Tralee co-driver Hegarty to contest Irish Tarmac Rally Championship
KERRY Motor Club co-driver Sean Hegarty is to take on his biggest rally challenge yet as he prepares to contest the full Dance to Tipperary Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
The six-round international rally series takes in major two-day events in all corners of the country including the Rally of the Lakes in May as well as the Donegal International and the Cork 20.
Hegarty, from Tralee, will contest the championship for the first time alongside Limerick driver Keith Lyons in a newly acquired Ford Fiesta R5. The pair are the current Class R2 Top Part West Coast champions and are relishing the chance to compete on some of Ireland’s biggest rallies.
Four of the six are new to the crew and they will face British championship competition for the first time on the Ulster International in August.
Lyons, whose father Ken is a former Circuit of Kerry winner, said: “I witnessed my father compete from an early age, so the die was cast many years ago. I am under no illusions, this year will be a steep learning curve. Stepping from a Ford Fiesta R2 into an R5 Fiesta will be a great challenge, for both the team and me.”
Their first rally in the new car will be the West Cork Rally in Clonakilty on St Patrick’s weekend.
Round two of the World Rally Championship takes place this weekend in Sweden where Paul Nagle’s Citroen Racing Team will be hoping for better fortune than their 12th position last year. The squad conducted an extensive four-day test last week in efforts to iron out last year’s suspension issues.
The C3 was impossible to drive on the snow and ice-covered roads near Torsby where the WRC’s only proper winter rally takes place and resulted in the off-road excursion on the Vargasen stage which ultimately led to the bad result one year ago.
The Top Part West Coast Championship kicks off this Sunday with the Nenagh Stages in County Tipperary where several local crews are in action.
A fleet of Ford Escort Mk2 will be driven by Ger O’Brien / Sean Liston (Abbeydorney); Eoin Duffin / Mike Cleary (Kilflynn); Vincent O’Shea / James Lowry (Kenmare) and Mike Quinn / Tony Healy (Lyrecrompane).
Tralee team Darren Young / Sean Walsh wheel out their trusty Honda Civic while Killarney’s Kevin O’Donoghue / David Randles compete in a BMW M3.