– Todds Leap.com Rally NI – 20 & 21 August 2010
– Irish and UK Evo Challenges combine for annual encounter.
– Neil McCance hoping to get title advantage back on track.
– Joint series leader Sam Moffett looking for second win in succession.
– Stanley Ballantine returns to series.
The Todds Leap.com Rally NI (or Ulster Rally as it’s generically known) is the one event of the year where the Irish Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge meets its UK equivalent. For teams contesting the Irish series, this is the sixth of eight rounds and for those contesting the UK-based series, it’s the fifth of six.
The first driver in the Irish Evo Challenge to leave the start in Antrim is one that ironically used to be a regular contender in the UK, current joint-series leader Neil McCance. He will be co-driven by Jonny Hart, who coincidentally used to partner the driver currently leading the UK series, Jonny Greer.
A non-finish last time out for McCance spoilt a 100% run as top points scorer and he hopes that with a good result this weekend, his task of wrapping up the title at the final two rounds in Wexford next month will be made far easier.
However, next to start are Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly who have been gathering pace all season and a win on the previous round, the ALMC Stages, has given them a significant boost in confidenc. The result also put Moffett equal first in the series with McCance and moved O’Reilly into a commanding position in the co-driver’s standings.
Third of the Irish Evo crews are Brendan Cumiskey/Conor Foley. Having borrowed an Evo IX for the last event whilst his own car was being repaired, Cumiskey is confident that being in familiar surroundings will help him get back the pace at the front of the Mitsubishi field.
The next Evo Challenge crew to leave the start are Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O’Callaghan. Having missed two rounds so far this season, they are further behind on points than anticipated, but hope to contest the remaining rounds and end their year on the podium once again.
Although there are a few notable absentees from the Irish Evo Challenge entry list, the Mitsubishi numbers are bolstered by the UK series also being part of the event. It will therefore be an interesting battle to see who comes out on top between the two, with UK contenders Jonny Greer and Alastair Fisher, together with Iclandic Rally Champion Daniel Sigurdarson, against the four Evo Challenge Ireland entries.
For the first time this season, the winner of the Evolution Challenge in each of the three countries it takes place, UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event, will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions.
The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Donnelly Group, James Foley Rallysport, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear, Pacenotes and PIAA lights – who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.
Evolution Challenge entries
12 Neil McCance (Comber)/Jonny Hart (Carryduff)
14 Sam Moffett (Monaghan)/ James O’Reilly (Monaghan)
16 Brendan Cumiskey (Dundalk)/Conor Foley (Ballinode)
32 Stanley Ballantine (Strabane)/Donnacha O’Callaghan (Mallow)
Series standings after round four
1= Neil McCance 44
1= Sam Moffett 44
3 Brendan Cumiskey 40
4 Geoff McMahon 22
5 John McGlaughlin 17
6 Stanley Ballantine 15
7 Willie Mavitty 5
1 James O’Reilly 44
2 Conor Foley 30
3 Jonny Hart 24
4 Rob Graham 22
5 Sean Ferris 20
6 Crawford Henderson 17
7 Donnacha O’Callaghan 15
8 Brian Daniels 5