West Cork Rally - 14-15 Mar 09

Posted: March 22, 2009 12:41 AM - 37777 Hits

Round 1 - 2009 Southern 4 Rally Championship
Rounds 1 & 2 - 2009 Honda Cup Ireland
Rounds 1 & 2 - 2009 Irish Evolution Challenge

  • Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy win West Cork 09

West Cork Rally 2009 Video Night - (Sat) 18 Apr 09

Posted: April 14, 2009 7:21 PM

More In Car...

Posted: March 20, 2009 2:19 PM

Quality Hotels West Cork Rally 2009 Final Report

Posted: March 20, 2009 2:19 PM

The Quality Hotels West Cork Rally took place for the 31st time on March 14th & 15th last. Despite the economic woes at present, a full field of 151 cars were present on the start line for what would be one of the driest events in a number of years. There was some disappointment before the start when top seeds Donie O’Sullivan & Paul Nagle had to withdraw from the event because of problems with the paperwork for their new Proton Satria Neo S2000. Also missing from the start list were number 10 seeds Brian O’Mahony & John Higgins, whose engine began to give trouble on the way to scrutiny. There were to be eight stages on each of the two legs. The first day was north and east of Clonakilty around Ballinascarthy, Clogagh, Ring and Dunworley. Day two was west of the town bringing the crews to Sams Cross, Rossmore and Ardfield.

Day 1
John Dalton in his Darrian T90 GTR led the field away in brilliant March sunshine to the first stage in Ballinascarthy. In spite of the fine weather, the test was described as being very slippery in places by the leading crews. Liam McCarthy took the initiative straight away by pulling out a 5 second lead over Keith Cronin in his Mitsubishi Lancer. Jim Harrison was taking it steady and was a further three seconds back. Dalton and Denis Cronin made up the top five. It was to be a short event for local driver Sean O’Donovan who rolled out of the event and temporarily blocked stage 1 in his Subaru.

McCarthy extended his lead on the next stage to ten seconds with Harrison slotting into second. Keith Cronins chances of springing a surprise on the event evaporated as he was off the road and into a field for 90 seconds on stage 2, dropping him outside the top ten. This promoted Phil Collins into fifth place while a superb start had netted local driver Fintan Canty sixth place. On the third stage Keith Cronin set a brilliant time, twelve seconds quicker than leader McCarthy to haul himself back into the top ten. The stage was interrupted when Edward O’Callaghan had a big accident and blocked the stage, fortunately without serious injury to the crew.

Keith Cronin again set fastest time on the following stage as Denis Cronin also began to creep up behind Jim Harrison who still hadn’t gotten into his stride. Dalton was fourth with Collins fifth and Keith Cronin had now climbed to sixth. Ashley Field was having a very good run to hold seventh, followed by a trio of Escorts in the hands of Canty, Adrien Heatherington and Leonard Downey.

Stage five was the classic Ring test, and John Dalton set a scorching time here to take 13 seconds off McCarthy while Denis Cronin also closed the gap to the leader. Harrison was now losing some ground but just about held third. Not so lucky on Ring was Fintan Canty who crashed heavily on the exit of the village and Adrien Heatherington who retired with clutch failure midway through the test. Liam McCarthy took some time back from the chasing pack on stage 6, Dunworley, as Harrison dropped behind Denis Cronin into third. Keith Cronin lost more time here as he had a lurid 360 degree spin which cost him over a minute as he tried to restart his stalled engine. This allowed Phil Collins back into fifth place.

Dalton repeated his heroics on the second run over Ring to move into second place, while Cronin consolidated third place from Harrison. There was a dramatic change to the leaderboard on the last stage of the day with the second run over Dunworley. Jim Harrison stopped mid stage with mechanical problems and seventh placed Ashley Field went off the road and out of the rally on the first junction of the stage. Liam McCarthy took fastest time to lead overnight with more than 30 seconds to spare. Keith Cronin in fifth place took maximum points for round 1 of the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge. Damien McCarthy was top points scorer for round 1 of the Honda Cup and held ninth place overall. Adrian McElhinney won the first round of the Citroen C2 Cup and held 20th overall while the Historic Rally was being led by Eddie Murphy in his Mk 1 Escort.

Top 5 at the end of Day 1
1 – Liam McCarthy / Kieran Murphy – Corolla WRC 1:13:07.5
2 – John Dalton / Gwynfor Jones – Darrian T90 GTR 1:13:40.5
3 – Denis Cronin / Helen O’Sullivan – Impreza WRC 1:13:46.3
4 – Phil Collins / Derek Brannigan – Escort Mk2 1:16:00.8
5 – Keith Cronin / Greg Shinnors – Lancer Evo 9 1:16:55.2

Day 2
The second day dawned bright and sunny as the previous day and there was little change over the first few stages. John Dalton decided to give it a go and almost came to grief on the first stage, but got away with it. Denis Cronin had problems with his gearbox jumping out of 4th and 5th gear which was costing him a little bit of time. Damien McCarthy had lost 4th gear and damaged a rim on the first stage which started losing him time. Manus Kelly had overtaken Frank Kelly for sixth place on the first of the morning stages.

