Sunday 25 February 2018

McNulty looking to boost title bid

MOTORSPORT

Declan Quigley

Tim McNulty turns his attention back to the Tarmac Series this weekend and the Topaz Donegal International Rally as the Meath man continues his bid for a unique title double in Irish rallying.

Top seed McNulty leads the Dunlop National Rally Championship after a perfect start to the year but a maiden Tarmac Championship victory is proving more problematical for the Subaru Impreza S12 driver.

Victory on all four rounds in the one-day Dunlop series means he's hot favourite to take a first national title, but in the multi-day Tarmac series he knows that only a win will do on the testing roads of Donegal.

With a capacity entry of more than 150 cars, and guaranteed crowd numbers to rival any sporting event on the island, victory in Donegal is always a career defining moment in itself and for McNulty a maiden win in the north west would get his title bid back on track.

failed

Partnered by Paul Kiely, McNulty took the first round of the Tarmac series in Galway before electing to miss round two, the Circuit of Ireland, as he managed his resources through a hectic month of rallying.

Engine trouble on round three in Killarney meant he failed to add to his total, but with none of the top 10 in the points standings scoring on the Rally of the Lakes, McNulty stays in contention heading to Letterkenny for Friday's start.

The winners of the first three rounds face off for the first time in Donegal, with McNulty, Circuit winner Derek McGarrity and Lakes victor Darragh O'Riordan all tied fourth on points behind early leader Kevin Barrett.

Former double Tarmac title-winner McGarrity has three times finished second in Donegal but the Glengormley man's hopes of a maiden win on one of Ireland's iconic events depend on successful repairs to his S11 Subaru Impreza after a recent crash by another driver.

O'Riordan's first international win in Killarney has propelled the Corkman into contention, while series leader Kevin Barrett will be hoping to put his experience to good use in steering an untroubled path through three days on the toughest stages in the country for cars and drivers.

Irish Independent

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