NEXT week’s Quality Hotel West Cork Rally is set to have a capacity entry and as always the local contingent, that will have a strong representation, will be the focus of much attention.
For Clonakilty’s Cal McCarthy (Citroen C2R2) it’s likely to be his only tarmac rally of the season.
‘My plan this year is to contest the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship,’ he told The Southern Star.
He enjoyed some good fortune last week with the postponement of the Limerick Forest Rally.
‘That worked in my favour as the engine wasn’t and still isn’t back. It was away for a routine build but the engine builder had a few extra bits to do to it.’
The Limerick event is set to take place the Sunday after the West Cork. For both events Cal will be co-driven by Cork city-based co-driver Derek O’Brien, who previously called the notes for Durrus driver Ray O’Sullivan.
‘My usual co-driver Eamonn Dullea is taking a break this year as he’s in the process of building a house so Derek will sit with me instead,’ McCarthy explained.
His best-ever result in his home event was in 2014 when he finished eighth overall on board a Honda Civic. As to how his current car compares, he said, ‘Of course I miss the power but the Citroen is much better in terms of handling, braking and reliability.’
Backed by Carbery Plastics and the Quality Hotel, McCarthy will have another West Cork driver that should provide stern opposition as Baltimore’s Stephen Carey (Fiesta R2) is competing in the same category and he will be co-driven by Skibbereen’s Nicole Roycroft.
On Monday, Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin confirmed that he has entered and will debut a recently acquired Ford Fiesta R5, he is likely to the top seeded local driver while Dunmanway’s David Guest (Mitsubishi) should be the leading Group N driver.
Meanwhile, Bandon’s Vincent McSweeney makes a switch from a Honda Civic to a Mitsubishi EvoVII and both Rossmore’s Vinny Bennett and Murragh’s Andrew Mahon will hire Mk 2 Ford Escorts.
Elsewhere, Ardgehane’s Damien McCarthy (Ford Puma) and Steve Roberts (Ford Escort), Clonakilty’s David Jennings (Escort), Dunmanway’s Conor McCarthy (Mitsubishi), Rosscarbery’s Jason O’Mahony (Escort), who will have his brother Jonathan as co-driver and another Rosscarbery driver Brian O’Mahony (Honda Civic), are just some of the many locals competing.
Next week’s Southern Star will have a full preview of the event.