On the next stage Dalton cut the gap to 28 seconds and the charge was now on. Behind the leading half dozen all hell was breaking loose as no sooner were drivers appearing in the top ten then they were out of the event. Manus Kelly crashed his Escort on stage 11 and Diarmuid Keohane had a halfshaft break on his similar car. Gwyn Thomas had made it to 9th before a timing belt broke and he was out. Marty McCormack was up to eighth but went off the road on stage 12. Damien McCarthy had now lost fifth as well as fourth gear and was struggling to stay going.

As the crews tackled the first run over Ardfield (Stage 13), Dalton knew he had to do something along the smooth coastal stage to try to grab a shock win. He took a staggering eight seconds off McCarthy to close the gap once again. There was now just 24 seconds between the leading two, while Denis Cronins gearbox problems prevented him from making a challenge and he comfortably held third place. Liam McCarthy responded to the challenge however, and replied by taking three seconds back on the 14th stage. The gap was now out to 27 seconds with just two stages to go.

Leonard Downey had been as high as seventh, but then had problems with an overheating engine which caused his retirement after the penultimate stage. In a very sporting gesture Martin Cunningham had given a loan of a gearbox to Damien McCarthy who was struggling to stay in the event. Cunningham had gone ahead by over 50 seconds, but McCarthy began the fightback. This was resolved on the final stage with McCarthy overhauling his rival by setting a superb time to pip Cunningham by just six seconds.

Dalton took another seven seconds back from McCarthy on stage 15 to leave just twenty seconds between the leading two with just one stage to go. However Dalton wisely decided to back off rather than risk everything on the last stage and McCarthy took the win by 34 seconds in the end. Denis Cronin took third place with nephew Keith in fourth place and taking maximum points again in round 2 of the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge. Phil Collins led a trio of Escorts to take fifth place, his best ever West Cork result, with Frank Kelly in sixth place from Kevin O’Donoghue who was seventh.

Daragh O’Riordan took class 6 and eighth overall in his Renault Clio. Thomas O’Rourke was top points scorer in the 2nd round of the Honda Cup with a superb drive to 9th place in a standard class 3 Civic. The top ten was rounded off by Thomas Davies from Wales in another Mk2 Escort. Adrian McElhinney was 15th overall and took round 2 maximum points in the Citroen C2 Cup. The Historic Rally was won by Denis Moynihan in his Mk1 Escort, with the Junior Rally won by David Brosnan in his Honda Civic. The Sunday Run was won by Adrien Heatherington who thrilled the spectators with some spectacular driving. A new winner has been added to the Quality Hotels West Cork Rally list in Liam McCarthy, and it can’t be said that he hasn’t deserved for all the years of trying and near misses.

In Car

Posted: March 19, 2009 11:24 AM

Honda Cup - Round 1 and 2 are a huge success!

Posted: March 18, 2009 10:44 AM

The West Cork Rally 2009 on March 15th/16th was round 1 and 2 of the first year of Honda Cup Ireland. Eight Honda drivers started the Clonakilty based event – evenly split between the Production and Super Production classes. The €3,000 total prize fund for the event would be allocated based on each competitor’s aggregate score from the two days of competition.

Round 1 would kick off on Saturday morning with 8 stages scheduled for the day with service halts after every two stages. The pace for SS1 and indeed for the whole of round 1 would be set by local man Damien McCarthy in his Super-Production Civic EG6. Damien, using Kumho K60 dry weather tyres and Sunoco fuel, was pursued closely all day by Martin Cunningham in his similar EG6. Jason Ryan in a borrowed Civic EP3 was third in the class and initially competitive although suffered a suspension failure in SS4 that would end his chances of competing for the class on this round. Gavin Walsh would round off the class in fourth. The Production class for GroupN cars was dominated by Tomas O’Rourke who led from start to finish in his Meegan Motorsport built Civic EP3. Local man Stephen Carey was second fastest all day and managed to stay ahead of the fierce battle between Richard Whelan and Peter O’Kane of which Whelan would come out on top.

Round 1 results: Super-Production Production
1st Damien McCarthy Tomas O’Rourke
2nd Martin Cunningham Stephen Carey
3rd Jason Ryan Richard Whelan
4th Gavin Walsh Peter O’Kane

Round 2 would be a more dramatic affair. Round 1 winner, Damien McCarthy would arrive into the first service of the day having sustained damage to a wheel and having gearbox problems. Other Super-Production runner Jason Ryan would not start round 2 having suffered with car problems in round 1. This would reduce the pressure on Martin Cunningham who had shown incredible pace in round 1 and allow him to score maximum points in the Super-Production class in round 2. Tomas O’Rourke set the overall pace in round 2, winning five of the eight stages. Stephen Carey from Baltimore would again secure the second placed position after a very consistent run; and even though the all-day battle for third place was even closer in round 2 than round 1, Richard Whelan would again come out ahead of Peter O’Kane by only 4 seconds.

