Wednesday 22 November 2017

Machale brothers in battle for irish tarmac supremacy

Declan Quigley

Motorsport: Gareth MacHale heads the list of no less than four drivers in contention for the Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship at the final event this weekend.

MacHale, his brother Aaron, Alastair Fisher and Craig Breen are separated by 13 points heading into the Cork 20 International Rally on Saturday and, with 24 points on offer for a win this weekend rather than the usual 16, the most exciting finale in years is in prospect.

As last year's winner in Cork, series leader Gareth MacHale, will be first off the start ramp for the sixth and final event of the season, partnered by Brian Murphy in their Ford Focus WRC, as he chases his first Tarmac Series title.

His brother Aaron lies third in the standings, seven points behind Gareth, as they vie to emulate their father Austin, who won a record five titles in the '80s and '90s.

Between them on the points list is Fisher, whose remarkable season in the British Rally Championship and the Tarmac Series with his Group N Mitsubishi could produce a title if he can overhaul his four-point deficit to Gareth MacHale at the weekend.

The fourth title contender heading to the Munster Car Club-run event is up-and-coming star Craig Breen, who has campaigned his latest specification Ford Fiesta S2000 on many fronts this year.

Breen is 13 points off the series lead and will be hoping to marry the speed that produced two fastest stage times on the British Rally Championship finale last weekend with sometimes elusive reliability and consistency.

The title contenders are joined by a strong list of competitors, including Subaru drivers Tim McNulty, Darren Gass and Denis Cronin, who are seeded second, third and fifth respectively.

Further afield, Patrick McKenna has an outside chance of scooping the $350,000 scholarship fund for the winner of the US F2000 series, concluding with two races at Road Atlanta tomorrow and Friday.

McKenna lies 55 points behind Sage Karam with a maximum of 66 points on offer this week, McKenna remains focused on the prize.

Meanwhile, John Norris from Celbridge is joint fourth in the CIK World U-18 Karting Championship --16 points off the lead of Jake Dennis -- with 25 points on offer heading into the final round in Val d'Argenton in France this weekend.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport