2016 has arrived and a new dawn in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (ITRC) and the British Rally Championship (BRC) is about to begin. R5 and s2000 cars will be the cars involved in the battle for the titles. The rumour mill is in full swing about who is buying or renting, what events or championships they will commit to. In the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship it is highly likely we will have new name on the Tarmac Trophy at the end of the year. It will be interesting to see who that will be and what car they will use.
Some crews are contemplating tackling both series, as the two championships cross paths at the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster rallies. It will be difficult but not impossible with dropped scores and a lot of preparation and a quick turn around time between events. Consequently it will leave no margin for error on the other events you select to score points on!!
Galway is only a few weeks away and deals and budgets are being finalised, no doubt there will be a healthy entry of R5s and S2000s as both Galway Motor Club and Tarmac Championship organisers have been working very hard promoting the new dawn of the championship and this has to be applauded.
THE CARS R5 vs S2000 This year will be interesting as the older S2000 cars square up against the R5 cars. Up to this year they have been reasonably equal with the R5 having a slight advantage. Now in 2016 with the latest spec cars (R5 Fiesta an extra 30bhp and the R5 Fabia) it is going to difficult for the S2000 crews.
With the S2000 Fiesta and Fabia having been extremely well developed for the roads here over the last year or so, is there much more to be unlocked from them?? The S2000 MINI could be a very interesting choice as it has a more restricted version of the 1.6 turbo engine found in the WRC model, but the smaller restrictor may hamper it this year.
The Regional Rally Cars (RRC) are not allowed to score points in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship but interestingly they are allowed to score in the British Rally Championship, could this allow crews like the Moffetts to more easily commit to both championships? Again the smaller restrictor may put them at a disadvantage in power output but the stronger mechanical components may be an advantage on the rougher gravel events.
The R5 Fiesta is a well tried and trusted car and until mid way through this year was the car to have in WRC2. The availability of cars, parts and the backing of the MSport machine this makes them a very attractive package. With the upgrade package available in 2016 which includes an extra 30bhp it is expected to return the Fiesta closer to the winners circle in WRC2 and closer to home.
The new kid on the block is the Skoda Fabia R5, which has taken off where the Fabia S2000 left off as a class leader. So far these car have been produced in less volume than the Fiesta but no doubt there’ll be at least two of them in Galway and possibility of more as the year progresses.
The DS3 R5 and 208 T16 are very capable cars, both being based on the same power plant. With Davy Greer (DGM) preparing and hiring the Citroens it is quite possible we will see more of them on the stages. Also if a certain Cork native commits to either championship, he would be regarded as one of the favourites. The 208 T16 hasn’t really been seen in private hands on either Irish or British events but that could change this year.
There are lots of rumours circulating about which drivers will drive which cars in what events and championships in the year ahead, that will be a whole other story!!!!
As the saying goes “variety is the spice of life” so here is hoping for a spicy year in 2016 for all to enjoy!