29 January 2024
~6 minutes read
Corrib Oil Galway International Rally Update
The 2024 Corrib Oil Galway International Rally boasts an impressive lineup of drivers and machinery ahead of this year’s event, which takes place on 3rd & 4th February. There are over 130 crews due to start in what promises to be a very hard fought encounter with some very successful drivers from Ireland and the UK doing battle. 2023 Irish Tarmac Rally Champions Callum Devine & Noel O’Sullivan are top seeds in a VW Polo and will be looking to carry the momentum from last year’s series into this year. Number 2 seeds are Josh Moffett & Andy Hayes who won here in 2022 and finished second last year. Moffett will be making a switch from a Hyundai to a Citroen C3 for the event and it will be interesting to see how quickly he adapts.
Third seeds are Keith Cronin & Mikie Galvin in a Fiesta Rally 2 which marks the duos return to the championship for the first time since they won it back in 2016. Keith of course is a former winner of the event having tasted victory in 2013. Sam Moffett & James O’Reilly at four are in a Hyundai i20 Rally 2 and Sam will be hoping to be as quick out of the blocks as last year when he led the event over the early stages. Rounding off the top six are Jonny Greer & Niall Burns who as usual will have a Citroen C3 Rally 2 followed by Matt Edwards & David Moynihan in a Fiesta Rally 2. It will be former BRC champion Edwards’s first appearance in Galway, but he has been competitive on previous visits to Ireland.
Seventh seeds are Desi Henry & Stuart Loudon in a Citroen C3 Rally 2 who will be hoping for a long overdue change of luck in Galway. Ryan Loughran & Gareth Doherty at eight are also Fiesta mounted. Loughran who is noted for his exploits in a Ford Escort, showed some impressive form on a few occasions last year when moving to the Rally 2 car. Garry Jennings in a non-starter at nine so Declan Boyle will be next up as he continues to get used to the Citroen. Jason Mitchell at 11 is another nonstarter so Mark Alcorn & Darren Currans (Escort Mk2) round off the top ten. Alcorn had a superb run in Galway last year and will be a strong contender for the modified category.
Outside of the top ten, several drivers will have something to say about the overall shakeup of the event including Kevin Eves, Gareth MacHale, Michael Boyle, Gary Kiernan & David Kelly who are just some of the chasing pack. Austin MacHale & Brian Murphy seeded at number twenty make a return to Irish rallying in a Ford Focus WRC. Austin has not been rallying competitively in over fifteen years while Brian has been competitive with Austin’s son Gareth over the past couple of years. The historic category is well supported, with last year’s historic winner Meirion Evans back to defend his title. Ray Breen, Ross Forde, Tom Clark, Duncan Williams and Ernie Graham among the entries. There are eight junior crews with the top seeds being Galway crew Jason Gorham & Liam Egan in a Honda Civic.
There will be a ceremonial start at 7:30pm in Eyre Square on Friday evening, which will be an opportunity to see the crews and their cars up close. Overnight Parc Ferme is at Galway Racecourse and the first car is due away from there at 7:45 am on Saturday morning. The crews will go to service at Galway Airport before heading out to the days eight stages based around Headford with the first stage getting underway at Kilcoona at 8:54am.Other stages include Caherlistrane and Kilbeg with the cars servicing at Galway Airport after each loop. The first car is due back in Parc Ferme at 17:23 on Saturday evening.
Sunday’s action gets underway at 8:55am near Monivea with the Belville stage, followed by a stage at Colmanstown. These two stages will be attempted three times in all, with servicing at Galway Airport after each pair of stages. The first car is due back at the finish ramp at 16:30 at Rally Headquarters the Connacht Hotel.
Galway Motor Club would like to thank all those who have given their assistance including marshals, officials, residents, Gardaí, Galway County Council and Galway Flying Club, and want to wish all those attending the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally a safe and enjoyable weekend.
· Results, regular updates and more detailed information will be available on the Galway International Rally Facebook page
· Galway Bay FM will be reporting from all 14 stages throughout the two days with updates and driver interviews
· Galway Motor Club has secured TV coverage with On the Limit Sports with programmes to be broadcast in the coming weeks.
2024 Corrib Oil Galway International Rally Timetable:
· Friday 2nd February 1pm to 6pm – Scrutiny at Galway Racecourse
· Friday 2nd February 7:30pm – Ceremonial Start in Eyre Square Galway
· Saturday 3rd February All Day – 8 Special Stages in the Headford Area
· Sunday 4th February All Day – 6 Special Stages in the Monivea Area
· Saturday & Sunday 3rd & 4th February – Service Park at Galway Airport
· Sunday 4th February 4:30pm – Finish at Connacht Hotel Galway
In order to facilitate the safe running of the event there will be temporary road closures on certain roads around the Headford and Monivea areas over the weekend. All road closures will be clearly sign posted and marshalled. Residents who live on the route have been informed of the times and Galway County Council has advertised temporary road closure arrangements and details. There will be additional traffic in the Eyre Square area from 6.00pm to 9.00pm on Friday 2nd to facilitate the Ceremonial Start, also near the Connacht Hotel.
The Official Rally Programme contains full listings of stage times, service area times, detailed Ordnance Survey Route Maps and all the information required to locate the many spectator access points. The Programme costs €15 and is available from the Connacht Hotel and from various Corrib Oil filling stations, newsagents and outlets in the city and county, listed on the Rally.ie website, and on the Galway International Rally Facebook page.
The Corrib Oil Galway International Rally is an event that is sanctioned by the FIA under an official Permit issued by Motorsport Ireland and supported by the RSA – The Road Safety Authority of Ireland. All competing cars will carry its logo and message, and signage to promote this road safety message will be visible.
Gary Leonard, Clerk of the Course, encourages fans travelling to the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally to heed the message from the organisers to ‘Keep the Race in its Place’, to slow down, never drink and drive and to always wear a seatbelt. All spectators on the closed road stages must always obey the Marshals, as they will be implementing a comprehensive Safety Plan. A traffic management plan has been put in place with the support of the Gardaí.