driver Gareth Roberts emerged victorious by 27.6 seconds. Alongside the FST win, the pairing also finished an impressive third overall in the National Rally, beating a number of more powerful cars; the Pirelli-shod Fiestas again showing the crowds of Ulster just what the Group N car is capable of. Fisher finished the event second and third went to Wright - an excellent result after a two-event lay off from the series.

With the championship still not decided after five rounds, the Irish title will go down to the final exciting round, the Cork 20 rally in September.

Championship leader Elfyn Evans (19) from Machynlleth, Wales said:
“I came into the event wanting a solid result as I knew the overall championship was our main priority. I enjoyed the challenges of the night stages, and was having a really good battle with Alastair (Fisher), it was a shame that he had a problem on Saturday but he was pushing us very hard for the whole of the rally and I am delighted that we managed to hold out for the win. Finishing third overall in the National Rally was also a great feeling, the Fiesta was great to drive out here and the battle for the title is now down to the final round, which will be very exciting!”

Rally Result after SS10
Position Driver / Co-Driver Overall Time Points Prize Money
1 Elfyn Evans / Gareth Roberts 30 750 EUR
2 Alastair Fisher / Barry McNulty 25 600 EUR
3 Stephen Wright / Ashley McAdoo 22 450 EUR
4 Mark Donnelly / Alastair Wiley 20 375 EUR
5 Kyle Orr / Tony McDaid 18 300 EUR
6 Barry Greer / John Lemon 16 225 EUR
7 Stevie Brown / Drew Sturrock 14 150 EUR
8 Paul Quinn / Jason Gillespie 13 75 EUR
9 Desi Henry / Donard McCann 12 -

Daniel fights back to score podium finish

Posted: August 27, 2008 8:36 PM

After having to rebuild his car following a high-impact crash at the end of July in the Swansea Bay Rally, Daniel Barry and his team were delighted to finish the recent Ulster Rally with a podium place in the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - the highly competitive one-make championship which Daniel was leading earlier this year.

Since the accident on the Welsh event, the team had worked flat out to get the car ready for the Ulster Rally. Based in Armagh, the route featured six stages on Friday evening and a further 10 on Saturday, the total of which provided 134 miles of competition on closed public roads near the host town.

Also a round of the British Rally Championship, Daniel had chosen to register for the series in the hope he may be selected for the BRC Star Driver prize, the winner of which goes through to an end of season shoot-out for a chance to win a season in a Pirelli supported car. However, this meant swapping to the BRC controlled fuel, which consequently reduced the power output of his Mitsubishi. Daniel, from Enniskerry, was joined for this event by experienced co-driver Martin Brady from Navan, his usual accomplice Mark Bowens unable to partner Daniel on this occasion because of other commitments.

The event has a reputation of providing its competitors with one of the toughest tests of the year, the undulating roads renowned for catching out the unwary. With this in mind Daniel opted for a cautions start – and just as well – as he found his car handling a little strangely, a suspected problem with the transmission causing it to understeer through the corners. Even so, at the first service halt after three stages he was up to third in the Evolution Challenge rankings and climbed to second after six stages before the overnight halt.

Although the team did what they could to get the car to turn-in better, there was not enough service time to change the transmission. Daniel battled through the first of the Saturday morning stages, but found himself being reeled-in by the chasing pack, so much so that on SS12 he was back down to fourth of the Mitsubishis and feeling a little despondent.

Never to be out-done, at the final service halt and with three stages to go, he collected his thoughts and, with a determined effort, fought back to score his fourth Evolution Challenge podium of the season.

“Considering the demanding nature of the event and the problems we had with the car’s handling, I’m pleased to have finished in the top three of the Evolution Challenge”, said Daniel at the finish. “It would have been good to be battling for the lead and to have finished higher up in the British Championship standings, but after the team did such a fantastic job following the accident in Swansea, it’s great to make it home with out a scratch on the car.”

Daniel’s result means that, with one round still to go, he is still in with a mathematical chance of securing the coveted Evolution Challenge title, which brings with it the chance of a Mitsubishi works drive in the Wales Rally GB – Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship.

The team now prepares for the season’s grand finale, the north-Wales based Bulldog Rally, which takes place on 18th October and where last year Daniel recorded his first Evolution Challenge victory.

Daniel’s 2007 campaign is supported by: Tech-Plus, Irish Shipping and Transport, BPI Telecom, Henco under-floor heating and SC Signs.

Double podium for Mitsubishi team in Ulster

Posted: August 27, 2008 8:02 PM

The Mitsubishi Motors UK works Rally Team went to round four of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, the Todds Lead Ulster International Rally, with one goal in mind – and that was to retain its chances of retaining both the team’s and driver’s titles – which is exactly what they did.

Having taken the lead from the start, Guy Wilks and co-driver David Moynihan initially looked uncatchable at the front. However, a problem with their car’s rear differential on stage four, followed by a spin when they were pushing hard to make up for lost ground, saw them finish in second place. Team-mates Gwyndaf Evans and Paul Nagle drove a perfect rally and did what they set out to do by finishing third.

Based in Armagh, the event featured a total of 134 competitive miles split into six timed special stages on Friday evening, followed by a further ten on Saturday, all on closed public roads not far from the host town.

Wilks got off to his now familiar flying start and went through the first stage three seconds quicker than anyone else. Mark Higgins occupied second spot, with Evans third, who admitted he was having to dial himself back into competitive rallying after a 10-month lay-off, whilst also acclimatise to his new co-driver Nagle.

All was going according to plan until Wilks felt something amiss with his car’s rear differential and he coasted across the finish line of SS4. With only two-wheel-drive for the remaining pair of stages before the overnight halt, the reigning British Champ did well to only drop 38 seconds to Higgins and end the day still in second place, Evans now holding a comfortable third.

With the demanding nature of the Ulster roads and 84 rally miles remaining, there was a more than realistic possibility that Wilks could claw back the lost time and, when Saturday dawned, he went on a charge to do just that.

On the first stage of the day he scythed nearly eight seconds of his deficit, but on the very next, Wilks locked-up on some mud whilst trying to slow the car down for a square right. Normally he could have just overshot the junction, but because the exit road was blocked by spectators, he spun his Evo into a bank, broke a wheel and severely bent the rear suspension.

Although the damage was repaired at the next service halt, Wilks was now over a minute down on Higgins. Also, his car did not handle as it should for the next loop of two stages and any chance of regaining time was lost. Meanwhile, Evans was maintaining a solid third place, although his task was made more challenging due to an inconsistent feel to the brake pedal.

With the onset of rain for the final two loops of three stages, any chance Wilks had of mounting a final push was washed-away and therefore, the team decided that the best strategy would be to hold station and therefore be in a position to collect the spoils if anything happened to the leader.

But Higgins was having a good weekend and he went on to record his third BRC victory of the season. Wilks consolidated his second place, whilst Evans’s familiarity with his surroundings grew – as did his pace – as the day progressed.

