Two past winners are included in the entry list for the 2016 Down Rally which kicks off from Castlewellan Forest Park on Saturday morning.
Number 1 seed Derek McGarrity is in prime spot to lift the NI Rally Championship title and just has to finish in the top 7 places to secure the crown but should he falter, leading MkII Escort driver Camillus Bradley could just snatch the trophy away at the very last minute.
McGarrity has been joined by local hero Kenny McKinstry and both will be eager to add to their previous wins on the County Down based event. For 2016, McGarrity brings his Ford Fiesta WRC while McKinstry remains loyal to Subaru and he will wheel out an Impreza to try and take a fourth win on the Down Rally.
Joining the previous winners in the leading bunch is Dundalk’s Brendan Cumiskey in an R5 version of the Rally Fiesta and Carryduff’s Jonny Greer again in a new generation Citroen DS3 R5.
Following on from the 4 wheel drive cars is a host of rapid 2 wheel drive cars headed by Wesley Patterson, Camillus Bradley and Damian Toner, all driving Ford Escort MkII’s with Emma McKinstry and David Armstrong rounding out the quality top ten.
Looking further down the entry list, some of the local drivers vying for glory on their local event include Paul Killen, Martin Teggart, NI Rally Championship sponsor Fintan McGrady, Niall Braniff, John Devlin, Gerry McPolin, JT Warnock, Barry Savage, and William Herron. The entry list also includes a wide variety of machinery including Sunbeams, Vauxhalls, Mitsubishi’s, Audi’s and BMW’s to name a few.
The 2016 FMCCL Down Rally starts from Castlewellan Forest Park at 11am on Saturday morning with the 80 cars heading to the first test at Annaclone, then on to Katesbridge before returning to Castlewellan Forest Park for service.
After the short break the drivers will tackle the two stages twice more before with the winners are expected back to the finish in Castlewellan Forest Park at around 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Supporters can also get spectating information and keep up to date by logging on for Patterson’s Rally Bulletin’s from the event website, www.rathfrilandmotorclub.com and follow the live results via www.rallyscore.net.
Top 10 Entries:
7. Camillus Bradley / Crawford Henderson – Ford Escort MkII
8. Damian Toner / Denver Rafferty – Ford Escort MkII
9. Emma McKinstry / Kenny Hull – Subaru Impreza S14I
10. David Armstrong / Paul Mulholland – Ford Escort MkII
11. Paul Killen / Enda Kennedy – Ford Escort G3