Spectators attending next week’s Circuit of Ireland International Rally can look forward to a capacity entry that will be headed up Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble.
Based out of Ballymena, and incorporating famous stages in the Glens of Antrim, Fisher and Noble (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) are the top seeds for the 91st running of the Ulster Automobile Club event.
A maximum score will be the objective for Fisher as he looks to rekindle his bid to be in the running for the 2022 Tarmac title. To do that, first he will have to find a way past Josh Moffett.
The winner of the last two Irish Tarmac rounds in Galway and West Cork respectively, Moffett travels north from his base in Monaghan aiming to make it a hat-trick of successes.
Few would bet against the Hyundai i20 R5 driver, who has also emerged victorious on the opening Irish National Rally Championship counters in Mayo and Birr.
Callum Devine (Ford Fiesta Rally2) is seeded at number three, while Meirion Evans – runner-up to Moffett in Galway and West Cork – will run fourth on the road ahead of Cathan McCourt who is making the switch from a Ford Fiesta to a Skoda Fabia R5 for the Tarmac classic.
Derek McGarrity is another person to swap make and model for an event he has won five times to date; he has will test his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 next Monday.
Reigning Northern Ireland champion Jonathan Greer (Citroen C3 Rally2) has been handed numbers seven and Desi Henry eight (Ford Fiesta Rally2).
The top ten is rounded out by Brendan Cumiskey and Declan Boyle, both of whom will make their competitive debuts behind the wheel of Volkswagen Polo GTI R5s.
“We’re delighted to announce that the cream of the crop have decided to take on this Fast and Furious challenge at Easter,” said Clerk of the Course, Nigel Hughes.
“A full house of 91 entries have been secured for the oldest rally in Ireland. They will tackle the 11 superlative stages, covering over 120 stage miles during Good Friday and Easter Saturday.
“The service area in Ballymena will see competitors and spectators receive a very warm and traditional welcome from the local community.
“The support from people across the North East of the Province has been superb and we thank them all for their generosity and help to make this event happen,” he added.