|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
September 28, 1999
|Contact: Noel Lawler Motorsports|
Manchester Village, VT -- Irishmen Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley, who are leading the U.S. ProRally Championship, will return to their homeland to challenge the roads at the Donegal Harvest Rally on October 9, 1999, part of the Red Mills National Rally Championship.
The team will compete in a Group A Subaru Impreza prepared by Derek McGarrity of R Sport. "This will be an excellent opportunity for us to fine-tune our rally skills on tarmac," said Lawler. He explained that rallying in the U.S. requires very different driving techniques for the gravel roads, snow, ice, mud, dust and water crossings. In addition, courses are kept secret until the event, so teams do not have a chance to prepare pace notes or practice. "We see this as a test platform for more tarmac events next year," said Lawler.
A line-up of international companies is sponsoring Noel Lawler Motorsports for the Donegal event. They include: Valtra, makers of the high-horsepower, technically-advanced Valmet tractor; Snap-on Tools, one of the largest manufacturers of hand tools and equipment in the world; Snap-on Sun Tech Systems, offering analytical equipment; Ballinlough Refrigeration Ltd., offering temperature control products including Thermo King refrigeration and heating units; and Mac Transport, Ltd., providing international refrigerated cargo transport.
The rally will take place on the wild, windswept roads along the rocky Atlantic coastline of northwest Ireland. There will be eight stages and a total of 75 stage miles. The twisty narrow roads are typically lined with stone walls requiring tight, accurate driving. The rally is headquartered at the Seaview Hotel in Bunbeg.
Lawler and Bradley will most likely be the official U.S. champions by the date of the Donegal Harvest Rally. With two events left in the U.S. series, they only have to place third or better in one of the events to clinch the driver's and co-driver's titles. The next rally takes place in Arizona on October 1-2.
The team's success this season includes wins in Washington and Minnesota, a second place finish in Pennsylvania, a third in Maine and a fourth in California. They compete in a factory-backed Hyundai Tiburon prepared by Libra Racing owned by John Buffum, 11-time U.S. rally champion. Their U.S. sponsors include Pirelli Tire North America; Snap-on Tools; Cargotec, a heavy equipment manufacturer; Hyundai Motor America; Hansen's Beverage, makers of Energy Drink; and Hella International.
Last season the team finished second overall in the Michelin SCCA ProRally Championship, helping to secure the Manufacturer's Cup for Hyundai in an Elantra. They also competed in Ireland and Jamaica.
The pair have rallied together over the past nine years in the U.S. and internationally, and recently earned their FIA seeding. Lawler has varied experience in gravel rallying, road racing, hill climbing and endurance racing in the U.S. He is a native of Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, Ireland now residing in Manchester, Vermont. Bradley has been rallying for 15 years and won the U.S. ProRally Group A Co-Drivers Championship in 1995. He is a native of Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland now residing in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.