ENTRIES for the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which will take place on August 23 and 24, are starting to flood in ahead of the event’s debut in Fermanagh and Tyrone.
A host of British, Irish and Northern Irish Rally Championship competitors have already put their names down to tackle the challenging stages in Fermanagh and Tyrone, which will provide plenty of excitement for the fans who are sure to flock to the area in droves to cheer on their favourites, including some crews who have travelled from as far away as Finland and Australia.
The cream of Irish rallying is expected to be joined by a large local contingent on the Ulster Rally, including Monaghan’s Sam Moffitt who will wheel out the Donegal Rally winning Subaru Impreza S14 and Donegal’s Donagh Kelly in the Ford Focus.
Representing the home county will be Kesh’s Garry Jennings, a real crowd favourite and current leader of the Irish Tarmac Championship in his Impreza. 2012 Ulster Rally winner Darren Gass is also expected to defend his crown and when you add Ulster regular Derek McGarrity to the list a great battle is in store over the rally weekend.
There will also be a host of local drivers in action in Rally NI, with top British Rally Championships (BRC) competitors from the Province including Omagh’s Pirelli Star Driver, Mark Donnelly; Portglenone’s Desi Henry; Kesh teenager, Jon Armstrong; Enniskillen’s Timothy Cathcart and Carryduff’s Jonny Greer expected to be amongst the lead runners during Rally NI.
Finland’s Jukka Korhonen currently leads the BRC from Alistair Fisher, with Tom Cave in third. Recent Scottish Rally winner Fisher has a clashing World Rally Championship event in Germany on the same weekend, but with the Scottish win moving him into contention for the British Championship title there is still a small chance that the Citroen DS3 driver may yet make the starting list in Enniskillen.
The Ulster Historic Rally already has a list of classic cars sure to put a smile on the faces of car fans, with Porsche’s, Hillman’s, Sunbeam’s, BMW’s and the always popular Escorts already confirmed to display their own particular brand of spectacular stage craft over the weekend of the event. Past category winners, and former British Historic Champions David Stokes (Escort MkII) and Dessie Nutt (Porsche 911) where some of the first crews to sign up for the event and as always, the Historic event is just as popular as ever.
The Ulster National Rally always attracts a wide selection of cars and this year’s event will be no different, from the 1400cc machines right up to the modern WRC cars.
With current NI Rally Championship leader Derek McGarrity expected to chase after Irish Championship points in the main event, Mini WRC driver Derek McGeehan has an ideal opportunity to close the point’s gap over the weekend as does third placed man Kevin Barrett in his Impreza WRC.
The Ulster Challenge Rally, a support event to the British Rally Championship rounds off the high octane weekend and includes some of the stars of the future so make sure you check them out during the event.
Spectators will have the chance to get up close and personal with the drivers, the cars and the action this year as organisers have designed a Spectator Special Stage at St Angelo Airfield, just outside Enniskillen, which will provide drivers with the chance to impress their fans at close quarters.
Overall, a thrilling weekend of rally action is sure to be witnessed in just four weeks’ time at the 2013 Todds Leap Ulster Rally, which will get underway with a ceremonial start in Enniskillen on August 23.
The early closing date for entries is fast approaching, so if you are a competitor and you want to avoid a late entry charge, log on to the Competitor’s page on the event website and get your entry in before Wednesday, July 31.The final closing date for entries is Wednesday, August 7.
To keep up-to-date with the build-up to the event, visit the newly designed website – www.ulsterrally.com, ‘Like’ their Facebook page (Ulster Rally) and follow it on Twitter.