by John Kenny

Tim McNulty, the reigning Irish National and Irish Tarmac Rally champion, will be hoping it’s third time lucky this weekend in the Killarney Rally of the Lakes, the third round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

The county Meath driver has had his last two Lakes events curtailed by mechanical problems to his Subaru Impreza but will be hoping that he will make amends this weekend.

McNulty lies in seventh place in the Championship this season with only 15 points on the board after his performance in the first round in and missing round two, the Circuit of Ireland.

With three rounds left after this weekend it’s imperative he secures a decent points tally in his Subaru S12 if he is to win his second Tarmac crown.

The Championship leader is Armagh driver Darren Gass. The Subaru driver has won both the opening rounds in Galway and then the Circuit of Ireland over the Easter weekend.

Although he has little experience around the roads of Killarney, Gass will be hoping to keep his Championship lead intact come Sunday evening.

The other main contender in Killarney is Eugene Donnelly. Donnelly has parked up his Mini for the season and will be competing in a Toyota Corolla in Kerry.

Donnelly has won the Lakes before but only once and after second place finishes behind Gass in Galway and at the Circuit, he will be looking to go one better this weekend.

The top seed is Darragh O’Riordan in his Subaru S12, last year’s winner. The Cork driver has only amassed nine points far this season, which he picked up in Galway but he will be relatively comfortable on the Killarney roads and will be looking to reel in Darren Gass in the Championship race.

The Killarney Rally of the Lakes begins on Saturday morning up the famous Molls Gap with the 16 stages continuing until Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, the Irish Status Grand Prix team has withdrawn its LMP2 car from the Spa round of the FIA World Endurance Championship following a serious accident in the second free practice session today.

As a result, the team will now concentrate on preparations for next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

The team’s Lola-Judd B12/80 Coupe crashed at the fast Raidillon corner at the top of Eau Rouge and suffered extensive damage.

Status GP regular driver Alexander Sims emerged unharmed from the 6G impact with the tyre barriers, and was subsequently passed fit by the FIA medical delegate.

The Status GP crew promptly set to work on the car, but having assessed the situation it was deemed that the car cannot be repaired on site in order to compete in Saturday’s six-hour race.

The FIA were then informed that it has regrettably been forced to withdraw from the event.

The Silverstone-based team, which is competing full-time in the European Le Mans Series this year, is now focusing on continuing its preparations for its debut at next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, which commences with the official Le Mans Test Day on 3 June.