Tipperary Light Car and Motorcycle Club host an important round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship on Sunday next with the Clonmel based Sepam Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally set to play a crucial role in the destiny of the title.
The organisers, led by Clerk of the Course, John Ward, are promoting the sixth round of the eight round national series and all eyes will be focussed on the outcome of the event as title protagonists, Kerryâ€™s Thomas Fitzmaurice, Monaghanâ€™s Niall Maguire and Corkâ€™s Brian Oâ€™Mahony, all campaigning S11 Subaru WRCâ€™s, battle for maximum championship points.
The rally, based at the Clonmel Park Hotel, will feature a loop of three stages (repeated three times) at Ballyrichard, Mohober and Slievenamon with the cars and crews returning to the service park at the Clonmel Racecourse after stages three and six.
Along with its national status, the rally is also a counting round of the Triton Showers South East Rally Championship. The entry of almost 130 crews features several local drivers.
Clonmelâ€™s Roy White (MG S2000) is the highest seeded local driver, he occupies the number seven berth and currently leads Class 15 of the Dunlop series.
Cahirâ€™s Andrew Fanning in his Ford Puma, who also competes in the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship, will be hoping for success in Class 6. Cashelâ€™s Paul Manton (Citroen C2) competes in the same class. Clonmelâ€™s Michael Ormond (Honda Civic) is amongst the Class 3 entry while Willie Lawrence (Escort) battles in the very competitive Class 13. Other Clonmel entries include Tom Sheahan (Nissan Micra) and Kieran Hayes (Peugeot 206).
Meanwhile, in the context of the Dunlop National Rally Championship, all three title contenders have won events this season. Fitzmaurice won the opening round in Abbeyleix and also won his home event, the Circuit of Kerry. Maguire took the spoils in Mayo while Oâ€™Mahony notched up his first victory in a round of the Dunlop series on the Carlow Rally. All three were absentees on the last round, the Circuit of Munster Rally that was won by Group N leader, Colm Murphy (Subaru).
The rally will start from the Clonmel Park Hotel at 8.30am; the finish ramp celebrations are scheduled for 5.00pm at the Clonmel Park Hotel. Rally programmes with details of drivers, championships and stages are currently on sale at the usual outlets.