Round 1 results: Super-Production Production
1st Martin Cunningham Tomas O’Rourke
2nd Damien McCarthy Stephen Carey
3rd Gavin Walsh Richard Whelan
4th Peter O’Kane
The Honda Cup Ireland organisers are absolutely delighted with how the first round of the championship went. Winning Honda Cup entrants managed to beat all of the C2R2 Irish Cup entrants and all but one Evo Challenge entrant. The next round of the cup is Midland Stages Rally on April 6th and we expect an equally good performance on that occasion.

Honda Cup Ireland could not operate without the support of our championship partners, KUMHO Tyres, SUNOCO Fuels, DUNWEEDIN’, EURO M-SPORT and MEEGAN MOTORSPORT. We would like to thanks Cork Motor Club and the West Cork Rally organisers for hosting the first round of Honda Cup Ireland.

For further information and reports on the championship including full championship points and details on how to enter please see

McElhinney Masters Opening Citroen Racing Trophy Rounds

Posted: March 18, 2009 10:21 AM

Donegal driver Adrian McElhinney emerged victorous on the opening two rounds of the Citroen Racing Trophy, on the double header event in West Cork.

The Trophy for the Citroen Sport C2 R2’s was frenetic right from the drop of the flag in Clonakilty. Tipperary’s Paul Manton was rapid right from that flag, with some fast times on the opening stage to lead after three stages, but a rare engine failure was to finish his weekend, resulting in no scores on the opening two rounds. Soon into the round one lead however was Adrian McElhinney. He had been held up on stage one when he caught five cars that had been bunched together because of an accident, but a very fast time on stage two proved he meant business, and he took up the front running. In second was young Monaghan driver Sam Moffett, who admitted to being a little rusty on the opening loop, but was still marginally ahead of last years championship runner up, Barry Evans. Barry was getting used to new co driver Alister Wylie on the first tests, and also admitted to have picked the wrong tyres on the opening loop, but fastest time on stage four meant he had Moffett in his sights.

Clones driver Martin Tynan admitted also to making a slow start due to a lack of seat time, and he also wasn’t happy with the rear suspension in the middle loop of stages. Cork’s John Quill made a welcome return to the series, and came off the famous Ring stage in West Cork euphoric! “That was just absolutely brilliant” he said, the fast flowing West Cork roads a pleasure to drive in the dry conditions. John had a dramatic start to the day with a costly spin on stage one. New C2 recruit Stephen Baxter overtook John only to go off into a field on down the stage, rejoining in front of John, before crashing into bank on the next corner, letting the startled John Quill through once more. But by the end of the stage they had swopped positions once more! Perhaps they were taking the new Citroen Racing branding too literally! Baxter and Mark Kane where two newcomers to the Citroen C2 R2’s and despite the odd drama, both where setting impressive stage times on their debut. Mark Kane’s early dramas included a lack of intercom, and an engine limiter fault that was cured by borrowing an ECU from Paul Manton’s stranded machine, but both of these drivers were making an impression.

On the final tests of the day, Adrian McElhinney was building on his lead, and also now having to revise his braking distances, as the new Carbon Lorraine pads he fitted at service where seriously shortening the C2’s stopping distance. Behind him Sam Moffett had a spin on stage 5 and also a major moment when the C2 took to the grass at high speed on stage 8, but held onto his second place despite Barry Evans rapidly closing.

Round One Results
1 Adrian McElhinney/ Shane Buckley Citroen C2 R2
2 Sam Moffett/ James O’ Reilly Citroen C2 R2
3 Barry Evans/ Alister Wylie Citroen C2 R2
4 Martin Tynan/ Andrew Greenan Citroen C2 R2
5 Mark Kane/ Don Montgomery Citroen C2 R2

Round two of the Citroen Racing Trophy was day two of the West Cork Rally. The opening test, stage 9 in the overall rally presented a delay for Adrian McElhinney as he stopped to render assistance to a crashed Evo in front of him, and admitted to being off the boil on the next stage, before once again taking up the front running. Stage 10 was quite dramatic as Sam Moffett spun and got wedged at a hairpin, and Barry Evan’s co driver Alister Wylie was using hand signals after their intercom failed! The newcomers where getting it tough too, Mark Kane having two spins, and getting stuck in a ditch, whilst Stephen Baxter was also in the wars. He had ripped the front bumper off with his previous day’s incident, and was kindly loaned a bumper by the retired Paul Manton only for it to be ripped off as spectators hauled him out of a ditch on stage 10. Adrian McElhinney was having brake trouble, but a change in compound on the brake pads soon sorted this and Adrian was commanding the front running. Martin Tynan sadly fell foul of the infamous jump on stage 11, crashing out of the event.

