Paul Manton from Cashel will be looking for a top fifteen finish.
With no rally last year, motorsport returns to Clonmel this weekend with the nine-stage Fanning Motor Factors Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally taking place on Sunday.
Indeed, there is also a return for the Triton Showers National Rally Championship as it will be the first event in eleven weeks after the Sligo Rally fell victim to the hot weather conditions in early July.
In addition, this year’s Triton series consists of seven events (one less than usual) so championship points in Clonmel will be at a premium.
Roy White in his FESP liveried Ford Fiesta WRC heads the local challenge but he knows his title bid is all but gone.
“Yes, our championship is goosed, we were on course for a good result in Cavan to stay in the hunt but then we punctured and that was that.
“With two poor results now it’s a tall order but we will keep battling on and hopefully win an event before the end of the series.
On Sunday, both Declan (Boyle) and Josh (Moffett) will be tough to beat as will Niall (Maguire).”
Currently and with those two poor scores Roy is 33 points adrift of Triton leader Boyle.
Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta R5) and fellow countyman Joe McGonigle (Mini WRC) are the leading pair in the series.
However, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) is a real title contender and will be favourite for victory in Clonmel, he won last time out in Cavan and will be eager to replicate that form.
Boyle took victory in the opening round and was second in Tralee and Cavan, in recent years he has lacked that type of consistency as he aims to win the national series for a record equalling third time.
Monaghan’s Niall Maguire remains the only driver to have won three national crowns but Clonmel hasn’t been a happy stomping ground, nevertheless, he may split the championship trio and the distribution of Triton points could be key.
The entry also features Cork’s Daniel Cronin (Ford Fiesta R5) - the younger brother of four times British Rally champion Keith, he will be looking at a top five finish.
Others that will be amongst the top ten starters are Kevin Barrett in the Triton liveried Subaru WRC’s, Wicklow’s Daniel Barry (Citroen DS3R5) and top Group N driver Tyrone’s Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi EvoX).
Meanwhile, in the modified category, Maynooth’s Ian Barrett (Darrian T90) should be the pacesetter while Cavan’s Chris Armstrong (Ford Escort) and Donegal’s Stuart Darcy (Darrian T90) renew their rivalry in the quest for the rally.ie award (top two-wheel drive finisher) within the Triton campaign.
Others competing are Tyrone’s Adrian Hetherington (Ford Escort) and Cork’s Sean Moynihan (Ford Escort).
Several County Tipperary drivers are taking part with Cashel’s Paul Manton (Citroen DS3 R3) seeking a top fifteen finish.
He commented, “The fact that we didn’t have the rally last year we are looking forward to the weekend and with two of the stages around where I live, the rally is virtually on my doorstep.
“Hopefully, all will go well. My last rally was the Raven’s Rock in Waterford at the end of June but I only managed to complete three stages as I had a gearbox problem.
“My best result in the Stonethrowers was a top twelve finish, but that was in a Subaru, a top fifteen finish would be great.”
He added - I have my current car for two years and the best finish was on the Raven’s Rock.
“ It’s great to have the rally back again, we have a good but friendly rivalry with all the other locals.
“My favourite stage this weekend in the second stage, Knockgraffon.”
The local entry also includes Clonmel’s Michael Ormond (Honda Civic), who will be in contention for a class win.
Elsewhere, there are places for Clonmel’s Kieran Hayes (Peugeot 205), Christopher Maher (Suzuki Swift), Andrew Sheehan (Honda Civic), Kieran O’Sullivan (Peugeot 205), Tom Sheehan (Opel Corsa) and Cahir duo Colum Browne (Honda Civic) and Donal Ryan (Toyota Starlet).
The overseas entry includes Tomas Davies (Ford Escort) and Martyn England (Ford Fiesta R5+).
Rally headquarters is at the Clonmel Park Hotel with the first car away at 9am on Sunday morning.
Servicing is at the Powerstown Racecourse after stages three and six.
The stage locations are Lisnamuck, Knockgraffon and Donegal, the first two are some 15 kilometres in length and the third stage is 9.5 kilometres.
The loop is repeated thre times before the finish at the Clonmel Park Hotel at 5.00pm.
Rally programmes with all the important details are on sale loccally at all the usual outlets.