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• Todds Leap.com Rally NI – 20 & 21 August 2010
• UK & Irish Evo Challenges Combine for annual encounter
• Jonny Greer aims to get closer to title on home ground
• Alastair Fisher looking for second win of the season

The Todds Leap.com Rally NI (or Ulster Rally as it’s generically known) is the one event of the year where the UK Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge meets its Irish equivalent. For teams contesting the UK series, which follows the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, this is the fifth of six rounds this season and, for those contesting the Irish-based Mitsubishi series, it’s the sixth of eight.

First of the Evolution Challenge competitors to leave the start in Antrim will be Alastair Fisher and co-driver Rory Kennedy. They are also seeded third overall and, if they can maintain the pace they have shown on asphalt in the two previous rounds and make it to the finish, they not only stand a chance of recording their second Mitsubishi win of the season, but also claim their first outright British Championship victory.

However, their season of mixed fortunes has meant they have only scored on one round so far, the Jim Clark Rally and it’s another Ulsterman Jonny Greer who has secured the highest number of wins, taking the Evo Challenge honours on three occasions so far. This has given Greer a significant lead in the Mitsubishi series and he now lies 26 points ahead of his nearest rival, Daniel Sigurdarson.

Therefore, with 20 points for a win and one-and-a-half times the points for the final round in Yorkshire – plus Sigurdarson has already dropped one score (competitors counting five of the season’s six events) – Greer will still not be able to wrap-up the title this weekend. Having missed the previous round on the Isle of Man, which heralded Greer’s third Evo Challenge victory of the season, Dai Roberts returns to the co-driver’s seat for this event.

Sigurdarson will again be partnered by his sister Asta Sigurdardottir. The pair of them make a welcome return to the UK having contested the biggest rally of the year in their native Iceland last weekend and, if it had not been for a series of mechanical problems which forced them into second place, they would have easily won the event.

The Rally NI gets underway from Antrim town centre at 13.15 on Friday and features six stages on closed public roads before the overnight halt. The event restarts at 06.30 on Saturday morning and comprises a further eight stages, with the finish at the busy Junction One Shopping Centre scheduled at 15.35.

The leading trio of UK Mitsubishi competitors will battle it out with four of thier Irish counterparts: Neil McCance (formally a regular UK entry)/Jonny Hart, Brendan Cumiskey/Conor Foley, Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly and Stanley Ballantine/Donnacha O’Callaghan.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights – who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers. The series was supported on the Isle of Man by the Mylchreest Group.

For the first time this season the winner of the Evolution Challenge in the 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. Added to this, the winning driver in the UK will be a guaranteed nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out.

Series standings

Drivers
1  Jonny Greer 78
2  Daniel Sigurdarson 52
3  Alastair Fisher 20
4  Euan Thorburn 18
5= David Bogie 16
5= Owen Murphy 16
7  Peter Horsey 15

Co-drivers
1  Dai Roberts 58
2  Asta Sigurdardottir 52
3  Rory Kennedy 20
4  Paul Beaton 18
5= Kevin Rae 16
5= James O’Brien 16

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