Round 6, the final round of the Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland series takes place this weekend at the Cork 20 International rally organised by Munster Car Club. Three crews will compete over the 140 km’s of the tricky Southern Ireland lanes. With the championship already wrapped up by Craig Breen (18) from Waterford and navigator Gareth Roberts on the previous round of the series, it allows a different crew to take the overall last victory of the year.
The first of the three crews competing is that of Shane Buckley (24) from Ballyhaunis and navigator Thomas Maguire. Buckley currently lies third overall in the series just three points behind second. Buckley has had a great first season after moving from the navigators seat into the driving seat. With his best finish to date a second overall on the Donegal International Rally he will be hoping to score his first overall in the series and take the overall runner up spot in the series. Navigator Maguire is also looking to try and secure second overall in the championship, however Buckley has recently sold his car and is currently looking to try and hire a car for the event to ensure he can take part.
The second of the crews at the event is Robbie Barrable (21) from Dublin and navigator Dermot O Gorman. Barrable again was a newcomer to the series at the start of the year, and after two non-point scoring rounds on the first two events of the season, two third place finishes and a second place finish has left him fourth overall in the standings. Barrable can still claim second in the series depending on how the other two FST competitors finish during the event.
The final of the registered FST crews competing is that of Mark Donnelly (17) from Omagh and navigator Paddy Robinson. Donnelly has shown excellent pace considering his age, and has managed to lead a number of FST Ireland events during the year, but after striking some unfortunate problems his highest finish of the year so far has been his consecutive second places on the second and third rounds of the series. Donnelly will hope to be able to claim his first victory at the event and currently lies second overall in the series, a position he will not want to lose. Navigator Robinson is also fighting for second overall in the rankings and knows how important a good finish for the pairing is.
With the competitors all fighting for the final prize fund of the series totalling almost €3000 the competition will be as close as ever. If all crews are to finish they are guaranteed a winners cheque.
Second placed competitor in the series, Mark Donnelly said:
“I am really looking forward to getting back out on the tarmac. It’s the last round of the FST this year and I hope that I can push for my first win, although Robbie [Barrable] and Shane [Buckley] will be tough competition! It should be an exciting event.
2009 Championship Standings after Round 5
Pos Driver Points
1 Craig Breen / Gareth Roberts **DRIVER CHAMPION** 145
2 Mark Donnelly / Paddy Robinson 86
3 Shane Buckley / Thomas Maguire 83
4 Robbie Barrable / Seamus O’Grady 69
5 Paul Quinn / Sorcha Kelly 60
6 Stephen Wright / Susanne Wright 40
7 Liam Regan / Billy McCullins 34
8 Garrett Loughran / Philip Loughran 33
9 Alastair Fisher / Barry McNulty 30
10 Mark Donnelly / Eugene O’Kane 20
11 Kyle Orr / Dai Roberts 18
12 Declan Leonard / Dara Leonard 16
13 Neil Coalter / Hannah Cessford 15
14 Stevie Brown / Andrew Roughead 14
15 Desi Henry / John Rowan 13
16 Matt Edwards / Rob Fagg 0
17 Kris Hall / Robbie Durant 0
2009 Championship Calendar
16-18 January Galway International Rally
10-12 April C.O.I International
1-3 May Killarney Rally of the Lakes
19-21 June Donegal International Rally
21-22 August Ulster International Rally
3-4 October Cork ’20’ International Rally