What's the news?
Announced in December in the wake of the cancellation of the Galway International Rally, the Herospec Irish Rallysprint of Champions takes place at Mondello Park this coming weekend. As we revealed a few weeks back, Saturday's action will follow the format of a traditional rallysprint-type event, with the winners going ahead into Sunday's head-to-head battles.
Much interest had been expressed in the event from various parties, but over the last couple of days the entry list has really started to fill up. Former Irish Tarmac champions Garry Jennings and Declan Boyle have committed to competing in their respective World Rally Cars, and the ferociously quick Corkman Barry Meade is bringing his Ford Escort Mk2 out to play.
Other notable names include Tipperary's Liam Ryan in an ex-Austin McHale Toyota Corolla WRC, and Tristan Bailey in a very rare Mitsubishi Lancer WRC, a car that almost makes the trip to Mondello worthwhile on its own...
So far, around 70 drivers are scheduled to start on Saturday morning, though entries remain open, and anyone looking to do so should contact Mondello Park directly. Unusually for a rallysprint-type event, Killian Duffy's Onthepacenote.com concern will be selling pacenotes for any competitors that want them, though with the long and varied nature of each run, it's not hard to see how they could prove useful.
Timecards will be used in order to minimise delays ahead of runs, with a dedicated warm-up area set aside to ensure brakes, tyres and everything else are sufficiently up to temperature prior to battle. Each driver should get at least four runs over Saturday's 7km test, with up to six runs possible if there are no serious delays throughout the day.
With one-day licences available for people wishing to bring friends, family or sponsors along for a spin, and all the action concentrated within the confines of Mondello Park, it's sure to provide a very different and very exciting opener to the 2018 Irish rally season.