The Mitsubishi team were pleased to come away with a double-podium result and keep their team’s title hopes on track. However, for Wilks a win next time out on the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire on 27th September is what’s needed if he is to keep his bid for the driver’s title on course.

The team’s two Lancer Evolution IXs are built by Chesterfield-based ADR Motorsport, who also provide the on-event technical support. The team is sponsored by Lovell Group and Virgin Money, together with its technical partners: HKS, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA and Ricardo.

Team quotes
Guy Wilks
“I’m pleased for the team that we got two cars home, but to be honest I’m disappointed not to take the win. I’m sure that if we hadn’t had the mechanical problems on Friday that things would be different, as I wouldn’t have had to push so hard on Saturday. It just makes the rest of the year a bit tougher, but I still think we can do it.”

Gwyndaf Evans
“Jumping straight into a rally car and expecting to be on the pace from the word go is more difficult than it looks, so I’m very pleased to have finished a comfortable third. It was a case of keeping a watching brief on Mark and Guy and picking up the pieces if anything happened to them. I’m also pleased that I was able to deliver the result the team had asked this weekend.”

Paul Brigden (General Manager for Ralliart and Team Principal)
“Considering we were under a lot of pressure to perform on this event and we came under considerably scrutiny, I have to praise the whole team for their efforts. Guy did what he could and it sounds like he avoided what may have been an even bigger incident. Gwyndaf did the job he was asked to do and we’ve come away keeping our title hopes alive. I’m now looking forward to the Trackrod Rally and hope we will see a repeat of last year’s victory.”

Cronin takes second Evo asphalt win of the season

Posted: August 27, 2008 7:51 PM

Keith Cronin and co-driver Greg Shinnors recorded a resounding victory by over four minutes from Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew in round six of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which took place on 22nd & 23rd August. Contrasting fortunes saw series leaders David Bogie/Kevin Rae out of the running on the opening stage when their car ran wide and clipped a verge, the subsequent impact removing a wheel.

The Ulster Rally provided the Evolution Challenge with its second asphalt event of the season and the one round of the year where the many Irish crews that support the championship don’t have to board a ferry or aeroplane to get to the event.

Featuring six stages on Friday evening and a further ten on Saturday, totalling a competitive distance of 134 miles, the undulating tarmac roads around the host town of Armagh makes this one of the most demanding rallies of the year for both cars and crews.

Right from the word go, Cronin stamped his authority on proceedings and emerged from the opening stage 14.5 seconds ahead of Neil McCance/Sean Ferris, the anticipated pressure from Bogie dropping away after they lost a rear wheel, when the back of the car stepped out and clipped a verge. Unable to continue, the Scottish youngster took the decision to get his stricken Evo recovered and, with the event being run to International rules, was still able to record a finish by running under SuperRally regulations.

By the time cars reached the final service halt of the day in Armagh, Cronin had pulled out a lead by two minutes – a margin almost unheard of in Evo Challenge circles.

Second place was the territory of Daniel Barry/Martin Brady, who had defied their car’s tendency to understeer due to a suspected problem with the centre differential.

Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew were just eight seconds behind in third, not bad, considering they were unable to complete the pre-event recce, as Elsmore had contracted a bout of food poisoning the previous day.

McCance had now dropped back to fourth due to two punctures – both collected at exactly the same spot on the Parkanaur stage – one on the first run through and the other on the second.

David Meredith/Dai Roberts in fifth also reported problems early on, when a wire came off their car’s starter motor resulting in them having to be push-started in order to begin the very first stage.

However, there was no doubt that Elsmore had the biggest fright of the night, when he rounded a right-hander on SS6 and found barrier tape stretched across the road. Thinking he and Drew had taken the wrong route they turned around, but quickly realised that they were correct and the tape was the work of a thoughtless prankster. Unsurprisingly flustered, they were later caught by Cronin and consequently lost over a minute in the confusion.

However, the leader also had cause or concern, when his car’s rear diff started to make unusual noises. Sportingly, David Bogie’s team came to the rescue with a replacement unit, which was fitted at Friday’s final service halt before cars went into Parc Fermé.

As usual in Ulster, Saturday’s ten stages would provide a real test for the teams. However, for Cronin it was a case of carrying on from where he left off on Friday and continued to dominate the Evo Challenge field as the day went on.

Most of the Evo drivers found the going a little easier on the first of Saturday’s stages, Barry trying to come to terms with his car’s irregular handling, Elsmore getting his confidence back after his ordeal the night before and McCance just happy not to get another puncture.

However, for Meredith the second service halt of the day heralded retirement and dependence on SuperRally regulations to record a finish after something went wrong with his car’s turbo-charger.

At this point it started raining and all crews knew that the wet roads would bring a different dimension to the stages. However, Cronin proved to be completely unfazed and continued to set fastest Evo Challenge times. In contrast, with the handling of his car still not right, Barry was ready to throw in the towel, especially as he had now been passed by both Elsmore and McCance on SS12, but the young Irishman gritted his teeth and continued.

With all Evo Challenge drivers respecting the slippery conditions, the final loop of three stages saw Cronin leading by over four minutes, with Elsmore extending his second place advantage over McCance to 23 seconds. He was now being caught by Barry who was now just 0.1 second behind! Seizing the opportunity, Barry pushed hard through the last few miles and emerged six seconds ahead of McCance and in third place when the cars finally crossed the line in Armagh.

But after setting the fastest Evo Challenge times on all of the event’s 16 stages, plus having recorded his second Mitsubishi Championship win of the season, it was Cronin’s day.

“I’m delighted. Other than what I think was a problem with the diff pump in the closing stages, it all went according to plan”, said Cronin. “I could have done with more performances like this earlier in the season, but it’s always good to take a win, whenever it happens.”

The consequence of this weekend’s result sees Bogie and Elsmore share the top spot in the driver’s standings, both tying on 44 points. This means that Bogie has to finish fifth or higher on the seventh and final round, the Bulldog Rally on 18th October, to secure the title. Elsmore however, has posted consistent finishes all season and therefore must drop a score from his worst round, which is six points.

With Richard Cathcart having withdrawn from the series, it means that McCance (38 points), Barry and Cronin (36 points) are all in with a mathematical chance of lifting the title. It’s going to be an exciting finale that’s for sure!

Announced earlier this month, the Evolution Challenge continues to offer its champion one of the best prizes in British Motorsport, the winner of the 2008 series being given an official works drive in this year’s Wales Rally GB in a brand new Group N Evolution X. The winning driver will also be considered for selection when details are announced about Mitsubishi’s 2009 works campaign.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK and Ralliart, with support from its associate sponsors: Pirelli tyres, Speedline Corse wheels, Sparco racewear, Performance Friction Brakes, Sunoco Race Fuels, ADR Motorsport, Walkinshaw Performance and PIAA lights, who sponsor the junior award for under 25 year old drivers.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - Round Six Results
1 Keith Cronin (Cork)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) 2:02:44.8
2 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Craig Drew (Bream) 2:07:10.8
3 Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Martion Brady (Navan) 2:07:30.5
4 Neil McCance (Comber)/Sean Ferris (Drumquin) 2:07:38.2
5 David Meredith (Dolgellau)/Dai Roberts (Carmarthen) 2:59:08.7
6 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) 4:31:10.3


Posted: August 27, 2008 7:14 PM

The exciting new Citroen C2 R2 Irish Cup reached a dramatic double header event at the weekend, and no less an event than the Ulster International Rally. A round of the British C2 R2 Cup and with the presence of the Citroen works team, with their new C2 R2 Max, and Sebastien Ogier, reckoned to be a future World Rally Champion, the service area in Armagh was a Citroen spectacular, as the cars lined up ready to tackle the Charles Hurst and Total supported Irish Cup. Leg one, took in six special stages, two of which were tackled in darkness, and the Ulster Rally is known to be a highly demanding, technical event, but the C2’s proved very capable on the event, with only one retirement amongst the Irish Cup crews.

