Declan Boyle is set to switch from his Ford Fiesta WRC to a Volkswagen Polo R5 on Easter’s Circuit of Ireland Rally.
The Irish Tarmac Rally Championship’s third round was Boyle’s last time in R5 machinery. Boyle started three ITRC rounds in a Ford Fiesta R5 three years ago. He reverted to his World Rally Car after an accident on the 2019 Easter Stages Rally.
The Donegal driver’s switch back to R5 has been in the pipeline for a while. Boyle had been expected to start 2021’s Cork 20 and Donegal Harvest rallies in a Polo. Unable to compete in Cork, Boyle decided to stick with the Fiesta WRC for his local rally last October as well as his first events in 2022.
Boyle and co-driver James O’Reilly showed snippets of their stage-winning pace in Galway but they were ultimately stopped by persistent problems with the Fiesta.
They returned to action at last weekend’s Birr Stages Rally, finishing second behind Josh Moffett and Keith Moriarty.
Boyle seemed impressed with the pace of his rivals in R5 and Rally2 cars. The Circuit of Ireland will give him a chance to see where he stacks up against ITRC’s latest crop of tarmac titans.
Rally Insight understands the 2014 Irish Tarmac Rally Champion hasn’t had much time to test his Polo R5 so the Circuit will likely be an extended test event.
Boyle joins the ever growing list of ITRC contenders showcasing the Volkswagen brand. West Cork Rally’s second- to fourth-placed finishers Meirion Evans, Alastair Fisher, and Daniel Cronin were all driving Polo R5s.
Circuit of Ireland Rally entry list (top ten)
1 Alastair Fisher – Gordon Noble (Volkswagen Polo R5)
2 Josh Moffett – Andy Hayes (Hyundai i20 R5)
3 Callum Devine – Shane Byrne (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
4 Meirion Evans – Jonathan Jackson (Polo R5)
5 Cathan McCourt – Liam Moynihan (Skoda Fabia R5)
6 Derek McGarrity – Graham Henderson (Polo R5)
7 Jonathan Greer – Darragh Mullen (Citroen C3 Rally2)
8 Desi Henry – Paddy Robinson (Fiesta Rally2)
9 Brendan Cumiskey – Martin Connolly (Polo R5)
10 Declan Boyle – James O’Reilly (Polo R5)
Photo by Roger Dawson