After the long winter break, competitors are revving up to get another action-packed season underway and the Safety Direct Galway International Rally will kick-start the 2011 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship this weekend.
This year's series has again received backing from Tourism Ireland, for the production and distribution of television coverage. The continuing support from Tourism Ireland ensures that each round of the series will be televised across Europe and beyond through RPM's excellent coverage of the series.
Championship Manager, Don Wilmont, said: "We are extremely grateful for the continued support from Tourism Ireland. Without their backing, we wouldn't be able to showcase Ireland's premier rally championship and the character of the island on television sets across the world."
The opening round in Galway sees Tim McNulty and Paul Kiely start the event as the number one seeds. They will pilot their Subaru Impreza WRC, while number two seeds Kevin Barrett and Sean Mullally will also use an Impreza WRC.
Former champion Derek McGarrity has made the switch to Group N, and he is at number three with his production category Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. If McGarrity can recapture his former Championship winning pace, then he will give the WRC runners a close battle for overall honours this year.
McGarrity starts ahead of fellow Group N contenders, Alan Ring and Adrian Deasy, with Aidan Bourke and John Kinahan completing a trio of Mitsubishi Lancers.
Galway is also set to give the Irish Tarmac Historic Championship a boost. Almost 20 historic crews have entered the event, and they will run at the head of the field on the Sunday stages.
Competitors will also be fighting tooth and nail in the excellent Modified Trophy category, which includes an array of crowd pleasing rear-wheel-drive rally cars.
The action gets underway this Saturday morning when the first of nine stages starts shortly after 9.10am. Crews return to the overnight halt in Oranmore later that evening, before the battles resume on Sunday morning for another six stages. The winners will be crowned at the Oranmore finish ramp on Sunday afternoon.
Posted: January 29, 2011 8:02 AM
Marshals are needed for the Safety Direct Galway International Rally
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Friday 4th February 2:00pm : Scrutiny at Oran Precast, Oranmore, Galway.
Friday 4th February 7.30pm : Ceremonial Start in Oranmore town centre
Saturday 5th February 9.00am: 9 Special Stages in east Galway.
Sunday 6th February 9.00am: 6 Special Stages in Headford area.
Sunday 6th February 4.00pm: Finish at Oranmore Town centre
“All Go” for the 2011 Safety Direct Galway International Rally!
Posted: January 25, 2011 10:12 AM
Alan Fair (Safety Direct) and Gary Leonard (COC)
Photo: Reg Gordan
The Safety Direct Galway International Rally is the biggest annual event taking place in the West of Ireland during the winter months. The event brings a breath of fresh air to the county in the early months of the year and kick starts the tourism season in late January and early February as thousands of spectators and rally teams make their annual trip to Galway. The event will be Round 1 of the 2011 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The championship was won last year by Dubliner Gareth MacHale in a Focus World Rally Car.
Galway Motor Club’s preparations are progressing at a frantic pace and Clerk of the Course, Gary Leonard, reports a steady flow of early entries for both the International and the Historic sections. Entries have been received from as far afield as America. Approximately 80 cars are expected to start the event.
The village of Oranmore, on the outskirts of Galway city, will be alive for the rally weekend with a free family Rally Festival. The Ceremonial Start will take place in the heart of the village on Friday 4th February at 7.30pm with music on the stage by All-Ireland Talent Show finalists “Jacks Angels” and Friends from 6.00pm.
Headquarters for the event is the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit, Galway. The rally Service Park for the following two days, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of February, will be in the Oran Precast premises on the outskirts of Galway where the cars and teams will be based. Sunday evening will see the winning crews return to Oranmore for the Finish ceremony from approximately 4.00pm when Jacks Angels will again provide entertainment. Admission to all events is free and there will be free face painting at both the start and finish ceremonies – free family entertainment and the opportunity for photos and autographs.
Top entrants to date include Tim McNulty, Gary Jennings and Kevin Barrett in Subaru World Rally Car’s and Derek McGarrity in a Mitsubushi Evo X. Leading Historic Rally entrants include Mervyn Johnston and Ray Cunningham in Mini Cooper’s, James Sutherland in a Porsche 911 and Seamus Burke in an Escort RS1800. Many crews, including top seeded drivers such as Eugene Donnelly, the MacHale brothers and others, are finding that it is taking longer than usual to tie down their sponsorship requirements and they have requested that entries remain open until closer to the event. In order to facilitate competitors, entries will be accepted until Wednesday 2nd February.
2011 will be the 40th anniversary of the first ever Galway International Rally which took place in 1971. This year is also the 21st Anniversary of the Galway Historic Rally. To honour the occasion, Galway Motor Club intends to highlight the historical aspect of their event in 2011 by running the Historic Rally cars ahead of the main field on selected stages of the event.
Rally Programmes will be on sale from 1st February at various outlets. Details of the outlets will be provided on the rally website shortly.