Leg one was dominated largely by Martin McCormack and Liam Moynihan, the Draperstown driver on superb form and setting top four two wheel drive times on the stages. Indeed Marty was to take fastest C2 times on all but two of the day’s stages, but one of those was to prove critical. The final Parkanaur stage in the dark, and a large rock pulled out by another driver, caused a puncture which dropped the Fisher award winner 50 seconds and from first to third on the round leader-board. “It was just sitting there in the middle of the road, we couldn’t avoid it, and the tyre went down almost immediately. We drove to the end of the stage, but unfortunately lost that time.” That left the door open for Donegal driver Adrian McElhinney who has shown great form after a second place in round four the Stonethrowers. Adrian set second fastest times on the first four tests, but was fastest on stage five and set a storming time in the dark on stage six, almost thirty seconds ahead of his C2 rivals, to take a well deserved victory. . “The car ran very well all day, though Marty was taking some time off us most of the day, though I wasn’t paying that much attention to the times. Sometimes it’s better not to for me! We enjoyed the dark, and everyone else seemed to back off a lot in it. I used to do night navigations, though we haven’t been out in two years, although we helped to plan two at night for our motor club lately, so I suppose that helped. It’s a pity day two hadn’t of been all in the dark too, then maybe that would have helped us!”In second place was Martin Tynan, the Clones driver third fastest on the first stage, and taking two second fastest times on the last two tests. Welsh ace Jason Pritchard was fourth, having his first Irish Cup outing since his spectacular roll on the West Cork event, and Irish Cup leader Barry Evans would finish fifth, after an unsettled start. His C2 developed a power steering fault before the event, and a hastily borrowed ECU from another non competing C2 R2 cured the problem. Others in troubles were young Sam Moffett who was fourth early on, before a front ball joint came loose putting him out of the rally

1 Adrian McElhinney/ Shane Buckley C2R2
2 Martin Tynan/ Ciaran Tynan C2R2
3 Martin McCormack/ Liam Moynihan C2R2
4 Jason Pritchard/ George Gwynn C2 R2
5 Barry Evans/ David Lyons C2 R2

Leg 2, day 2 of the Ulster International Rally and a tough day, with an early morning start, covering the remaining ten special stages. After his round five dramas it was to be Marty McCormack’s day, as he set scorching times all day to record a superb win, putting him right in the hunt for the title going into the final double header round in Wexford in two weeks. The other sensation on day two was Jason Pritchard. The Welsh ace, part of the British Rally Elite set three fastest C2 times to McCormack’s seven and like McCormack on one test even beat the 2 litre Clio of hotshot Adam Gould. Indeed like Marty McCormack it was a trouble free day for Jason, finishing just 25 seconds behind Marty, and third place Martin Tynan also had a fast trouble free run. For championship leader Barry Evans, it was a fast start, third fastest on the opening two tests, but an impromptu trip into someone’s garden on stage 10 didn’t impress the stage clock, and it didn’t impress the home owner who wasn’t best pleased at the C2 in the shrubbery! Barry would eventually finish fifth, behind Adrian McElhinney, who just didn’t seem to have the Friday speed and Barry now s under serious pressure, with any one of the top three able to lift the C2 R2 Irish Cup title going into the final rounds.

For others the weekend brought mixed fortunes. Reigning British C2 R2 Cup champion, Martin Laverty with Vincent Fergus on the notes, had a clutch cable come loose and incurred road penalties leaving service, but the Magherafelt driver never seemed to get into his stride, whilst Armagh driver Sean Agnew’s performance improved after a change pf rear shocks at the end of the first leg. He also benefited like Martin Tynan and Barry Evans from the kindness of Marty McCormack’s brother Greg, who gave these crews suspension settings that he had developed with, four times Irish Tarmac Champion, Eugene Donnelly’s engineer, Derek McGeehan. It’s great to see that camaraderie does still exist in Motorsport. For Moanghan’s Sam Moffett, with his car repaired after Friday’s ball-joint problem, a broken engine mounting sidelined him on Saturday, perhaps a legacy of the previous day’s drama.

1 Martin McComack/ Liam Moynihan C2R2
2 Jason Pritchard/ George Gwynn C2R2
3 Martin Tynan/ Ciaran Tynan C2R2
4 Adrian McElhinney/Shane Buckley C2 R2
5 Martin Laverty/ Trevor Payne C2 R2

Fordes claim maiden Suzuki Swift Sport Cup win on Ulster International Rally

Posted: August 27, 2008 7:03 PM

Irish brothers Ross and Arron Forde claimed their maiden win in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup on this weekend’s two-day Ulster International Rally (22 – 23 August).

The Galway crew took a long-awaited victory in round four of the single-make championship as they finished 38th overall and won class one in their Global Group Ireland and BCC Group-backed Suzuki Swift on the 135-mile Armagh-based tarmac event.

The pair took charge at the top of the Cup leaderboard from the outset and never looked back. As closest rivals Mark Gamble/Steve Link and Niki Bjerg/Arly Larsen endured their problems, the Fordes made sure they capitalised to build up their lead.

They had no issues or dramas to contend with as their Galway Mini Centre-prepared Swift ran faultlessly and they simply sat tight on Saturday, not risking their advantage to come home a comfortable four minutes ahead of second placed Gordon Nichol/Emma Morrison and take the win that had eluded them in the previous three rounds.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the victory,” said Ross. “We set off a little cautious on the first couple of stages following the accident in the previous round on the Isle of Man but we managed to take the lead and hold it.

“We didn’t want to do anything stupid to lose our position at the top and as we’d built a lead, we just paced ourselves, which is something I’ve never done before.

“We needed the win badly and it’s great to finally get it, we didn’t put a scratch on the car and had no problems at all. I’m pleased for the whole crew and would like to thank the lads from Galway Mini Centre who put so much effort into getting the car ready ahead of the event.

“I’d also like to thank our sponsors Global Group Ireland and the BCC Group. The rally went the way it was supposed to go for a change.”

The result sees Ross remain sixth in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup championship standings and Arron remain seventh in the co-drivers’ table, but taking into account dropped scores after the pair failed to finish the opening round, they are third overall and still within reach of the title.

