National Rally Championship returns with Tipperary showdown
August 10, 2012 by Motorsport Ireland
The Dunlop National Rally Championship returns to action this weekend after a break of two months with the Stonethrowers Rally in Tipperary the sixth event of the season.
Thomas Fitzmaurice, the championship leader, didn’t compete in the last round in Limerick and neither did his two closest rivals, Brian O’Mahony and Niall Maguire. All three drivers will be looking to get back on track this weekend in the race for the Vard Trophy.
Fitzmaurice set the Championship alight at the start of the season with two wins in the first three races but since then Maguire and O’Mahony have steadily reeled in the Kerry man and this weekend both will be looking to outscore him with just three events left.
Maguire, the three time National Rally Championship winner, trails Fitzmaurice by four points in the Championship standings with O’Mahony a further 12 points behind. Monaghan driver has tasted victory in Mayo this year but his consistent form finishing third in Kerry, Birr and Carlow has meant he kept pace at the top of the Leaderboard.
Cork’s Brian O’Mahony will need to score highly in Tipperary. The Subaru driver failed to reach the finish line in Mayo and despite victory in Carlow and two second place finishes he needs to ensure he gets at least a top two finish this weekend to keep his Championship hopes alive.
The three Subaru’s will lead the field but Kevin Barrett, who will also be in a Subaru, may have some say in the final standings, despite the fact his Championship ambitions are over for this year having failed to finish in Kerry and Carlow.
In the Group N, the fight again may be between Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year Sam Moffett and his brother Josh, who will both be in Mitsubishi Evo 9’s although current National Championship Group N leader Colm Murphy will certainly be in contention.
The Stonethrowers Rally, which has over 100 entries, will take place this Sunday with the first car off at 8.30am. The event will take place over nine stages across the day finishing at 6pm. For more information on the event log on to www.TipperaryMotorClub.com or www.MotorsportIreland.com