Josh Moffet: Irish Tarmac title win would top previous success

Josh Moffet has moved away from Hyundai's i20 for the 2024 season
Josh Moffet has moved away from Hyundai's i20 for the 2024 season

JOSH Moffett believes if he can come out on top in the Irish Tarmac Championship title fight this season against a stellar Rally2 field that, it will trump his two previous title successes.

The seven-round, cross-border series begins in earnest on Ireland’s West Coast on Saturday at the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally – an event Moffett conquered for the first time in 2022.

That result in the wind and the rain proved to be the perfect springboard for the 31-year-old as he went on to prevail against his rivals and add that crown to the first he clinched four years earlier.

Having missed out on the successful defence of his title to Claudy’s Callum Devine last season at the last round, Moffett returns to action with Andy Hayes this weekend desperate to claw it back.

However, on top of the regular points scorers, the Monaghan man will face extra competition from Keith Cronin and Matt Edwards who have won seven British Rally Championship trophies between them.

In a major boost for organisers of the Irish Tarmac Championship, they have signed up for the entire campaign, with Cronin relying on a new M-Sport-developed Ford Fiesta Rally2 and Edwards a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

“The extra competition with Keith and Matt this year I think is going to be brilliant,” said Moffett. “For me, if you can win this year, I think it would mean probably more than the previous years because the level is going to be so high.

“I am sure Callum is going to be at the front as well, so, it is shaping up to be another really good year with the calibre of drivers there are. I am really looking forward to it and cannot wait to get started.”

Monaghan’s Josh Moffett.  Photo: Martin Walsh.
Monaghan’s Josh Moffett. Photo: Martin Walsh.

Another factor that is going to come into play over the course of the two-day opener in Galway is the car Moffett is competing in. After a decorated spell in Hyundai Motorsport’s i20 R5 that has also netted glory in the Irish National Rally Championship, he is switching to a Citroen C3 Rally2 – a move that has been part influenced by the creation of the new Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland prize fund.

“It was probably in the back of our heads for a while that, maybe going to Galway, we would be more competitive in the Hyundai because we just know it so well and have it sorted for mucky and slippery conditions,” he said.

“We think the seat time in the Citroen will benefit us for the remainder of the year.

“We certainly looked at different options and some cars were more available than others. We did want to get a new car and we looked at our options and it came down to two and yes, the prize fund did play a part in us going with the Citroen.

“It was not the only factor but the money is welcome.”

Galway International Rally – Top 10 Seeds   1 Callum Devine / Noel O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)  2 Josh Moffett / Any Hayes (Citroen C3 Rally2) 3 Keith Cronin / Mikie Galvin 9Ford Fiesta Rally2)  4 Sam Moffett / James O’Reilly (Hyundai i20N Rally2)   5 Jonathan Greer / Niall Burns (Citroen C3 Rally2)  6 Matt Edwards / David Moynihan (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)   7 Desi Henry / Stewart Loudon (Citroen C3 Rally2)  8 Ryan Loughran / Gareth Doherty (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 9 Garry Jennings / Rory Kennedy (Ford Fiesta Rally2)  10 Declan Boyle / TBA (Citroen C3 Rally2)