With dropped scores, Ross is now joint first in the Junior Swift Sport Cup with Danish junior champion Bjerg. The winner gets a place in the Pirelli Star Driver Award and in with a chance to win a funded drive next year.

Ross and Arron will next be in action in the penultimate round of the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup across the gravel of the Pickering-based International Rally Yorkshire on Saturday 27 September. With the championship still wide open, they still have everything to play for.

Double Delight For Boland…

Posted: August 27, 2008 7:02 PM

Wexford’s Eamonn Boland has won the 2008 ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally in convincing style, and in doing so has secured his first Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship.

The ‘quiet man’ of Irish rallying let his driving do the talking over the weekend’s two day, Armagh City based event, leading from the first stage in his state of the art Subaru WRC S12B.

Boland is the first ROI driver to win the Ulster, which this year saw dry stages on the Friday and most of the Saturday, meaning that speeds were high throughout.

Dungiven’s Kevin Lynch had been tipped to take the event in his Subaru WRC S12B, as Boland did not require victory to secure the 2008 tarmac championship, however handling problems on the first day meant that Lynch dropped to sixth, before eventually fighting his way back to second place.

‘Manx Missile’ Mark Higgins, in a production Subaru , came home third overall and was first of the Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship contenders at the event. Ireland’s Keith Cronin was 11th overall and won the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge round at the Ulster, while the Irish Group N scrap was won by Kevin Kelleher - securing more valuable points in his battle for the 2008 Irish Tarmac Championship ‘showroom’ category.

The Citroen C2R2 Cup was dominated by Martin McCormack winning both the Irish and UK awards, Ross Forde also threw up a dominant performance in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup winning by over four minutes from his nearest rival.

The Ulster National Rally was won by David Armstrong in his Subaru Impreza finishing just ahead of Draperstown's Camillus Bradley in his Ford Escort Mk2. Indeed Bradley lead for day one of the event until the however, his two-wheel drive car was no match for Armstrong's turbo charged four-wheel drive Subaru.

The Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy was won by welshman Elfyn Evans. The National Rally was also a counting round of the Irish Historic Championship, Keith McIvor took the spoils in his beautiful Porsche 911.

Commenting on his ‘double’ victory, newly crowned 2008 Irish Tarmac Champion Eamonn Boland said, “We had to push hard towards the end of the event, but we weren’t going to do anything stupid with the title at stake. I didn’t feel that pressured and really enjoyed the rally. It was a great way to seal the championship!”

Event sponsor Benny O'Hanlon of ToddsLeap.com said the rally had been a fantastic success, commenting, "This year's Ulster has been better than ever and we have really enjoyed being at the heart of it. I'd like to thank the competitors, organisers and marshals for all their hard work!"


Posted: August 27, 2008 6:29 PM

Mark Higgins and Rory Kennedy held their nerve to take victory on the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship with a winning margin of over a minute from rival Guy Wilks.  

“We had a decent lead after Guy’s off but we’ve still been pushing fairly hard to keep the concentration up.” He said at the final service before the finish ramp. “It is a fantastic result for the Atlas TEG Sport team and the second BRC win in a row in Ulster, I’m delighted.”  

The result puts them closer to a fourth British Rally Championship title, closing to within two points of his brother David who finished fifth, but the teams and drivers will be starting to look at dropped scores, with three points scoring opportunities remaining. Atlas TEG sport has extended the lead in the Teams Championship, now thirteen points clear of Team TQ.com  

Wilks and David Moynihan had problems with the rear differential, costing them around thirty seconds, which was compounded by an off which tore off a wheel, dropping them even further back. They could not close the gap once the rain came, so settled for second place ahead of their new team-mate.  

Gwyndaf Evans had been drafted in to replace Phillip Morrow in the second Mitsubishi Motors UK Lancer. He was joined by Paul Nagle and a clean run saw them take a creditable third place after a ten month lay-off for the 1996 BRC Champion.  

But it was Morrow who took the fourth position in the Pirelli Star Driver shootout at the end of the year, impressing the judges with a mature drive in his new Atlas TEG Sport team. He also took fourth place in the BRC in a mature drive on home soil. Current Star Driver, Armagh’s own Darren Gass had been fourth, but a roll and subsequent steering failure put him out of the event.  

The Rally 3 class was settled in favour of Brian O’Mahony, his Clio Super 1600 struggling all rally with a down-on-power engine. He nearly lost the gearbox too on the final loop of stages, then bent a rear wishbone, but he still managed sixth overall in he BRC.  

Rally 2 was blitzed by the Jim Clark Rally and International Pirelli Star Driver nominee again, Adam Gould’s less powerful Clio taking eighth, a minor indiscretion with a bank the only evidence of any excursions.  

The Citroën C2R2 Cup was also dominated, this time by Martin McCormack, who also took honours in the Irish Cup. It was his first finish in the BRC without using the Super Rally regulations, about which he was delighted.  

The Suzuki Swift Sport Cup also threw up a dominant performance from Ross Forde, beating round one winner Gordon Nichol by a whisker over four minutes. The result leaves the Championship wide open as the crews all head off to the next round, Rally Yorkshire at he end of September.  

The final class winner was Fin McCaul in the Diesel Cup, his BMW proving a match for the Astra of Steve Graham.

Audio Report/Interviews and News:

Full Results

Posted: August 27, 2008 4:48 PM

1 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 56m 14s,
2 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 56m 43s,
3 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11 Gp N) 1h 58m 23s,
4 Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 1h 59m 26s,
5 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 59m 38s,
6 Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 00m 26s,
7 Gwyndaf Evans/Paul Nagle (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 00m 31s,
8 Philip Morrow/Gordon Noble (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 01m 35s,
9 Glenn Allen/Damien Connolly (Toyota Corolla WRC) 2h 02m 46s,
10 David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N14 Gp N) 2h 02m 44s.

Class winners:
Ross Forde/Arron Forde (Suzuki Swift),
Sebastien Ogier/Jack Boyere (Citroen C2R2),
Brian O’Mahony/John Higgins (Renault Clio),
Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy.

1 David Armstrong/John Rowland (Subaru Impreza 555) 1h 19m 23s,
2 Camillus Bradley/Danny O’Neill (Ford Escort) 1h 20m 04s,
3 Raymond Conlon/James O’Reilly (Toyota Corolla) 1h 22m 54s.

1 Keith McIvor/Connor Murphy (Porsche 911) 1h 24m 01s,
2 Alan Jardine/Jim McSherry (Porsche 911) 1h 24m 49s,
3 Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard (Ford Escort) 1h 25m 30s.

Leaders After:
SS1-16 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Stage Winners
SS1 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS3 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS4 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS5 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS6 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS7 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS8 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS9 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS10 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS11 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS12 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS13 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS14 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS15 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS16 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Mitsubishi Works Team regroups for Ulster

Posted: August 20, 2008 6:19 PM

The Mitsubishi Motors UK works Rally Team heads to this weekend’s Todds Lead Ulster International Rally, round four of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, with a two-car team comprising Guy Wilks/David Moynihan and Gwyndaf Evans/Paul Nagle.

