Cork 20 rally returns to its base in Little Island after three years

Cork 20 rally returns to its base in Little Island after three years
Title sponsor of the Cork "20" International Rally, Colin Byrne (left) pictured with (left to right): Brian McCarthy, Deputy Clerk of the Course, Carol O'Keeffe (Event Secretary), Paul Browne, Clerk of the Course and Neil Phelan (Acesigns). Picture: Martin Walsh.

THE Munster Car Club, organisers of the Cork “20” International Rally, are returning to the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa, Little Island for their rally headquarters after a lapse of three years.

This year’s event on September 28-29 next is the final round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the FIA Celtic Trophy and also counts towards the regional Southern 4 Rally series and the Suirway Group South East Rally Championship.

The event is one of the oldest rallies in Europe and derives its name from the fact that it was originally an event that spanned 20 hours. Clerk of the course, Paul Browne outlined the format of this year’s rally.

“On the Saturday we will have a later start than other years leaving parc ferme (at 10.30am) at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, will have two stages locations, Kilnamartyra that will be repeated three times and Lough Allua twice.”

The stage at Kilnamartyra was described by former nine times World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb as one of the best stages he has ever competed on when he won the rally in 2007.

“Then on the Sunday we will have eight stages — Mullaghanish (x2), Mushera (x3) and Butter Road (3) with the finish ramp celebrations at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa at 5pm.”

Meanwhile, the service park on both days is in GI in Macroom and the Munster Car Club are indebted to Seamus Geaney for such a fine facility.

“Yes, it’s terrific and Seamus also owns the facilities where we will scrutiny and the trailer park.”

The organisers of hopeful that newly crowned Irish Tarmac champions Craig Breen and his Killarney co-driver Paul Nagle will be able to compete, a few days after the event they will drive the Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC in Rally GB, a round of the World Rally Championship.

Close on 200 personnel — marshals and officials — will be involved in running the rally. Colin Byrne of title sponsor CB Toolhire said, “Last year we had a great headcount both at the start, service park and finish of the event in Macroom. We are planning to have entertainment for children at the service park on both Saturday and again on the Sunday of the rally.”

The event concludes the 2019 Irish Tarmac Championship, its chairperson, Carrigaline’s Frank O’Mahony, commented: “It was nice to see someone like Craig (Breen) coming back to his roots and doing the Irish Tarmac Championship.

“The very fact that he did the series shows he holds it in high esteem. He would be the first to admit that he didn’t run away with the championship and that goes to show how high the bar is set in the championship especially with four of five drivers able to challenge. Hopefully and even though he has won the championship, he will be able to compete in Cork 20.”

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