The battle for second was heated however with Sam Moffett ahead of Barry Evans by just a few seconds after stage 14, where Barry had set a storming stage time. But the final loop presented problems for both crews, with Sam Moffett retiring with a broken engine mount and Barry Evans losing considerable time stuck up an escape road after an overshoot. Indeed enough time was lost to let newcomer Mark Kane into a fabulous second ahead of Barry, with the other newcomer Stephen Baxter third. Indeed both of these drivers showed pace, with Kane fastest C2 on the final test ahead of Baxter. John Quill had a trouble free run to fifth, happy with his C2 after changing the airflow meter on Saturday.

Another C2 in the running was Marty McCormack’s new C2 R2 Max. Last years champion was delighted with his new machine, and ran as high as eighth overall, scooping Citroen prize money for being first A6 car home on Saturday evening. On day two however he hit a bank and bent the rear suspension, and retired, but not before learning a lot about his new mount. “The suspension, brakes and turn in are unbelievable. I love driving this car, and it’s actually easier to drive than the R2, but a lot faster!”

The fastest driver in the Citroen Racing Trophy for the R2 cars was Adrian McElhinney however, with another superb drive, showing his speed in 2008 was no flash in the pan. With two maximum scores it’s a perfect start to the series for Adrian in his self prepared C2 R2. “It’s a dream start to our year, and it’s great to be in the prize money. Our aim this year is to contest the Trophy, as it’s such a great series, and this weekend has given us the perfect start. As ever the competition was tough, but the camaraderie was equally as good, and we can’t wait for the next round in .”

Round Two Results
1 Adrian McElhinney/ Shane Buckley Citroen C2 R2
2 Mark Kane/ Don Montgomery Citroen C2 R2
3 Barry Evans/ Alister Wylie Citroen C2 R2
4 Stephen Baxter/ James Allman Citroen C2 R2
5 John Quill/ Alan Hartigan Citroen C2 R2

More Video Clips

Posted: March 16, 2009 3:38 PM

Keith Cronin storms to victory in rounds one and two of Irish Mitsubishi series.

Posted: March 16, 2009 3:21 PM

The Clonakilty-based Quality Hotels West Cork Rally is one of Ireland’s classic rallies and this year hosted the first two rounds of the 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland, with Saturday’s eight stages representing round one and Sunday’s eight stages round two.

On both days, Keith Cronin and co-driver Greg Shinnors dominated the Evolution Challenge field and such was their pace in the dry and sunny conditions, they recorded a total of six fastest overall stage times, finished fourth overall and won Group N.

Round One
Cronin/Shinnors were quickest of the Mitsubishi runners on the first stage and were on blistering form, posting a time that was good enough to see them third overall. However, on the very next stage they slid into a ditch when the wipers smeared the windscreen and Cronin momentarily lost visibility. After losing over a minute extricating the car they were on their way again, but a broken intercooler pipe meant the car was down on power.

For the remaining three Evo Challenge competitors, who were seeded further down the field, it was to be a frustrating day, with three stages cancelled due to accidents taking place ahead of them, the first of which was on SS1.

After completing just one stage before the first service halt, Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O’Callagan were second of the Evos, with Liam Egan/Colin Harkness third after suffering a loss of power towards the end of SS2 due to a split turbo pipe. Tom White/Robert Murphy were in fourth, but concerned about their car’s transmission as the driver was having to hold the gear level to stop it jumping out of second.

A repeat run of the first two stages followed and Cronin/Shinnors extended their Evo Challenge lead to a margin of over two minutes minutes before the second service halt, whilst for the others, there was another hold up when stage three was cancelled.

Ballantine/O’Callaghan were consolidating second place and having a good run in their first rally together. But for Egan/Harkness is was not their lucky day: the power steering stopped working on SS4 dropping them over ten minutes when they tried to fix the problem in the stage. White/Murphy’s transmission troubles were getting no better as they had now lost fifth gear.

The next pair of stages almost saw Cronin/Shinnor’s run come to an end, when they survived a ‘flat in fifth’ spin on SS6 and found themselves going backwards down the stage at high-speed. Thankfully, they came to a halt unscathed, although it took over a minute to restart the stalled engine. After a good run through SS5, the remaining trio of Evos were to miss yet another stage when SS6 was also cancelled.

Cronin opted for a slightly more cautious approach on the final two stages and, other than a loose turbo pipe, he and Shinnors made it back to Clonakitly to scoop top points in the first round of the Irish Evo Challenge. Ballantine/O’Callaghan finished a strong second and, just when it looked like third was in the bag for White/Murphy, their car’s gearbox finally expired on the last stage of the day, allowing Egan/Harkness to fill the final podium position.

Round one results
1 Keith Cronin (Bantry)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) 1:16:55.2
2 Stanley Ballentine (Strabane)/Donnacha O’Callaghan (Mallow) 1:20:23.8
3 Liam Egan (New York)/Colin Harkness (Beragh) 1:37:38.3

SS8 Thomas White (Foulksmills)/Robert Murphy (Campile) Gearbox

Round 2
With White/Murphy’s Lancer repaired overnight by the James Foley Rallysport team, the full complement of Evo Challenge crews set off for another eight stages on Sunday. Again, it was Cronin/Shinnors who set the pace and pulled out a margin of nearly a minute by the time the cars reached the first service halt after the first pair of stages.