Following a difficult few weeks since the Rally Isle of Man in July - and the subsequent change of line up after Phillip Morrow and his co-driver Daniel Barritt were released from their contracts - the Mitsubishi team are heading toUlster hoping that recent issues can be put aside and a good weekend’s sport will prevail.

No one was more disappointed to see the team part company with Morrow than Ralliart General Manager and Team Principal Paul Brigden, who now has the job of re-focussing the Mitsubishi squad on its primary goal:

“The most important task for us this year is to retain its British Team’s title for Mitsubishi Motors and, to do this, we now need to finish first and third on average for the rest of the season. However, rallying is a sport rather than a science - as we have seen recently - so nothing is guaranteed, but I believe we have a good possibility of achieving our target.”

Having driven for the team in 2007, Gwyndaf Evans has been invited back for the remainder of the season and the experienced Welshman is looking forward to the task ahead:

“It is always a privilege to drive for a manufacturer, so I was delighted to be asked. I realise that I have a job to do for the team and I will give it my best shot, especially as the Ulster Rally is one of my favourite events. However, having not driven competitively since the end of last year and, with a new co-driver next to me, it’s going to be no easy task, but I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.

With a first and a second place under his belt from the first three rounds, 2007 British Champion Wilks currently lies fourth in the driver’s standings and will be out to get the defence of his title back on track on the Ulster asphalt, as he explains:
“I’m looking forward to being back in the Mitsubishi and getting on with the job that needs to be done this weekend. Last year on this event I only had the chance to of a few good stages, so there’s a score to settle here. I have to admit that I’m aiming for nothing less than a win, which can only be good for the team and my title hopes.”

Wilks’ regular co-driver Phil Pugh is still out of action due to a recurring back problem, which means that Irishman David Moynihan continues alongside the Brit. Evans will also be partnered by an Irishman on this event, the highly-experienced Paul Nagle accompanying the Welshman for the first time.

The rally, which is based in Armagh, starts on Friday evening and features six timed special stages before the overnight halt, followed by a further ten on Saturday, the total of which provides a competitive distance 134 miles.

The team’s two Lancer Evolution IXs are built by Chesterfield-based ADR Motorsport, who also provide the on-event technical support. The team is sponsored by Lovell Group and Virgin Money, together with its technical partners: HKS, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA, Ricardo, and Performance Friction Brakes.

Evo Challenge prepares for Ulster asphalt

Posted: August 20, 2008 6:17 PM

The Ulster Rally has featured as a round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge for the past three years, the popular International event providing a perfect addition to the championship, as it occupies a vacant slot in the calendar and offers a second asphalt rally in the seven-round season. For the many Ireland-based crews that support the Mitsubishi championship, it also provides the one opportunity of the year for them to compete without having to cross the Irish Sea.

Following the Swansea Bay Rally, the championship tables show David Bogie occupying the top spot, just one point ahead of Richard Cathcart, who has since withdrawn from the Evolution Challenge following recent announcements in the press. A great shame all round, as this year’s championship was proving to be the most fiercely contested ever.

However, even with the absence of his former close rival it will not be an easy run for Bogie, as he will be looking for better fortunes than on his last asphalt outing on the Isle of Man, when an accident put him out of contention.

Nik Elsmore is next in the championship standings and could well be a contender for both a win in Ulster - and for the overall title - currently being just five points off the series lead.

Fourth-placed Neil McCance is the most local of the Evo Challenge drivers for this event. However, over the years geography has proved to have no bearing on success and he will be driving to lay the spectre of his former Ulster Rally outings to rest – a real possibility if his performance on the Manx tarmac in May is anything to go by.

Former championship leader Daniel Barry had a great start to the season. However, his dramatic exit from round five, the Swansea Bay Rally, saw him toppled from the top spot and, since the accident at the end of July, his team have worked tirelessly to rebuilt his Evo IX. Barry now needs a strong finish in the final two rounds to get his title hopes back on track.

Victor on the Isle of Man – and therefore the only Evo Challenge driver to win on tarmac so far this year - is Keith Cronin and is therefore a favourite for the Mitsubishi podium this weekend. His confidence and pace have grown as the season has progressed and, if it wasn’t for the occasional blip of bad luck, he would certainly be higher in the championship than his current position of sixth.

Having dipped out of the Evo Challenge to pursue points in the British series, David Meredith returns to the Mitsubishi fold this weekend by virtue of the two championships combining for the Ulster Rally.

This weekend’s event is based in Armagh and gets underway on Friday evening with six stages before the overnight halt. A further 10 stages follow on Saturday, the combined total of which provide the overall International field of 80 cars - which includes six Evo Challenge runners - with 134 competitive miles.

Announced earlier this month, the Evolution Challenge continues to offer its champion one of the best prizes in British Motorsport, the winner of the 2008 series being given an official works drive in this year’s Wales Rally GB in a brand new Group N Evolution X. The winning driver will also be considered for selection when details are announced about Mitsubishi’s 2009 works campaign.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK and Ralliart, with support from its associate sponsors: Pirelli tyres, Speedline Corse wheels, Sparco racewear, Performance Friction Brakes, Sunoco Race Fuels, ADR Motorsport, Walkinshaw Performance and PIAA lights, who sponsor the junior award for under 25 year old drivers.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - Round Six
Entries in start number order
26 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) J
27 Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Mark Bowens (Cork) J
28 Neil McCance (Comber)/Sean Ferris (Drumquin)
29 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Paul Wakeley (Llanelli)
30 Keith Cronin (Cork)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) J
36 David Meredith (Dolgellau)/Dai Roberts (Carmarthen)
J = Junior driver

Eugene Donnelly withdraws

Posted: August 15, 2008 2:10 PM

Out of the running this year is former number two seed Eugene Donnelly. The Genie has withdrawn citing budget problems.

Donnelly tried desperately to get Kris Meeke into the car as his replacement, but with Kris competing at Rally Germany, there was simply not enough time to secure sponsorship.

Citroen JWRC Driver Sébastien to Compete in Ulster

Posted: August 15, 2008 2:09 PM

In terms of the official line up for this year’s number one tarmac tussle, rally fans will be pleased to hear that a well known Frenchman called Seb will be piloting a superquick Citroen through the snaking Irish lanes…

No, it’s not the World Champion, Monsieur Loeb - in fact it’s JWRC hotshot Seb Ogier, a last minute replacement for 2007 European Champion Simon Jean-Joseph, who is unable to compete due to an injury.

Rally Programmes available

Posted: August 15, 2008 2:06 PM

With the ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally just a week away, fans can now get their hands on that most vital piece of rallying kit - the 2008 Ulster International Rally Official Programme…

Packed with info on the competitors, the event and the best places to spectate, the official programme is a ‘must have’ for those who take spectating seriously. Priced at £8.00 stg or 12 euro, the A4 glossy magazine format includes detailed maps of the special stages, entry lists, rally schedules and it’s available from all good newsagents now or online at www.pacenotes.net!