The rally will receive extensive TV coverage on UTV, Setanta and Motors TV in the weeks following the event. Two 30 minute programmes are being filmed. Programme times will be available on the website also.
Strong Early Entry for forthcoming 2011 Safety Direct Galway International Rally!
Posted: January 18, 2011 12:52 PM
Even with three weeks to go before the 40th Anniversary Galway Rally, entries are filling up nicely for both the International and Historic rallies. Clerk of the Course Gary Leonard is pleased with the response in the first full week of applications for Round 1 of 2011 Tarmac Rally Championship which takes place on the 5th and 6th February next.
Many top Irish drivers have been impressed with the latest Mitsubishi Evo X following tests last month, and the first such entry has been received from 2010 Circuit of Ireland and Ulster winner Derek McGarrity. He will be joined in the strong Group N entry by, among others, 2008 Billy Coleman Award winner Ross Forde, Alan Ring, Sam Moffett, Martin Donnelly, Aidan Bourke and Tom White all in Evo 9s.
The WRC entry, even at this early stage, is surprisingly strong with Tim McNulty and Kevin Barrett being the early Subaru entries to take on 2010 Tarmac Champion Gareth Mac Hale and further variety coming in the form of Liam Egan in a Corolla WRC, Daragh O Riordan with his Subaru WRC and awaited confirmation of an entry from Eugene Donnelly in a Focus WRC.
Galway Motor Club has always been to the fore in relation to Historic Rallying and 2011 is the 21st running of their Historic Rally. To mark the occasion the Historic rally will run ahead of the main field on selected stages and will run in reverse seeded order. The prospect of added spectator interest and additional TV and media coverage has attracted over 20 early entries so far. Joining Tarmac Historic Champion Ray Cunningham will be former champion Mervyn Johnston , both in Mini Cooper S’ and top Mark 2 Escort drivers from America, Vincent Frontaine and Frank Cunningham. Mixing it with the many Escorts will be the Porsche 928 of Alan Courtney. Former winner Jimmy McRae, presently in Australia on holidays, is planning to enter in an Mk2. The event may also see the return to the Galway stages of the former Frank Meagher Escort with the famous Galway registration 2223 IM. Seamus Burke – RS 1800 - will have Martin Brady in the co-driver’s seat, fresh from the Monte Carlo rally.
So far there has been strong interest in the Honda Challenge with 15 entries in the first full week of registrations including Alan Fair in the Safety Direct sponsored car.
Junior Rally entrants are reminded that they are being offered all 6 of the Sunday Stages which offers excellent value.
As always the battle among local drivers for the Brian Thornton Memorial Cup will be intense. Ross Forde will be up against up to 30 local drivers including Tom Flaherty and Eamon Dervan in Escorts, Pat Kelly in a Subaru and Neil Peirce in his Honda who are all among the early entries.
Full rally details and updates are available on www.galwayinternationalrally.com and a listing of programme outlets will be available in the coming weeks.
PAYMENT PLAN FOR SAFETY DIRECT GALWAY INTERNATIONAL RALLY 2011
The dates have been announced for next year’s Safety Direct Galway International Rally as Friday, 4th February through to Sunday, 6th February 2011.
The weekend-long event, which is in its fortieth year, will commence on the Friday from their previous base at Oran Precast in Oranmore and hold their ceremonial finish on Sunday at the base also. The administrative headquarters will once again be situated at the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit.
Speaking at the announcement, Gary Leonard, Clerk of the Course commented, “We are really looking forward to next year’s event as some of the top international drivers have expressed interest in partaking. As this is the event’s 40th year, we will be marking the special occasion with activities throughout the weekend”.
The Galway International Rally has a proud, successful history; including being the first ever round of the Irish Tarmac Championship in 1978. Today the rally is still the traditional season opener, drawing top competitors and huge crowds of spectators to Galway every year for the February festivities.
For more information on the 2011 Safety Direct Galway International Rally, log onto event website
The 2011 Safety Direct Galway Historic Rally celebrates past glories.
Posted: December 18, 2010 6:36 PM
The 2011 Safety Direct Galway Historic Rally will take place over the week end of 4th to 6th February 2011. The first ever Galway Historic Rally took place in 1990 and therefore 2011 will be the 21st anniversary of that event. 2011 will also be the 40th anniversary of the first ever Galway International Rally which was sponsored by STP and took place 1971. That first international event was won by Cathal Curley and Austin Frazer in an Escort Twin Cam.
To honour the occasion, Galway Motor Club intends to highlight the historical aspect of their event in 2011. Plans are afoot to attract historic competitors from at home and abroad to take part in a re-vamped event which will see the historic cars running at the front of the field, in reverse seeding order, on the stages. The increased profile will ensure added TV and media exposure for the Historic rally. Irish Tarmac Historic Champion, Ray Cunningham is the driving force behind this initiative with the assistance of event Clerk of the Course, Gary Leonard.
A full “Rally Guide” will shortly be available and more information will be posted on www.galwayinternationalrally.com.