Ballentine/O’Callaghan assumed second place once more, but for Egan/Harkness and White/Murphy history started to repeat itself: the turbo-charger on Egan’s car lost its boost at the end of the second stage of the day, whilst White was seeing his gearbox issues return.

Cronin/Shinnors continued to forge ahead, their four fastest overall stage times on Sunday raising a few eyebrows amongst the other competitors in both Mitsubishis and WRC cars. In contrast, White/Murphy’s rally came to an end on stage 11 when the gearbox finally cried enough, whilst for Egan/Harkness, the character-building issues still persisted, their car now overheating due to a leaking radiator.

Then, just when it looked like Ballentine/O’Callaghan were assured of a comfortable second place, a problem with their car’s centre differential saw them coast to a halt on SS14, allowing Egan/Harkness to inherit the position.
But it was Cronin and Shinnors’ weekend, their impressive performance being the talk of the rally.

“I’m very pleased with the way things went this weekend”, said Cronin. “We were lucky to get away with a few things on Saturday, but Sunday went really well and the car was fantastic. The result is just what we wanted.”

Round two results
1 Keith Cronin (Bantry)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) 1:00:29.4
2 Liam Egan (New York)/Colin Harkness (Beragh) 1:12:00.5

SS11 Thomas White (Foulksmills)/Robert Murphy (Campile) Gearbox
SS14 Stanley Ballentine (Strabane)/Donnacha O’Callaghan (Mallow) Transmission

Rounds three and four of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland take place on April 12th & 13th, when the series heads north to Dundalk for the Circuit or Ireland Rally.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland is also supported by: Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuel, James Foley Rallysport, Carbone Lorraine brake pads, Murray Motorsport, Speedline Corse wheels, PIAA lights, Pacenotes, Sparco racewear and Mitsubishi Motors Ireland.

Results (Note Jnr & Historic Results)

Posted: March 16, 2009 2:24 PM

1 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC) 133m 42s,
2 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR) 134m 17s,
3 Denis Cronin/Helen O'Sullivan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 135m 14s,
4 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 137m 25s,
5 Phil Collins/Derek Brannigan (Ford Escort Mk II) 138m 59s,
6 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escort Mk II) 144m 02s,
7 Kevin O’Donoghue/Joe O’Leary (Ford Escort Mk II) 146m 44s,
8 Daragh O’Riordan/Sean McCarthy (Renault Clio S1600) 147m 00s,
9 Thomas O’Rourke/Tomas Scallan (Honda Civic R3) 147m 09s,
10 Tomas Davies/John Smithwick (Ford Escort Mk II) 147m 46s.

Group N Production class:
1 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors,
2 Thomas O’Rourke/Tomas Scallan,
3 Stephen Carey/Mark Lee (Civic) 154m 03s.

1 Simon Duggan/William Lynch (Sunbeam) 36m 23s,
2 David Brosnan/Donal Horgan (Civic) 36m 42s,
3 David Duggan/Sean Murphy (Corolla) 37m 14s.

1 Denis Moynihan/Dan Moynihan (Escort) 100m 26s,
2 David Cremin/Johnny O’Shea (Escort) 101m 10s,
3 James O' Mahony/Paddy McDonnell (Volvo 144S) 102m 02s
3 John Hackett/Michael Hackett (Mini) 107m 11s.

SS1-16 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)

Stage Winners
SS1 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)
SS2 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)
SS3 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS4 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS5 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR)
SS6 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)
SS7 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR)
SS8 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)
SS9 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)
& Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS10 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR)
SS11 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)
& Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS12 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS13 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR)
SS14 Liam McCarthy/Kieran Murphy (Toyota Corolla WRC)
SS15 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR)
SS16 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mit. Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)

Donie O'Sullivan and Brian O'Mahony not Starting

Posted: March 14, 2009 7:50 AM

Irish Mitsubishi series gets set to start second season.

Posted: March 13, 2009 4:16 PM

The 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland kicks off this weekend with the Quality Hotels West Cork Rally, the classic Cork Motor Club organised event representing rounds one and two of the official series for Group N Lancer Evolutions.

Having received high numbers of enquires for regulations and entry information during the winter, only four crews have registered for the first event in the Mitsubishi series, a factor that is a direct reflection on the current economic climate, as Evolution Challenge Manager Simon Slade explains:
“We are around 50% down on numbers from that of last year. However, I am pleased to report that we do have more teams joining us later in the season. It is apparent that the whole sport is suffering from the economic downturn – especially in the homologated classes - and I can understand that competitors do not want to commit to a full season without being confident that their finances are secure enough to see them through. Therefore, to help with this, we are offering a ‘pay as you go’ scheme, where crews can sign up and pay their entry fee on an event-by-event basis.”

Even with the reduction in numbers, organisers of the series have pledged to continue their commitment to the sport - especially as there will be more crews joining as the season progresses, such as last year’s winners in West Cork, Alan Carmichael and co-driver Ivor Lamont.