Fordes aim for elusive win on Ulster International Rally

Posted: August 15, 2008 12:38 PM

Irish brothers Ross and Arron Forde are aiming for victory in round four of the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup on next weekend’s Ulster International Rally (22 – 23 August).

The Galway crew will be back in action in their Global Group Ireland and BCC Group-backed Suzuki Swift on the Armagh-based tarmac event looking to make amends for the misfortune that has struck them on the previous three rounds of the championship.

They have been leading the Swift field on all three occasions before missing out. In round one, the Pirelli International Rally, the car broke down and they failed to finish then in the second round, the Jim Clark International Rally, after taking the lead by a second on the penultimate stage, they were pipped to victory across the final test by Mark Gamble and Steve Link.

Last time out on the Rally Isle of Man the pair finished under superally rules after rolling the car on stage 21 so next weekend they hope to finally have some luck on their side to claim that elusive win.

Driver Ross has some experience across the Ulster asphalt, which should boost their confidence. Whilst he has never driven on the event, he has co-driven several times for his uncle Frank Cunningham in the Irish Historic Championship and although he was the youngest navigator to ever win the Historic series, it was the only rally they never won.

“I’m familiar enough with the stages having co-driven on the rally a few times,” 24-year-old Ross said. “Hopefully we’ll have some better luck this time out and we can win this one, that’s our aim, to get maximum points, the title’s not out of reach yet.

“There’s going to be some tough competition for the top spot as always, it’s never easy. We always have a good battle with Mark Gamble and Niki Bjerg and I’m sure it’ll be the same this time out. If it’s wet we should be okay but Ulster can be mucky and slippery so it’s always tricky.”

Ross heads into the event in sixth spot in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup drivers’ standings whilst Arron is seventh in the co-drivers’ table. They start the Ulster International Rally in their Galway Mini Centre-prepared Swift as the top Suzuki seed and at number 74.

Meanwhile, the crew have pulled out of this weekend’s Cork Forestry Rally (16 – 17 August). They were due to compete in the event as it is the sixth round of the National Junior Rally Championship and the Billy Coleman Award for Ross.

He is third in the series standings at the moment and is leading class B, which puts him in line to qualify for the interview stage of the award.

Ross said: “We wanted to make sure the car was all ready for Ulster after its rebuild and didn’t want to risk it this weekend. I’m already in a good position in the championship and you have to drop two scores anyway.”

Rally Champion Phillip Morrow joins the Atlas-TEG Sport Rally Team

Posted: August 13, 2008 2:01 PM

Phillip Morrow the 2007 Evo Challenge winner is to use an Atlas-TEG Sport Subaru on the Todds Leap Ulster International Rally on the 22nd and 23rd August, a round of the Tesco 99 British Rally Chamionship.

Phillip, navigated by Gordon Noble will use the Subaru Impreza N12b that won last years event in the hands of his friend Mark Higgins and is set to test alongside team mates Mark Higgins and Wyn Humphreys next week.

Team boss Stuart Newby said “ It is great to have another top driver in the Atlas-TEG Sport Team who can help with car set up and development and Phillip is looking forward to working with his friend Mark.”

Phillip hopes to contest the Trackrod Rally and The Rally of Wales GB as part of the Atlas- TEG Sport Team to help them extend their lead in the BRC Teams Championship whilst Mark Higgins hopes to continue the form that has seen him win both of the last two Tesco 99 BRC rounds, The Jim Clark Rally and The Isle of Man International Rally.

Sponsorship Stacks Up...

Posted: August 13, 2008 11:38 AM

As the countdown continues towards the Friday 22nd August start of this year’s ToddsLeap.com Ulster International Rally, businesses around the Armagh City event base look forward to a late summer surge in trade!

This premium two day motorsport attraction brings tens of thousands of fans from all over Ireland to the area, and it’s not just Armagh City that benefits. Fans flocking to the famous stages in counties Armagh, Down and Tyrone bring a vital business boost with them.

Running an event like the Ulster International isn’t cheap though, and with minimal government funding the rally relies annually on the support of its sponsors. These businesses benefit directly by raising their profiles through their association with one of Ireland’s legendary motorsport extravaganzas.

Along with 2008 title sponsor ToddsLeap.com, partner Armagh City & District Council, those set to benefit in publicity terms include KDM Hire, McCrory Engineering, NI Shotblasting, Autotrader, Armagh City Hotel, Supervalu (Aughnacloy), Noel Zwecker International Transport, Cohannon Inn and Auto Lodge, Bank House Hotel, Stena Line and Peter Donnelly Catering.

Clerk of the Course Michael Johnston commented, “This year, as every year, all our sponsorship opportunities have been taken up. I’d like to thank all the businesses who are backing us, along with Armagh City Council, whose vision and generosity enables Armagh city centre to once more be the vibrant hub of two days of spectacular competition. We look forward to delivering a thrill-packed event for competitors, fans and sponsors!”

If you only attend one motorsport event this year, it’s got to be the Ulster International, where the cream of the crop will be on the limit in a two day motorsport maelstrom. Friday 22nd August, 2008, sees the event blast off from Armagh City centre - don’t miss it!

More Details:

Posted: August 12, 2008 5:58 PM

Flaming Cars! – l to r, Ulster Rally Clerk of the Course, Michael Johnston,
Chief Marshal, Raymond Linton, and Brendan Cassidy from Fire Plus
with Toddsleap.com’s owner Benny O’Hanlon.

Philip Morrow to Drive TEG Subaru Impreza N12

Posted: August 12, 2008 5:47 PM

Details on Crash.net:

Top 20 Entries

Posted: August 8, 2008 2:55 PM

This year’s Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally looks like being a veritable battle royale, as entries have been confirmed from some of the fastest pilots in UK and Irish rallysport. Ferry companies will be enjoying extra business, as the event is a key round of both the British Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Championship!

In at number one on the seeded entry list is 2008 Global Group Irish Tarmac Champion elect Eamonn Boland, who is expected to secure his first tarmac title at the Toddsleap.com sponsored event - but of course in rallying, you never know…

At number two is current Irish Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly, whose compact and explosive Skoda Fabia WRC should be well suited to the tight and treacherous lanes of mid Ulster.

Kevin Lynch, Kenny McKinstry, Peadar Hurson, Derek McGarrity along with BRC stars Mark Higgins, Guy Wilks, Gwyndaf Evans and David Higgins round out a stellar top ten - and any of these ‘top guns’ are capable of taking the event, given the unstable weather conditions and slippery tar of the titanic tests that lie ahead…

Rarely has so much rallying talent been gathered together to do battle on Irish tar. Fans have the tantalising prospect of seeing a ‘hungry’ Derek McGarrity back to full fitness, former Donegal winner James Cullen as a potential wildcard and former European Rally Champion Simon Jean-Joseph in a superquick works Citroen C2R2 Max!

