Motorsport: Star attraction Barrable eager to turn Cork heads
British Rally Championship contender Robert Barrable is the star turn at the Quality Hotels West Cork Rally this weekend where he will give an Irish debut to his recently acquired Skoda Fabia S2000.
The 2010 Billy Coleman award winner will use the two-day event in Clonakilty, dubbed by some as the top clubman rally in the country, as the perfect test for the second round of the British series, the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales in just over two weeks' time.
Barrable, partnered by Damien Connolly, finished seventh first time out in the Sunseeker Rally in February and will be eager to use his British experience with the ex-Jan Kopecky, IRC event-winning machine to good effect in Cork this weekend.
Top seeds John Dalton and Gwynfor Jones from Wales will be hoping for dry conditions in their Darrian T90 GTR having finished in the top three for the past three years.
However, they will be hard pressed to hold off the Subaru Impreza WRC S12C of Daragh O'Riordan and Tony McDaid, assuming the latter duo can quickly come to terms with their newly acquired car.
Kevin Kelleher and Gerard Seaman at number three will be hoping for better reliability than of late from their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 as they go in search of victory in their home event.
Cork Motor Club have bucked the recent trend in attracting over 200 competitors to Clonakilty, with over 150 in the main field and the rest divided between the Historic and Junior events.
Elsewhere, Steven Ferguson and Robin Lyons resume their battle for the Hewison Autotest Championship in the penultimate round of the series at Clonminam Industrial Estate, Portlaoise, with Ferguson holding the points lead.
Carlow Car Club venture to Connacht to run a Sprint at the Pallas Kart Track in Tynagh, Galway on Sunday.
Further afield, Patrick McKenna got his pre-season test programme in the Star Mazda Championship off to an excellent start by posting third fastest time for GDT Motorsports in the official series test at Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama.
Buoyed by that performance, Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year McKenna will be looking forward to his first event in the important Road to Indy feeder series on the streets of St Petersburg, Florida, on Friday week.