Final countdown to Safety Direct Galway Rally

Safety Direct's Alan Fair, broadcaster and rally driver Michael Lyster, Enda O'Leary and Neil Pierce pictured at the press launch of the Galway Rally. Photo: Reg Gordon

Safety Direct's Alan Fair, broadcaster and rally driver Michael Lyster, Enda O'Leary and Neil Pierce pictured at the press launch of the Galway Rally. Photo: Reg Gordon

Final preparations are underway for this weekend’s Safety Direct Galway International Rally. The event, which is the first round of the Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, kicks off on Friday evening with a ceremonial start in Oranmore village.

The first car is due to leave the ramp at 8pm, so spectators are advised to get there in plenty of time as a large crowd is expected.

The meat of the actions begins on Saturday morning with the first of nine stages in the Monivea area starting at 8.50am.

Centralised service is again in the Oran Pre-Cast premises in the Deerpark Industrial estate in Oranmore The first car is due into service on Saturday at 11.00am and will be returning at 2.00pm. Sunday will see the crews tackle six stages in the Loughrea area, with the action getting under way around about 7.45 am. Service times for Sunday are 10.50am and 1.50pm. The finish ramp celebrations will conclude the weekend’s action on Sunday at 4.45pm, again in Oranmore village. Headquarters for the rally will be the Clayton Hotel in Ballybrit.

A fantastic entry list has been assembled by the Galway Motor Club with Dubliner Gareth MacHale leading the field of the ramp at number one seed. Gareth is one of two Ford Focus mounted MacHales, with brother Aaron seeded at number four.

Other WRC runners include Meath’s Tim McNulty in a Subaru Impreza S12B, Patrick Elliot in a similar S12, and Kevin Barrett in an S11. There will be massive interest in the group N battle that features the new British Rally Champion, Keith Cronin. Keith, who will be driving a Mitsubishi Evo 9, will face stiff competition from the likes of Alastair Fisher, Gary Jennings, Alan Ring and Craig Breen, who will be giving an Irish debut to the brand new, Monte Carlo winning Ford Fiesta S2000.

Top Galway Crews this weekend are Mike Bird and Kevin Keane in a Subaru Impreza WRC who will be pushed hard by JJ Fleming and Robbie Ward in another Subaru.

The Galway Motor Club, Safety Direct and the Eyre Square Shopping Centre will be running a competition all this week to raise awareness for the Galway Hospital Project for Cystic Fibrosis, which is the chosen charity partner for the 2010 Safety Direct Galway International Rally.

A number of rally cars will be on display in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre throughout the week, along with collections for the charity.

A rally car will be filled with balloons and each person who guesses the correct quantity will be entered into a draw on Thursday to win rally merchandise. Galway Bay FM will be covering the draw live from the Shopping Centre.

The new rally merchandise is now on sale. It can be viewed all weekend in the Safety Direct truck in Oranmore or in the Safety Direct Retail Store in the Riverside Commercial Estate, Galway.

The full range can also be ordered online on the rally website, www.galwayinternationalrally.com A full list of programme selling outlets can also be found on the website.

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