The 2019 Rally of the Lakes is getting into gear for the upcoming 40th Anniversary event taking place over the May Bank holiday weekend (3rd, 4th and 5th May). The event is hosted by the Killarney & District Motor Club and is run this year by Dermot Healy, a prominent figure in Irish Motorsport and an experienced Clerk of the Course.

An event could be forgiven for taking the easy option by running the same stages year in year out, however Dermot and his crew have introduced a challenging twist to this year’s 16-stage event, offering drivers a new challenge that has been absent in recent years: three of the Saturday’s classic stages, Ardgroom, Cod’s Head and the Healy Pass, will be run in reverse.

‘Where the Saturday route is familiar to most, running them in reverse order offers crews a new challenge, and levels the competition for all,’ Dermot says. ‘The response from crews has been very positive, and they welcome the challenge ahead.’

Driver Denis Cronin adds, ‘I have competed on these stages in reverse twice before. This is a welcome format change to these great stages and competitors should enjoy the challenge.’

Denis’s nephew, Irish and multiple British Champion Keith Cronin, comments, ‘This is a welcome shake up of these iconic stages, giving every competitor a fair shot.’

Sunday’s stages stay close to home with four loops of two. Centralised service in Liebherr carpark and a short road section to the finish ramp make the Sunday stages very compact for spectators and crews alike.

‘We are very mindful of the challenging Saturday route for crews, so keeping Sunday’s route as compact as possible while offering great challenging stages was our goal,’ says Dermot. ‘Finding suitable routes is a constant challenge and this year we have pushed the boundaries in ensuring the event is challenging, safe and fun for all participating.’

Dermot and his team understand the importance of promoting the sport at every turn: ‘We want to use this year’s 40th Anniversary occasion to broaden the appeal of the event and sport to a wider audience,’ he says. He remains tight-lipped on the details at this early stage, but shares one last comment, “We can learn a lot from the Golden Years of Rallying.’ Is that a hint of things to come …?