Cork trio look to Tipp event as preparation for the Cork ‘20’ Rally

Cork trio look to Tipp event as preparation for the Cork ‘20’ Rally

Ovens driver Owen Murphy will debut his new Citroen C3 on Sunday’s Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally in Clonmel. Picture: Martin Walsh.

THREE Cork drivers occupy top ten slots in Sunday’s Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally that is likely to see Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5) clinch the Triton Showers-backed Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship. 

However, for the Cork trio of Daniel Cronin, David Guest and Owen Murphy, who are seeded at numbers two, four and five respectively, the nine stage event is a shakedown for the O’Connell Group Cork ‘20’ International Rally that takes place over the August bank-holiday weekend.

Sunday’s outing in the Clonmel based rally has greater significance for both Dunmanway driver Guest and Ovens ace Murphy, who will debut their new cars.

Murphy, a double Irish Forest Rally champion, will take to the wheel of his recently acquired ex-Jonny Greer Citroen C3 while Guest, a former Group N Irish Tarmac champion will have the ex-Callum Devine Ford Fiesta Rally2 at his disposal.

It will be Murphy’s first time having a car that is on par with those performing at the top level of Irish rallying. 

Not surprisingly, he is looking forward to his debut outing. 

“It will be a test run, we probably won’t be making any big changes to the set-up, which is what was used for the West Cork Rally. 

"The result isn’t important this weekend, getting seat time is what it will be all about so we can push on for the Cork ‘20’ Rally.” 

On his decision to opt for the Citroen instead of a Ford Fiesta or other R5 marques, he added.

“We’ve been watching Johnny (Greer) put in some very strong results in a Citroen and it seems that the components allow for a lot more miles than other cars such as the Fiesta or the VW Polo. 

"Technology has moved on a lot in the last few years, the Fiesta R5 I had was a 2017 specification car, this is 2020 specification and it’s a Rally2 car.” 

Meanwhile, Guest moves on from his Ford Fiesta R5 to the Rally2 version and he too will be focussing on getting the right set-up for the Cork ‘20’ where he will be aiming to improve on his ninth-place finish last year. 

Daniel Cronin should benefit from set-up changes made to the VW Polo GTi that his older brother Keith campaigned to victory on the Jim Clark Rally earlier this season. 

The car has been changed back to tarmac specification following Keith’s second place finish in the Nicky Grist Rally in Wales last Saturday, that marked the first gravel event of this season’s British Rally Championship.

In Clonmel, Cronin is seeded just behind Josh Moffett, who has won all five rounds of the Triton series and will be eager to make it six from six to equal the record set by his older brother Sam when he won the national series in 2017. 

The Stonethrowers top ten also features Meath’s Tim McNulty (Ford Fiesta R5), Dubliner Gareth MacHale (VW Polo GTi R5), Maynooth’s Paul Barrett (Ford Fiesta R5), Dubliner Aaron MacHale (VW Polo GTi R5), Cavan’s Stephen McCann (Ford Fiesta R5) and Louth’s Brendan Cumiskey (VW Polo GTi R5).

Elsewhere, other Cork entries include Mallow native Sarah Purcell (Skoda Fabia R5) along with the Midleton trio of Daragh O'Riordan (Ford Fiesta S2000), Mark Dolphin and Kevin Dolphin, both in Ford Escorts and also utilising the rally as a Cork ‘20’ shakedown. Based at the Talbot Hotel, Clonmel, the first stage is scheduled to begin at 10.01am, servicing is at the Clonmel Racecourse and the finish at the Talbot Hotel, Clonmel is timed for 4.30pm.

Meanwhile, the Munster Car Club are gearing up for the O’Connell Group Cork ‘20’ International Rally in some two weeks time. 

The rally, based at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island, is the penultimate event in the Irish Tarmac Championship with Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20) leading the series - 27 points clear of Welsh ace Meirion Evans with Fermanagh’s Alastair Fisher five points further behind and six ahead of Derry’s Callum Devine, who won last year’s Cork ‘20’. 

Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin is fifth in the series even though he skipped both the Circuit of Ireland and the Donegal International. 

While Moffett holds many of the aces, the final round Ulster Rally carries double points.

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