MOTORSPORT: Dunlop title is up for grabs as five chase top honours

Donegal's Declan and Brian Boyle in their Subaru
Donegal's Declan and Brian Boyle in their Subaru

Five drivers can still win the Dunlop National Rally Championship that continues on Sunday next with the Carlton Shearwater Hotel Galway Summer Rally.

The nine stage rally, round six of the campaign will play a pivotal role in the destiny of the Vard Memorial Trophy. 

The organisers have attracted a capacity entry along with a reserve list that highlights the popularity of the Dunlop series that is based on the best six scores from eight events.

Top seed and last year’s winner in Galway, Hugh Hunter (Subaru) is one of the Dunlop title chasing quintet, he has already dropped two rounds and must score significant points in Ballinasloe to remain in contention.

It is a similar situation for defending Dunlop champion, Declan Boyle (Subaru WRC), who retired whilst leading the last round in Clonmel.  The Donegal driver can, provided he takes maximum points in county Galway and the events in Clare and Donegal, reach the 100 points tally and possibly win the title on what would be the lowest points total in the history of the Dunlop series. 

Of course there are numerous permutations at this point but it is likely that the title hopes of possibly one of the five will end on Sunday.

Tyrone’s Paddy McVeigh had his first non-finish of the season in Clonmel last time out and has lost the lead of the series to Welshman Steve Wood, they are seeded at three and four respectively.

Of the title chasing quintet, Clonmel’s Roy White could actually finish with a points total of 109, however, he is very much aware that this is not realistic and he has admitted he will be quite content to secure another top three finish in the series against the more powerful WRC brigade.

Antrim’s Derek McGarrity will compete in a Mini Cooper WRC, he was a regular in the Dunlop series a few years ago and it will be interesting to see how he will fare, like Darragh O’Riordan in the last round, McGarrity will run his car in Class 20. 

In Group N, Josh Moffett (Mitsubishi), who missed the last round but still heads the classification for the Motorsport Safety Group N award occupies the number eleven berth.  Opposition in Galway includes Shane Maguire, Neil Tohill and Pat Kirk.

Rally Headquarters is The Carlton Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe.