ALMC launch their 2012 Stages Rally
July 10, 2012 by Leo
It is only days away from the start of the ALMC Stages Rally which takes place on Sunday 15th July, with the stages set for a scintillating battle between some of the leading Irish and UK rally drivers and their latest specification rally cars. The rally which is a counting round of the 2012 REIS Get Connected UK Asphalt Championship and a round of the MERC Irish championship has attracted over ninety entries with a large number of UK crews bring a much needed and welcomed boost to the local economy. The WRC machines will feature 2010 winner of the rally and leader of the UK Championship Damian Cole in his Ford Focus WRC and John Stone who returns to the County Louth stages in his rebuilt Skoda Fabia WRC and hoping for better mechanical luck than his last outing on the island. Stephen Simpson in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12 will be out to take top honours as will the all Welsh crew of Melvyn Evans and Aled Davies in their S12B spec Impreza’s.
The event top ten is dominated by Subaru Impreza’s with other likely contenders for the overall crown in the form of James Belton with Mark Glennerster alongside on the notes in their Subaru S11 and Lee Vivian from the Channel Islands in his S9. Irish WRC entrant Thomas Fitzmaurice from Kerry in his Subaru Impreza S11 will be out to spoil the UK’s crew party in his quest for overall honours, Thomas has shown he is a force to be reckoned with on his previous outings in the car. PA Bellew and Andres Reid are sure to put on a spectacular display in their MII Ford Escort as are Joe and John Joe Connolly in their similar machine. The rear wheel Irish competitors will not have the stages to themselves with the UK represented by Richard Felgate and Mark Mason in their BMW M3 chasing them hard will be the always spectacular James Washington in his Darrian T90 GTR.
Class six will be hotly contested with club member and Meath driver Graeme Colfer in his Citroen C2R2 taking on AdrIan McElhinney in a similar machine along with the UK’s Callum Black in his DS3 R3 and Desi Henry lining out in his newly acquired DS3. A challenge in the class is sure to come from the Ford Puma driven by Adam Clews from Wales and Galway’s Justin Comer in his Honda Civic. This year’s rally has a centralised base at the City North Hotel and will once again feature the popular loop of three stages run three times with the stages located in Counties Meath and Louth, providing competitors with over 160km of competitive stages. The club are delighted to have the backing of three new stage sponsors, scrapmycar.ie, Devine Mechanical Repairs in Tullyallen and Niall Russell Engineering. Additional sponsorship and support for the new established Honda Cup comes from Carberry Sand & Gravel, with the prizes for the event sponsored by HomeFlair on main street Drogheda and ORT Transport.
This year’s event also features classes for Historic and Junior competitors with them competing on the six stages of the rally and there will be additional prizes on offer for the winner of the MkII challenge. Historic entries include club member Andy Hennessy with his regular codriver Peter Murphy alongside competing in their Hillman IMP which they brought home second in the historic class on this year’s Galway International rally. Roy Smith from Wales in the Porsche 911 will be out to challenge Andy for the win as will William Todd in his Morris Mini Copper, they will be joined by local driver Philip McKibbin in his Ford Cortina.
The junior entries for the rally include Kevin McLaughlin and Kieran McGinley making the journey from Donegal in their Honda Civic, alongside them will be Jill White and Paul Sheehan from Cork in a similar machine. The Longford crew of Barry and Sean Brady will also line out in the junior class in their Honda Civic with the only non-Honda in the juniors driven by Kevin Cole with Killian Joyce-Reilly out to impress in their Ford Escort.
Scrutiny takes place on Saturday afternoon in the industrial park at the City North Hotel and provides younger fans with a great opportunity to see the cars up close. The rally action kicks off on Sunday morning with the first car through the start ramp at the hotel just after 9am. Entries for the rally are still open and will remain so until Thursday 12th July, full details are available on the dedicated stages website www.almcstagesrally.com or via the club website at www.almc.ie where regulations are also available for download.