“There has been some talk that the series was not going to go ahead this year”, said Slade. “It would be easy just to cancel when things get tough, but we are here for the long term and, together with the continued support from our sponsors, I am delighted to report that we are in a position to go ahead as planned.”

The highest seeded of the four Evolution Challenge entries is the talented local crew of Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors, who contested last year’s UK Evolution Challenge and during the past year have earned themselves the well-deserved reputation of being one of Ireland’s best.

Next of the Mitsubishi runners is Stanley Ballentine, who has recruited local co-driver Donnacha O’Callaghan for this event. The experienced Ulster driver was a major contender in last year’s Irish Evo Challenge and so far is the only competitor to return for a second season.

Next in line are Liam Egan/Colin Harkness, who are likely to be serious contenders for the title. Now based in NewYork, Galway-born Egan has committed to a season with the Irish Evo Challenge and will commute across the Atlantic for each of the rounds.

Other newcomers to the series are Thomas White and Robert Murphy, who will be campaigning a James Foley Rallysport Evolution IX and are hoping to gain experience and gather pace as the season progresses, this being their first full year in a Mitsubishi.

The Quality Hotels West Cork Rally gets underway on Saturday morning and sees eight stages before the overnight halt. A further eight stages follow on Sunday, with each day representing a round of the Mitsubishi series.

The Evolution Challenge Ireland offers competitors an extensive prize fund, with the Champion wining a supported drive in a James Foley Rallysport prepared Group N Lancer Evolution X for selected rounds of the 2010 Irish Tarmac Championship. Other prizes up for grabs include vouchers, tyres, fuel and awards on each event and at the end of the season.

Championship organisers welcome new sponsors Carbone Lorraine, who are the preferred supplier of brake pads supplied by Murray Motorsport, who will be providing technical support and preferential prices to Evo Challenge competitors.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland is also supported by: Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuel, James Foley Rallysport, Speedline Corse wheels, PIAA lights, Pacenotes, Sparco racewear and Mitsubishi Motors Ireland.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland
Rounds One & Two - Entries in start number order
7    Keith Cronin (Bantry)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick)
44  Stanley Ballentine (Strabane)/Donnacha O’Callaghan (Mallow)
45  Liam Egan (New York)/Colin Harkness (Beragh)
46  Thomas White (Foulksmills)/Robert Murphy

Withdrawals & Reserve List to 11/03/09

Posted: March 12, 2009 11:06 AM

Out - 16 John O'Donnell
Out - 24 Philip Cross
Out - 84 Ger O'Brien

First reserve is Car 163 John Hendy

Reserve List:
163 - John Hendy
165 - Willie Fitzpatrick
166 - Francis Kelly
168 - Keith Power
169 - Liam Dennehy
170 - Colin Kingston
171 - Paddy O'Dwyer
172 - Donal Dineen
173 - Noel McCarthy
174 - Sam Leech
175 - Chris Manning
176 - Kevin O'Sullivan
177 - Brian Dennis
179 - Tony Hennessy
180 - Alan Bardon
181 - Peter Murphy
182 - Trevor Hutton
183 - Joe Nacey

Honda Cup - Year one, round one, lots to be won!

Posted: March 12, 2009 11:02 AM

The West Cork Rally, March 14th and 15th 2009, is the first (Saturday) and second (Sunday) round of the Honda Cup Ireland 2009. This year is the championship’s opening year, and its sole mission is to make rallying more affordable for skilful drivers with a low budget. The whole ethos of the championship is to give emerging, underfunded talent a boost and recognition for their skills.

The Honda Cup organisers are absolutely delighted to have the WEST CORK RALLY 2009 as part of the seven round championship this year. The WEST CORK RALLY is widely regarded as a jewel in Irish rallying’s crown and this is supported by the event’s reputation for good organisation, good stages and the fact that it attracts entries from foreign shores as well as those from all over Ireland. A full championship calendar is available on our up-to-date website at www.hondacupireland.com

A massive prize fund, supported by KUMHO TYRES, JC FUELS, DUNWEEDIN’ and EURO M-SPORT, will be awarded to the top six finishers, from two classes, at the end of the event based on aggregate scores from the two days – in fact, the top scorer in each class will receive in the region of €800 worth of KUMHO TYRES – almost twice the entry fee - to suit their rally car. The total prize fund measures €3,000 just for this event!

The championship is still open to entries in both our Production (N2 and N3) and Super-Production (A6, A7, M11, M12, M13) classes and will have high quality entries in both classes in West Cork. Some of our registered competitors have opted to drop round one and two as their newly built cars are not finished yet, so the West Cork Rally will give every participating competitor an increased chance of taking home high value prizes.

A key feature of the championship is the diverse range of Honda cars within the registered field. In West Cork, we will have 1600cc Hondas, 2000cc Hondas, group A, group N and modified Hondas – making the cup a versatile and unpredictable championship – exciting to watch, exciting to be a part of, and with an exciting future for prize winners, event winners and the overall Honda Cup Ireland champion whom will be entered into a high profile continental event at the end of the year.

