Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland Title Fight Goes to Final Cork 20 Round
October 4, 2012 by Andrew Bushe
The sixth and final round of this season’s Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland series will be decided on the final Cork 20 International event this weekend. This important series with backing from Citroen Racing, Total, Pirelli and Charles Hurst, not only involves serious competition for the C2 R2 Max mounted crews, but serious prizes as well, with 29,000€ awarded to CRT Ireland crews so far this year. In fact there has been nothing as generous in Irish rallying history.
Series leader is Limerick’s Kevin O’Connor, and he needs a solid finish here to secure the crown. Kevin scored CRT Ireland victories this season on the opening West Cork round, on the Circuit of Ireland at Easter, and Donegal in June. He needs to finish fourth or higher on the final Cork 20 round to secure the additional 3000€ first prize in the championship. Kevin has already received some good news, as he has been confirmed the Junior Champion, thus winning the 10,000€ assistance from Citroen Racing and Pirelli Tyre support towards contesting the Rally du Var in France. “It’s fantastic to get this opportunity to compete in France” commented Kevin. “That will enable us to prepare properly, and even get the engine rebuilt.” Kevin’s three wins, and two second placing’s have netted him an impressive 12600€ of Citroen prize money to date. “Without that we simply could not have done what we did this season. There is no doubt that it adds an extra incentive to win as you are not just fighting for points. With the effort that Raymond and team put in with the PR, parts and the technical side, it is for me in my position the best championship in Ireland at present. As regards Cork this weekend, we really need to finish, and that is the big priority. Liam Ryan is going to give the car a thorough check and it’ll be a case of no heroics, just try and get a good clean run. We have a 99 point lead, when dropped scores are taken into account, but with stage points also on offer, we need to make sure we score a few points at least. It will be tough for sure just to keep it all together, and anything can happen in rallying.”
Westport driver David Carney still has an outside chance of the CRT Ireland title, and he has amassed 8800€ in Citroen Racing prize money this season from two wins, a second and third place finish to date. David has shown more speed this season, narrowly missing out on victory on the opening round in West Cork, and then taking two wins, one in Killarney and one on the recent Ulster International. With a good finishing record added to some good stage times, Kevin O’Connor needs to make sure he reaches the Silver Springs finish, or David could be there to take the prestigious CRT Ireland title. As ever Ray Fitzpatrick will be in the co-driver’s seat this weekend, and the car is currently undergoing preparation at John McKillop’s workshop. That brake problem which bugged the team earlier in the season is now long since behind them, and it’s all go for the Cork 20.” We have to go for it, come out with all guns blazing really” commented David. “The end of the first stage will tell a lot, to see where everyone is and we have to try and take maximum points. The Ulster was good, it really helped our confidence. The prize money throughout the year too has helped to keep the bills down this season! The car should be good, the brake issue was sorted, and it’s now really stopping, like throwing an anchor out the window now! Really we just have to go as hard as we can and see what happens.” Cork has been a good event for the 25 year old, as he won the CRT Ireland section on the event last year, and this weekend the pressure in on for the title.
Welsh driver Steve Wood looks assured of third place in the championship, and that alone will reward him with €1000. Steve has been very consistent throughout the year, and has continually narrowed the gap in performance to the leading bunch on each event. His car is run by former CRT Ireland champion Adrian McElhinney, who lies fifth in the series.
A welcome returnee to the series this weekend is Cork’s Kieran Daly. Kieran who led in Killarney and was second in Donegal, is looking forward to the weekend, and could well take points away from the title aspirants. “I’m out for fun this weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve been out, so I’ll have to play myself in and drive at a speed that I feel comfortable with. If we are doing ok on Saturday night, hopefully we can push on Sunday on the stages in the Mallow area, as I think these would suit me better. At the moment I’m just looking forward to getting out, as I’ve been busy doing other things the past few months.” Indeed Kieran, a former kart champion, has been running a successful kart team, which has just lifted the four major kart championships in Ireland this season.
With €5800 available between the top three crews this weekend in Cork, the 1600cc Citroen C2 R2 Max’s will be singing along at full pace right until the final special stage, and on Sunday afternoon we will know who is the new champion for 2012, in what will be the last round to feature the ultra- successful C2 R2 Max’s.
For more information on the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland check out www.citroenracingtrophy.com
You can follow on Twitter @CRtrophy and Facebook www.facebook.com/citroenracngtrophy or contact: Raymond Moore on 00 44 (0) 28 90 384981/ e-mail email@example.com