Trevor Mulligan set the best time of the day over the mile-long course that comprised the first Castle Automobile Club event of the year.
He was the best of the 49 competitors and set the 54.65 time on his fourth run over the special stage clerk of the course Gerry Reilly and his team selected three miles from the town on the Castlepollard road.
A wet, dull day greeted the competitors as they arrived for scrutiny on Sunday morning, but it cleared as the drivers tackled the familiarisation run and left the perfect conditions for maximum attack for the first timed run.
Oldcastle man Michael Curran was the quickest on 57:89, ahead of Alan Sheridan on 58:16 and Trevor Lancashire on 59:02, double driving Sheridan's Escort. Sheridan took the lead after the second run, Curran was second and Neill Doogan in the 2.4RWD Peugeot moved up to third. Sheridan was quickest again on the third run (56:54) as less than a second separated the top four going into the fourth run.
Mulligan went for it and set the fastest time of the day to secure the overall win, ahead of Martin Tracy, Trevor Lancaster, Alan Sheridan and Paul McEnroe.
Joe Smith was third in class six and 10th overall; Martin Brady was 15th overall and fifth in the same class. Adam Kinkade was 15th in class four and 42nd overall. See castleautomobileclub.com for the full results.
World Rally Championship driver Matthew Wilson heads the entry for the Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally at the Clonmel Park Hotel on Sunday, at the wheel of the new Ford Fiesta R2.
The rally is the seventh round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship and defending national rally champion Patrick Elliott with resume his battle with Niall Maguire. Elliott has 98 points thanks to victories in the Nenagh Rally, the Mayo Rally, the Circuit of Kerry and the Sligo Rally. On the Raven's Rock, he was third, but second in terms of Dunlop points, and he crashed out of the Circuit of Munster.
Maguire, who is seeking an unprecedented fourth title, has scored in all six rounds to date. He won the Circuit of Munster, netted maximum points on the Raven's Rock and took second place finishes on the other rounds and is 14 points ahead of Elliott.
Elliott can take a major step towards back to back titles if he wins over the nine-stage Clonmel event, though the nature of the stages (tight and twisty) compared to other rounds, would suit Maguire.
Kevin Barrett in another Subaru WRC starts fourth. This season the Maynooth driver has recorded several fastest stage times and is edging closer to gaining a first victory in a round of the national series.
Fermanagh driver Garry Jennings (Mitsubishi) is the top GpN seed and heads the chase for the Patterson's RallyNews GpN award. He took a major share of Dunlop points on the last round in Sligo, where he managed to depose long time leader of the category, Thomas Fitzmaurice. Kevin Kelleher and Eamonn Daly are also on the Tipperary entry, so Jennings will have a tough battle on his hands.
Former Irish and British S1600 champion Brian O'Mahony returns to Dunlop action this weekend. His Renault Clio now seems sorted and the Cork ace will be determined to gain points for the inaugural rally.ie award for two-wheel drive cars. O'Mahony is on form as he won the recent Kerry Rallysprint in a Metro 6R4.
The two-wheel drive category also features top seed Wilson and Andrew Bushe (Citroën Saxo) as well as Mike Quinn in his modified MkII Escort with Grainne Quinn calling the pacenotes.
Welsh ace Dave Weston (Jr), who competed in the Raven's Rock, is sampling another Irish event ahead of the Ulster Rally in a few weeks and his countryman Thomas Davies (Escort) is also journeying to Tipperary. James Travers (Clio), Andrew Hockridge and Marty McCormack, both in Citroën C2 R2s, add further spice to the two-wheel drive category.
The entry also features William Cavanagh (Escort), Andrew Fanning (Ford Puma), Eoin Woods (Escort), Paul Manton (Citroën), Mark Kane (Citroën), Michael Ormond (Honda Civic), Tom Sheehan (Nissan Micra), Benny Kennedy (Honda Civic), William Lawrence (Escort), Hans Mattia (Subaru), Barry O'Keeffe (Starlet) Ray Heaney (Toyota Corolla), Martin O'Keeffe (Opel Manta), Michael Halley, Colm Browne (Honda Civic), Liam Graham (Honda Civic), Kieran Hayes (Peugeot 205) and John Purcell (Peugeot 106).
• First Car Away: 08.45. Stage 1, 4 and 7: Deerpark (6.4km) 09.29; 12.14 and 14.59. Stage 2, 5 and 8: Castlereagh (13.5km) 09.59; 12.44 and 15.29. Stage 3, 6 and 9: Russelstown (15.50km) 10.32; 13.17 and 16.02. Service: Powerstown Racecourse, Clonmel: 11.10 and 13.55. Finish Ramp: Clonmel Park Hotel. 16.33.
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|Date:||Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 10:13:53 AM|