In the National category, Escort Mk2 maestro Camillus Bradley heads the entry list and it will be interesting to see how the top ten Escorts cope with the ferocious power of Craig Bennett’s ‘howling mad’ Metro 6R4, seeded in their midst at number three…

As well as being the decider for this year’s Irish Tarmac Championship, the rally hosts rounds of the 2008 UK Evo Challenge, the UK C2R2 Cup, the Suzuki Swift Cup, the Fiesta Sporting Trophy and the ITC Historics.

If you only attend one motorsport event this year, it’s got to be the Ulster International, where the cream of the crop will be on the limit in a two day motorsport maelstrom. Friday 22nd August, 2008, sees the event blast off from Armagh City centre - don’t miss it!

1 Eamonn Boland (IRL /Damien Morrissey(IRL) - Subaru S12B WRC
2 Eugene Donnelly (IRL)/Paul Kiely (IRL) - Skoda Fabia WRC
3 Kevin Lynch (GB)/Francis Regan (GB) - Subaru S12B WRC
4 Kenny McKinstry (GB)/Noel Orr (GB) - Subaru ImprezaWRC5
5 Peadar Hurson (GB)/Allan Harryman (GB) - Subaru S10 WRC
6 Derek McGarrity (GB)/J McKee (GB) - Subaru ImprezaWRC
7 Mark Higgins (GB)/Rory Kennedy (IRL) - Subaru Impreza N12
8 Guy Wilks (GB)David Moynihan (IRL) - Mitsubishi EVO 9
9 Gwyndaf Evans (GB)/TBA - Mitsubishi EVO 9
10 David Higgins (GB)/Ieuan Thomas (GB) - Subaru Impreza N14
11 Glenn Allen (IRL)/Damien Connolly (IRL) - Toyota Corolla WRC
12 Denis Biggerstaff (GB)/P Robinson (IRL) - Subaru S9 WRC
14 James Cullen (IRL)/Neil Doherty (IRL) - Subaru ImprezaWRC
15 Simon Jean-Joseph (FR)/Jack Boyere (FR) - Citroen C2R2 Max
16 Seamus Leonard (GB)/Gerry McVeigh (GB) - Mitsubishi EVO 9
17 Colm Murphy (IRL)/Ger Loughrey (IRL) - Mitsubishi EVO 9
18 Phillip Morrow (GB)/Gordon Noble (GB) - Mitsubishi EVO 9
19 Darren Gass (GB)/Neil Shanks (GB) - Mitsubishi EVO 9
20 Emma McKinstry (GB)/Kenny Hull (GB) - Subaru S8 WRC

Toddsleap.com Ulster National Rally Top 20
101 Camillus Bradley/Danny O’Neill - Ford Escort MkII
102 Adrian Hetherington/Terry Walkingshaw - Ford Escort MkII
103 Craig Bennett/Alan Shilliday - Metro 6R4
104 Damian Toner/TBA - Ford Escort MkII
105 Fintan McGrady/Conal McCartan - Ford Escort MkII
106 John Waring/Mo Downey - Ford Escort MkII
107 Stewart Clarke/Martin McGarrity - Ford Escort RS1800
108 Alastair Cochrane/TBA - Ford Escort MkII
109 Steven Armstrong/TBA - Ford Escort MkII
110 Raymond Conlon/James O’Reilly - Toyota Corolla
111 Paul Hughes/Declan Campbell - Ford Escort MkII
112 Bob Riddles/Ian Kidd - Ford Escort MkII
113 Michael Conlon/Aidan Boyle - Ford Escort MkII
114 Michael Faloon/David McKone - Ford Escort MkII
115 Elfyn Evans/Gareth Roberts - Ford Fiesta ST
116 Alastair Fisher/Barry McNulty - Ford Fiesta ST
117 Paul Quinn/Jason Gillespie - Ford Fiesta ST
118 James Everard/Sam Collis - Ford Fiesta ST
119 Kyle Orr/Tony McDaid - Ford Fiesta ST
120 Adrian McBride/Rodney Hicks - Ford Fiesta ST

Mitsubishi enters two cars in Ulster Rally - Evans to Drive 2nd Evo

Posted: August 7, 2008 12:43 PM

Mitsubishi Motors UK has confirmed that it has entered a second car in the forthcoming Todds Leap Ulster Rally, round four of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, for Gwyndaf Evans.

The experienced Welshman, who drove for the Mitsubishi team last year, will be reunited with his former team-mate and current works driver Guy Wilks. He will occupy the seat in the second car following the recent departure of Phillip Morrow.

A spokesman for the Mitsubishi team said: “Our goal right from the start of the season has been to retain the British Team’s title and to do that our cars need to finish in first and third places on average for the remaining four rounds. If we get to a point where we cannot achieve the title, then we will reassess our strategy and take a decision on whether we continue with two cars for the rest of the season.”

“It has been rumoured in certain quarters recently that budget issues alone led us to temporarily reduce our team from two cars to one, but that’s simply not the case. Mitsubishi has long been a proud supporter of rallying and maintained its commitment, even when other manufacturers have withdrawn their support. However, motorsport is a results driven industry and we are no more sheltered from that reality than anyone else.”

It is confirmed that David Moynihan will co-drive for Wilks on the Ulster Rally, due to the British Champion’s regular partner Phil Pugh suffering from a recurring back problem.
As yet, no co-driver has been appointed for Evans.

A Call To Marshal…

Posted: August 6, 2008 9:50 AM

August 22nd sees the 2008 Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally blast off from Armagh City into the surrounding mid Ulster lanes. A pivotal round of both the 2008 Global Group Irish Tarmac and Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championships, the Ulster should see Eamonn Boland lift the crown, but of course in rallying, anything can happen…

With that in mind, a group of 40 marshals recently undertook a special training day at Todd’s Leap, near Ballygawley. As well as some exciting team building activities at Ireland’s number one off road driving centre, the marshals undertook training in spectator safety and vehicle recovery techniques.

The day culminated in spectacular style, with a live vehicle fire control exercise under the watchful eyes of Eric Johnston and Brendan Cassidy from Fire Plus. Chief Marshal for the 2008 Ulster, Raymond Linton, was present at the training day and he commented, “Classroom training is fine, but there’s nothing quite like ‘hands on’ training of the type being conducted here at Todd’s Leap today. A rapid and appropriate response from marshals is vital – particularly when high octane fuel fires are involved. We want competitors and fans to enjoy the rally as safely as possible and that’s where good marshalling is paramount!”

Extra marshals are still needed for the event, so if you want to be in the best spots for all the action, contact 07720 000335 / +44 7720 000335 TODAY!


Posted: July 31, 2008 4:32 PM

As August approaches, so the excitement mounts in motorsport circles, for August 22nd is D Day in Irish rallying terms - when the battle commences to discover ‘who’s the daddy’ on Irish tarmac.

It can only be the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally, an adrenalin drenched blend of skill and speed, fought out around the lanes of mid-Ulster. No sterner test of man and machine exists - with no quarter given and none asked!

With the entries for the Armagh City-based 2008 spectacular piling in, a new name jumps out to thrill fans - that of 2007 European Rally Champion Simon Jean-Joseph. The Frenchman, made very much in the mould of World Champion Sebastien Loeb, will campaign a new Citroen C2R2 Max on the Ulster, a car he has helped to develop for Citroen Sport and has already taken to a giant-killing 8th overall on the recent Rally Russia!

