The last nuts and bolts are being tightened on rally cars, race suits and helmets are being dusted down for the weekend. The final countdown to the Hotel Ballina and Kennedy Motors Mayo Stages Rally 2013 is under way before the high-octane action takes place this weekend. With competitors arriving from this afternoon, the first task for the drivers and co-drivers after signing-on to the event on Saturday morning will be to drive the route and take pacenotes, before their cars go into scrutineering for the final checks, before being locked away until the start.
The ceremonial start will take place on Pearse Street, Ballina, from 7pm until 9pm, with the leading drivers and local drivers having their cars on show for the public. The street will be closed to traffic from 6pm onwards and there will be open air entertainment and music on the street throughout the evening.
When the flag drops
The serious competition starts on Sunday morning, with the leading cars leaving Parc Feirme in Hotel Ballina at 10am to tackle the nine challenging special stages. The first stage Cloonta runs for the first time at 10.45am. Stage two, Lough Brohly, gets under way at 11.05am, and stage three, Ballymore Lough, which is near Attymass runs at 11.35am. The cars then return to service in Ballina Mart on the Crossmolina Road, before tacking the loop of three stages two more times. The leading cars are due back at the rally finish at Hotel Ballina at 5pm. Full details of maps and times will be available in the rally programmes which will be on sale in shops and garages around the area from Friday evening. Online users can follow Mayo & District Motorsport Club’s Twitter (@mayomotorclub ) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/mayomotorsportclub ) accounts which will be continually updated during the week-end with all the latest news, times, and competitor quotes, or can check into the club website (www.mayomotorsportclub.com ).