Eamonn Boland has clinched the 2008 Global Group Irish Tarmac Rally Championship title following news that his only remaining rival for the crown will not compete on the Cork '20 International Rally, the final round in the series, which runs from September 27-28.

Boland, who has won three rounds of the Irish series this year - having taken the spoils on the Circuit of Ireland, the Rally of the Lakes and the Jim Clark, had to settle for the runners-up spot on the Isle of Man recently after being beaten by Mark Higgins.

That runners-up spot though increased Boland's tally for the year to 75 points, 35 points more than Higgins, with just two rounds, the Ulster International and the Cork '20, left to run.

Related Articles

Higgins though would have needed to win both of those events with Boland failing to score to have overhauled him and with the Cork '20 clashing with the International Rally Yorkshire, the penultimate round in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, that won't be possible.

"The Cork '20 is the same weekend as the Yorkshire Rally which I'm committed to as part of my British championship programme," Higgins confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph.

"My win in the Isle of Man just confused the situation but in reality I gave up on the Tarmac championship months ago and even if there was a realistic chance I could still win it - which there isn't - my priority now is the British title.

"I'll be in Yorkshire, not Cork, in September and so Eamonn is the [2008 Irish Tarmac] champion."

Higgins' focus this weekend meanwhile is the Lurgan Park Rally, where he will compete in a Mitsubishi Lancer, going up against the likes of Kevin Lynch, Kenny McKinstry and fellow BRC man Darren Gass.

"It's a very tricky place with a mix of tarmac and gravel - and lots of trees as I found to my cost last year! But the atmosphere is great and it is an event I really look forward to," Higgins added.