Honda Cup Ireland would thank the Cork Motor Club rally committee, and our championship partners and supporters, KUMHO TYRES, JC FUELS, DUNWEEDIN’ and EURO M-SPORT for helping to make the championship a huge success in 2009.


Posted: March 10, 2009 4:44 PM

As St.Patricks Weekend draws closer the Quality Hotels West Cork Rally is about to take place for the 31st time . There is a large variety of cars of various makes and models, as well a scattering of crews from all over the island as well as some from the UK. The event is fortunate to have to have full field of cars ready to take part in the event in these difficult economic times.

Paul Nagle, who co drove for Kris Meeke in their fantastic IRC win in the Curitiba Rally in Brazil over the past weekend, will back in the passenger seat alongside Donie O’Sullivan in their new Proton S2000. This crew, who won the event last year, will lead the 151 cars away on Saturday morning, will be hoping for a record equalling third win on the event. Only one other crew on the entry list has won West Cork before, Denis Cronin and Helen O’Sullivan who won in 2005. Drivers of the calibre of Liam McCarthy, Keith Cronin and Jim Harrison will be hoping to add their names to the winners list by next Sunday evening.

John Dalton, Phil Collins, Brian O’Mahony and James Stafford will be up against it if the weather is wet, but if it’s dry then anything could happen should the four wheel drive men hit trouble. Dalton and Collins will be favourites for class 14, but Adrien Heatherington, Kevin O’Donoghue, Manus Kelly or Ashley Field could spring a surprise here. Class 13 is also very tight with the likes of James Stafford, Ed O’Callaghan, Fintan Canty, Leonard Downey and Rodney White battling it out.

Class 11 is the mainly the domain of the Honda Cup runners with Damien McCarthy, David Guest, Jason Ryan and Thomas O’Rourke likely to be in the mix, with Jason McSweeney who is not registered for the series also likely to be on the pace. Brian O’Mahony will be fancied for class 6, but will face competition from the quick Citroen C2 R2s driven by the likes of Marty McCormack, Adrian McElhinney and Barry Evans. Daragh O’Riordan in his S1600 Renault Clio cannot be discounted for class honours either.

Another attraction over the weekend is the appearance of the Slowly Sideways Group B cars. There are ten of these cars representing some of the best rally cars of the 70’s and 80’s. They will be presented for scrutiny at 7pm on Friday evening before parading around the town of Clonakilty. They will then be parked at Emmet Square from 7.30pm to 8.30pm for display to the general public. The cars will run before the main field on stages 1, 2, 5 & 6 on Saturday, and stages 9, 10, 13 & 14 on Sunday.

Two time winner of the event Billy Coleman will drive Frank O’Mahonys Metro 6R4 as a 00 car. He will be co-driven by Adrian O’Sullivan from Bandon, the lucky winner of a draw to raise funds for Paul Gallagher who was seriously injured in the Galway International Rally in January.

The stages as usual for West Cork are classics, and will run as follows;

S1 & S3 – Ballinascarthy
S2 & S4 – Clogagh
S5 & S7 – Ring
S6 & S8 – Dunworley

S9 & S11 – Sams Cross
S10 & S12 – Rossmore
S13 & S15 – Ardfield
S14 & S16 – Hayes’s Cross

Withdrawals to 08/03/09

Posted: March 9, 2009 12:42 PM

Withdrawals - Mainfield
8 Alan Ring
26 Trevor Bustard
29 Simon Kehoe
89 James Collins
98 Ed O'Neill
154 Michael Barrable

First reserve is car no 160 Andrew Leacy

Withdrawals from Reserve List:
164 - JJ Wall
167 - Francis Kelly
178 - Barry O'Keeffe

Marshal Meeting Points / Rally Programmes

Posted: March 6, 2009 10:45 AM

Details on:

Final Instructions / Time and Distance Schedule

Posted: March 5, 2009 11:28 AM

Slowly Sideways @ West Cork Rally 09

Posted: March 4, 2009 7:15 PM

Provisional Slowly Sideways Entry List

B1 Austin Rover Metro 6R4 Bernard Daly/Philip Doherty (Irl) B
1986 Development Car Pond Rothmans

B2 Triumph TR7 V8 John Anderson/Pamela Morrison (NI) B
1986 Circuit of Irl Llewellin Unipart

B3 Austin Rover Metro 6R4 David Smith/Paul Fitzpatrick (Irl) B
1986 RAC Eklund Clarion

B4 Lada VFTS Pat Horan/Noelle Horan (Irl) B
1983 Finland Ohu Works

B5 Ford Escort Mk1 Conor Falvey/Liam Buckley (Irl) 4
1974 British Chps. Coleman Thomas Motors

B6 Lancia Delta HF Paul Hillard/Linda Taylor (Irl) A
1988 Monte Carlo Biasion Martini

