Motorsport Ireland latest Bulletin

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October 11
Hawthorn Trophy
Oct/Nov Fixtures
Dunlop Young Racing Driver of the Month
Licence Statistics
Amendments/Corrections to Yearbook

FIA WRC Academy Penultimate Test

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Craig Breen Rallying: WRC Academy France Event Preview

"The title fight is wide open" stated Irish WRC Academy participant Craig Breen in a recent interview for,  “I was determined to win in Germany after the second place finish in Finland and the victory became even more important as we have halved Egon’s (Kaur, EST) lead”.

We now move to the penultimate round in this inaugural season of the FIA WRC Academy and the second Tarmac event of the year, Rallye de France Alsace. Craig again requires a top result if he is to keep the pressure on the Estonian driver and bring the championship to a winner take all on Rally Great Britain. Before taking to the Tarmac on Rally Deutschland, Breen faced a 52 point deficit but now the Irish drivers arrears is 26 and the mountain looks a lot more scalable.

Craig's confidence was sky high after is victory in Germany and he carried that form to the Czech Republic the following week where the Irish Ace quickly adapted to the four wheel drive pace at the Barum Czech Rally Zlin (IRC, round 7) and recorded a fantastic 7th overall in his Kel-Tech Engineering Fiesta S2000.

Craig has been concentrating on his physical fitness at home in the intervening time since his last event. He has been working in the gym, in the pool and on the bike. Craig then traveled to PRO Performance in the UK last week to put the finishing touches to make sure he’s in top shape to take on the French stages.

Round five of the Academy season is based on the outskirts of Strasbourg, close to France’s border with Germany, the event features a wide variety of stages of differing surfaces, widths and gradients in vineyards, mountain regions and town Centre’s. With gravel sections also featuring on the competitive route, the world rally hopefuls will be required to overcome a tough test in their Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta R2s.

To ease the task facing the competitors, which is increased by the likelihood of inclement weather, Pirelli, the official tyre supplier of the WRC Academy, will make available 16 P Zero RX5 tyres and 12 P Zero RE7 tyres to each crew. They are permitted to use a maximum of 18 tyres once the event gets underway on Friday morning (September 30). Two spare tyres are made available for the pre-event shakedown on Thursday afternoon but cannot be used on the rally proper.

The hard compound RX5 is designed for optimal performance in warm and dry conditions. Conversely, the RE7 was developed to provide improved grip in the event of rain and cold temperatures, a feature of last year’s Rallye de France.

By offering crews two choices of tyre, Pirelli engineers hope to be able to provide more vital experience when the WRC Academy runners make the step up to the World Rally Championship in future, as well as teaching them about correct tyre usage.

“Our involvement in the WRC Academy is part of our continuous plan to help develop the next generation of world championship stars,” said Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery. “With a level playing field created due to the fact all drivers have to use the same Ford Fiesta R2s and Pirelli control tyres, our young talents can discover just how pivotal tyre choice can be to the outcome of a rally.”

Another challenge the WRC Academy runners will face in France is the problem of mud, stones and other debris being dragged onto the road by the drivers at the head of the field taking ‘cuts’ through corners.

“This is always a concern,” added Hembery. “But we saw on ADAC Rallye Deutschland, where we experienced similar conditions, how well our tyres, that are of a standard construction for weight and cost benefits, performed with just four failures reported by drivers running over rocks.”


Murphy/O’Brien Claim 2011 Valvoline Irish Forest Championship

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Owen Murphy and co-driver James O’Brien in their Hankook obrienmurphy  Mitsubishi Evo 9 won the 2011 Valvoline Forest Rally Championship in Saturday’s Bushwhacker Rally, based in Omagh. Murphy from Ballincollig and O’Brien from Kanturk are the first all Cork crew to win the forestry series. John Mc Carthy from Carrigtwohill was champion in 2006 when he was co driven by Wexfords MJ Morrissey.

Murphy and O’Brien drove all day with an eye on the championship however on stage one they were right on the pace. Moving on to stage two and there were intercom problems and some valuable time was lost. This was sorted but Owen was keeping a close eye on his fellow competitors in the Valvoline series.

Stage 3 was a wakeup call to take it handy when exiting a chicane he clipped a rock this put out the tracking and the camber and dropped him two places but little time was lost , then on stage 4 Owen got caught behind a WRC car stuck in a chicane  it seemed like we were there for ever we went one way he blocked us we went the other way he was still in the way finally we got through maybe 20 seconds or more lost but it was a stressful few seconds.

After that Owen decided to take it easy and bring it home which he did in fine style 10th overall and 4th in the Valvoline series.

murphy2Owen is a Former National Karting champion, a Billy Coleman award winner and the 2006 National GpN Forest Rally Champion. To date this is his biggest achievement he led the championship from the word go with a win, round 2 saw him win again , on round 3 a stone broke the fan and punctured the rad leading to retirement while leading at his ease then he started to drive for the championship with a 2nd in Cork but Maximum points and with the result in Omagh he now has the series won  with one round remaining. Owen said the stages were very different to the ones down south  the stages today were short but very fast and gravelly one would need to do a few events to get the proper  feel for them  in order to drive flat out.

Owen said at the finish it has not sank in yet what a great year so many people to thank firstly my friend and co -driver James o Brien who steered me along all year there is no doubt he is one of the best in the country, To Hankook   Ireland for putting their faith in me and to TTEC for a super car all year, thanks to my service crew my family my parents my girlfriend Ciara and everyone who helped in any way to make this a great year. Thanks to my associate sponsors and all my friends too many to mention but never forgotten.


Inside a Car Crash: Ireland's Shocking Truth

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Road Safety Announcement: Gay Byrne presents the following insidedocumentary revealing the shocking reality of road traffic collisions with experts and members of the emergency services exposing the grim facts. Please watch it & Please “Keep the Race in it’s Place” Thanks, Jamie Kent, Carrick on Suir Motor Club Road Safety Officer

Click the Image to the Right to view the Video


Carrick on Suir MC sweep TOP 3 places in 2011 South East Stages Championship

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As the 2011 Triton Showers South East Stages Rally Championship went to the final event last weekend and it was Carrick on Suir Motor Club members that dominated the podium on Sunday evening.
In third overall was James Coleman and Michael Haley.
Second overall was Father and Son team of Alan and James Commins.
2011 Champions are Seamus Power and John Rafter
Top 3 Montage s

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