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Breen machine into shoot-out

Craig Breen had little time to savour his selection for the Pirelli Star Driver Global Shoot-out as he had to return home to prepare for the Ulster Rally this weekend.

Having drawn the short straw in the seeding in last Saturday's Shapphane Rally, the Kilmurry ace was at a disadvantage as he was first on the road and the gravel stage was very loose. He quickly overcame his disadvantage to finish second overall to go forward to the Global Shoot-out final in the autumn.

p Ulster drivers Alistair Fisher and Jonny Greer will be hoping for home advantage as they fight to retain their lead in the Irish Tarmac and British championships respectively as both championships resume around the lanes of Antrim tomorrow and on Saturday.

A hard-fought battle is anticipated between the leading trio in the Irish series with a single point separating Fisher, who tops the standings, from Gareth MacHale. Aaron MacHale is a further two points adrift. Fisher faces an uphill struggle to keep ahead of the MacHale brothers as he pitches his Group N Evo9 against their WRC machinery in the Irish championship.

The WRC machinery will be showcased under the Ulster WRC title and run at the head of the field. Just five are entered, with Gareth MacHale topping the entry from Derek McGarrity followed by Darragh O'Riordan and Aaron MacHale. Arjen de Konning rounds off the field in his Mitsubishi Lancer.

p Rally NI -- catering for Group N and S2000 cars -- will see the remainder of the Irish Tarmac crews join the British championship contenders. Main interest will centre on the tussle between current champion Keith Cronin and past champion Gwyndaf Evans for honours.

p Citroen seem to like the Irish stages as they have picked the Ulster event again to debut the new DS3 rally machine in the hands of Bryan Bouffier. The French manufacturer used the same event to launch the C2R2 Max two years ago. Joint leaders Sam Moffett and Neil McCance head the Irish Evo Challenge as it reaches the sixth of eight rounds this weekend. Moffett has been consistently gathering pace all season winning the ALMC round while McCance's 100pc run as a points-scorer in the series was spoiled by his retirement on the ALMC event.

p Niall Murray is the youngest driver ever to be selected as the Dunlop Young Racing Driver of the Month award following his history-making double victory in the Ginetta Junior Ireland series last month. The Coláiste éanna (Ballyroan) student will be aiming to repeat his dominant success on his second appearance in the series at Mondello Park on Sunday.

p The annual meeting between clubs and the Rallies Committee scheduled for last night has been postponed and rescheduled for September 15.

p John Reid claimed his first 2010 win in one of the closest finishes in the forestry championship this year. He beat Owen Murphy by three-tenths of a second on the Cork Jim Walsh rally last Saturday with Pat O'Connell third a further four seconds in arrears. His third place was enough to secure O'Connell the Petro Systems national forestry championship title.

p Derek Tohill scored his second European rallycross championship in two weeks after winning the Division 2 Final at Buxtehude, Germany.