With the backdrop of rolling hills, drumlins and lakes, tomorrow's Monaghan stage of the Dunlop National Rally Championship is shaping up to be a highly competitive event.
The second round of the series will be based at the Hillgrove Hotel and will be led away by last year's event winner and Monaghan native, Daniel McKenna, the current holder of the Billy Coleman Young Driver of the Year award.
The leader of the championship, Donegal's Declan Boyle, who drives a Subaru WRC, is seeded No 2 and will be keen to add to his opening-round victory in Abbeyleix.
Boyle crashed out of the lead on the recent Circuit of Kerry due to a malfunctioning wiper, but his car has been repaired in time for this event.
"It's not nice going off and the way that it happened with the wipers! However this was the perfect way to do it as we got away with only panel damage," Boyle said. "I don't think the incident will affect us in Monaghan, we will drive as hard as we can and hopefully we won't be too far away."
Boyle reckons the event is quite open and he certainly is not underestimating any of the opposition. He believes local ace, former event winner and triple national champion Niall Maguire will set the early pace.
Another driver to keep an eye out for and fresh from his Circuit of Kerry victory is Donegal's Donagh Kelly (Subaru WRC), who will be hoping to open his 2013 Dunlop account in strong fashion while the presence of reigning Tarmac champion Darren Gass (Subaru WRC) is likely to crank up the pace over the loop of three stages near Monaghan town.
Brothers Sam and Josh Moffett will do battle in class N. Sam, a former Billy Coleman Award winner, won the category in Abbeyleix, edging out Josh, who was the first bi-monthly nominee for the 2013 Billy Coleman award. Both were in action in the Willie Loughman Forest Rally in Waterford on Sunday last, with Sam finishing sixth overall and second in class while Josh slid out on the seventh stage while holding a fine fourth overall. There will be no love lost this weekend as both vie for line honours.