Already the International Rally has over 65 confirmed entries with the National Rally hitting almost 90 entries. Some of those drivers confirmed are Kevin Lynch, Eugene Donnelly, Eamonn Boland, Kenny McKinstry, Peadar Hurson, Glenn Allen, Mark Higgins, David Higgins, Guy Wilks, Seamus Leonard and Colm Murphy.

This year’s Ulster will be pivotal to several championships, but looks set primarily to provide a spectacular backdrop for Eamonn Boland’s first Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship crown. Boland is odds on favourite to lift the title in Armagh, but in rallying, anything can happen!

Ulster Rally Clerk of the Course Michael Johnston commented, “The Ulster always has a quality entry, but this year’s event looks to be critical in a number of series. The competition will be tough, and I think fans are in for a special treat this time around!”

Would-be competitors are urged to get their entries in quickly, as only five days remain until the entries for both events close on Monday 4th July at 5pm!

List of Entries Received to Date:

Posted: July 29, 2008 4:55 PM

List of Entries received to date available in the competitors section of the rally website:

Regulations available

Posted: July 3, 2008 6:37 PM

Bigger, Better…Be There!

Posted: June 26, 2008 11:13 AM

Pictured at the official Launch of the 2008 Toddsleap.com
Ulster International Rally, are from left, Mr Benny O'Hanlon, MD Toddsleap.com,
Michael Johnston, Ulster Rally Clerk of the Course
and Cllr Noel Sheridan, Mayor of Armagh City and District Council.

Wednesday 25th June, 2008, saw the official launch of the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally, running over the weekend of 22nd/23rd August…

Launched at Ireland’s biggest off road activity centre, Tyrone’s Toddsleap.com, the 2008 Ulster will be a thrill-packed rollercoaster ride, as crews negotiate an extra fourteen stage miles around the notoriously tricky Armagh and Tyrone lanes.

Crews should benefit from the event’s new Friday shakedown stage, but two brand new special stages will sort the men from the boys!

Commenting on the launch, which saw a range of VIP guests including four times Irish tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly tackle the famous Toddsleap.com off road course, event sponsor Benny O’Hanlon said, “The excitement is really mounting now that we’re in the final countdown to the event. It’s been a big leap for Toddsleap.com, moving from stage sponsor to main sponsor, but we’re totally revved up and ready to rally!”

With a total of 135 ultra-competitive stage miles, the Ulster is regarded by drivers and spectators alike as the definitive test of man and machine, and big crowds are guaranteed for the late summer showdown…

Mayor of Armagh City & District Noel Sheridan commented, “It’s a great honour for the City to be hosting this premium motorsport event once again. It’s now a well established and key event in Armagh’s calendar, and we look forward to welcoming the thousands of visitors who turn up to be a part of this mighty tarmac tussle!”

Rally HQ is once more based at the Armagh City Hotel, with the start/finish in The Mall. Scrutiny and Parc Ferme are at the Palace Depot Workshop, with service areas at the hotel, Armagh Rugby Club and the Christian Brothers PS.

Often a pivotal round of the 2008 Global Group Irish Tarmac Rally Championship due to its date, the event will also play host to half a dozen other important series, showcasing the talents of some of the UK and Ireland’s quickest rally crews!

Bigger and better for 2008…you’ve just got to be there!

Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally Will Be A Real Blast!

Posted: May 6, 2008 2:33 PM

The countdown is officially under way for the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally, taking place this year over the weekend of 22nd/23rd August…

With a new main sponsor on board and an extra fourteen competitive stage miles on offer, the 2008 Ulster is set to thrill, as once more the twisting and tricky lanes in a thirty mile radius around Armagh City echo to the roar of rally cars on the redline!

If anyone knows just how big a challenge lies ahead it’s the new Parkanaur stage sponsor and Escort Mk2 maestro Paul Hughes of the Omagh based NI Shotblasting Company. “The Ulster is always an extremely challenging event,” says Hughes. “You have the night driving on the Friday, which really sorts out the men from the boys and those lanes can be bone dry at one point, damp and greasy just around the corner. It’s fantastic to be associated with this years Ulster, I wanted to put something back into one of my favourite events. If you like adrenalin, the Ulster is a total blast, for crews and spectators alike!”

As well as the extra fourteen stage miles new for 2008, the event now has a shakedown stage on the Friday morning, and features two completely new stages, which will test ‘old hands’ and ‘first timers’ to the very limit of their skill!

The Friday action will cover some 50 stage miles, while the Saturday will see crews battle it out over 85 stage miles, giving an event total of some 135 thrill-packed stage miles.

As in 2007, Rally HQ is at the Armagh City Hotel, with the start/finish in The Mall. Scrutiny and Parc Ferme are at the Palace Depot Workshop, with service areas at the hotel, Armagh Rugby Club and the Christian Brothers PS.

A key round of the 2008 Global Group Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the event will also play host to rounds of the Tesco 99 British Rally Championship, the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge, the Suzuki Swift Cup, the UK and Irish C2R2 series, the Fiesta Sporting Trophy Ireland series and the Global Group Tarmac Historic Rally Championship - putting some of the quickest cars and drivers from throughout the UK and Ireland head to head!

Toddsleap.com Takes The Driving Seat For Ulster Rally

Posted: February 19, 2008 8:36 PM

After three years of association with a major tyre retailer, the Ulster Rally has a new driving force! Toddsleap.com is the proud main sponsor of the 2008 event, which runs over the weekend of Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd August, 2008, based once more in the City of Armagh.

Whilst the sponsorship deal is new, the association isn’t. For ten years, the popular Toddsleap.com rally stage in Tyrone has been an integral part of the rally.

The highly experienced Michael Johnston returns as Clerk of the Course for the 2008 event and describes this year’s format as, “Classic Ulster, but with a few unexpected twists!”

The event is once more centred on the historic city of Armagh, with Rally HQ in the Armagh City Hotel. The schedule, which has proved so popular with competitors over the years, consists of the formal start of the International event in the Mall, followed by three stages on the Friday evening.

These stages are then repeated by the International competitors, who are joined by the National rally runners, giving everyone the opportunity to tackle some classic Ulster stages in the dark.

The Saturday leg consists of five stages run twice, giving a total of 135 stage miles for the International crews and 85 stage miles for the National crews. As in previous years, all servicing takes place in Armagh City, which is the focal point for the weekend.

CoC Michael Johnston continued, “The 2008 route contains a number of new stages and will provide a challenging test of skill and commitment, in the best traditions of the Ulster Rally.”

Benny O'Hanlon, MD of Ballygawley-based Toddsleap.com, Ireland’s biggest off road and corporate entertainment centre said, “We are delighted to be the main sponsors of the Ulster Rally in 2008. The event promises world class rally action for drivers and spectators alike. We are committed to driving the event forward and are confident that the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally 08 will be the biggest and most thrilling ever!"

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