B7 Mazda RX7 Fintan Foley/Tuan Foley (Irl) B
1982 RAC Millen Works

B8 Opel Manta 400 Humphrey Deegan/TBA (Irl) B
1985 Circuit of Irl Fisher Shell Oils

B9 Ford RS200 Frank McPolin/Davy Armstrong (NI) B
1986 Circuit of Irl Works

B10 Talbot Lotus Sunbeam Kieran McAnallen/TBA (NI) B
1984 RAC

Quality Hotels West Cork Rally 2009 Press Release 2

Posted: March 2, 2009 5:02 PM

Entries have now closed and seeding has been completed for the 2009 Quality Hotels West Cork Rally which takes place on 14th & 15th March. The event which will be running for the 31st time has proved to be as popular with competitors as ever even in these recession hit times. 151 cars will start in the main field and the downside of the events popularity is that there are over thirty drivers on the reserve list. As always there is a large variety of machinery even within the top 10.

Top seeds are 2008 winners Donie O’Sullivan and Paul Nagle in the very exciting Proton S2000. This is the car which proved ultra competitive in the hands of Niall McShea on Rally Ireland recently. John Dalton & Gwynfor Jones are at 2 in their rapid Darrian T90 GTR and will be hoping for dry roads help them to go one better than last year when they finished second. Long time competitors Liam McCarthy and Kieran Murphy will have their Corolla WRC out again at number 3 and are still looking for their first West Cork win.

Jim Harrison and Harvey Bell are making their first appearance in West Cork since 2002 when they finished 3rd overall. This was their best result overall in the event to date. They will start at number 4 and will be Subaru WRC mounted this year. 2005 winner Denis Cronin with Helen O’Sullivan on the notes in their older model Subaru WRC are at five. Rapid Welshman Phil Collins is at 6 in his potent Mk2 Escort with Derek Brannigan co-driving as usual.

Numbers 7 & 8 sees the top GpN runners go head to head. Keith Cronin / Greg Shinnors and Alan Ring / Adrian Deasy should have a big battle for supremacy over St.Patricks Weekend, and neither will be far away from the podium at the finish. James Stafford and Frank Dwyer will also be hoping to repeat last years fine fourth place in their Darrian T90 GTR and they will start at 9. Rounding off the top 10 is Carrigalines Brian O’Mahony with John Higgins on the notes in their Renault Clio S1600.

Outside of the top ten, the modified entry continues to be strong with entries of the calibre of Adrian Heatherington, Ashley Field, Kevin O’Donoghue, Manus Kelly and Edward O’Callaghan to name but a few. Trevor Bustard is the leading Mitsubishi Evo Challenge entrant at 26; Marty McCormack leads the Citroen C2 challenge from number 34, while Damien McCarthy does likewise in the Honda Cup at number 36.

Denis and Dan Moynihan lead the Historic Challenge in their Escort Mk1. Their rally will begin on Saturday afternoon on Stage 5. Billy McCarthy & John Falvey are the top seeds for the Junior Rally which will cover stages 13 to 16 on Sunday afternoon.

For Accommodation and other Details see:

Posted: March 2, 2009 5:01 PM

Entry List

Posted: March 1, 2009 10:09 PM

Regulations available - Press Release 1

Posted: January 25, 2009 7:09 PM

Regulations for Cork Motor Clubs popular two day event, the Quality Hotels West Cork Rally are now available to download.
The rally will run for the 31st time on March 14th & 15th next and for the seventh year in succession the rally will be sponsored by the Quality Hotel Clonakilty.

The rally is synonymous with St.Patricks weekend and is a very social occasion which brings together competitors from Ireland, north and south, as well as Wales, England and Scotland. This is a mix which creates a special and unique atmosphere in Clonakilty and the surrounding area for that weekend. After eight years as clerk of the course Brian O’Connell has decided to step down and his place will be taken over by his assistant during that time, Darren McCarthy who also has experience of running the Cork Forest Rally these past few years.

Despite increased costs the club is pleased to announce that the entry fee is held at the 2008 price of €630 which is excellent value for 16 stages and 240km of competition mileage. Road mileage at 170km is again very low this year while service will be centralised as usual near Clonakilty.

As usual the rally is the first round of the Southern 4 Rally Championship, while this year sees the event being part of three other championships, rounds 1 & 2 of the Irish Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, rounds 1 & 2 of the C2 R2 Irish Cup as well as rounds 1 & 2 of the inaugural Honda Cup.

The Bones O’Connor Modified Challenge is back for a third year in 2009 where many crews will be bidding to take the crown from the 2007 & 2008 winner, John Dalton. This challenge incorporates cars from classes 9-15 (details on classes to be found on www.motorsportireland.com ) and has been very competitive in its first two years.

There will also be a Historic Rally which will begin on Stage 5 on day one; the cost of entry here is €530 while the Junior Rally will cover the last four stages of the event at a cost of €330. After the success of the scheme in 2008, junior competitors are also reminded that if they go marshalling on the Saturday stages then they will get a refund of €100 on their entry fee.

Regulations, Accommodation details and more on:

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