The inaugural season of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Ireland takes place this weekend and of the six drivers entered, four will be battling it out in a bid to become the first ever Irish Evo champion.
Alan Carmichael, Brendan Cumiskey, Damien Tourish and Owen Murphy all have a mathematical chance of lifting the title on the Murphy Construction/Weathermaster Cork '20' Rally.
Having led the championship since round two, Carmichael and co-driver Ivor Lamont's consistent performance has made them the only leading crew to have finished all the events so far. Therefore, with the final scores calculated from five out of the six rounds, they still have to drop their lowest score, which is currently fourth and seven points.
In second place and, having won rounds one and three, Brendan Cumiskey and co-driver Conor Foley admit they will be driving for the championship this weekend. Having missed round two they have no score to drop and therefore need to finish fifth or higher in order to clinch the Evo Challenge title.
Also winning two rounds - four and five - Damien Tourish/Domhall McAllaney are very much the Mitsubishi crew on form at the moment. But, having missed the first two rounds because of injury, they are in the hands of others if the title is to come their way and will therefore target their third victory of the season to give themselves the best chance of success.
Having shown excellent pace throughout the season Owen Murphy will be out to make the most of competing in his local event. The Cork 20 Rally sees the return of former works Mitsubishi co-driver Greg Shinnors alongside him and although Murphy can still scoop the series victory mathematically, he knows that this can only be achieved if the other title aspirants fall by the wayside.
Lying fifth in the standings and looking to improve their final placing this weekend are Stanley Ballentine/Richard Hyland. Showing consistent pace throughout the year, which has provided them with two podium finishes so far, they could have still be in the running for the title if it wasn't for the occasional blip of bad luck.
Rejoining the Evo Challenge field having missed the previous round in Wexford because of business commitments, Michael Murray rounds-off his season by competing in Cork. With his regular co-driver Aidan Mannion unavailable for this event, Thomas Maguire will be standing-in to read the pace notes.
Starting and finishing in Cork and comprising eight stages on Saturday and further six on Sunday, the Murphy Construction/Weathermaster Cork “20” Rally features a total competitive distance of 240 kilometres.