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Munster Autotest in Ennis

CLARE Motor Club’s first event of the 2015 season kicks into action this weekend, when the club hosts rounds 3 and 4 of the 2015 Premier Autoparts Munster Autotest Championship. Limerick Motor Club hosted the opening two rounds and the top three drivers are fighting for top position. Timmy Lynch from Killorglin leads the series in his Westfield rear wheel drive sports car, followed by Ian White and Paddy Power, who are both driving Minis. The event takes place at Clare Marts on the Quin Road, Ennis on Saturday, with action commencing at 3pm and beginning again on Sunday at 11am.

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Hailstorms hampering M18 driving

SEVERE and sudden hailstorms are affecting the M18 more than most other roads, are all but impossible to forecast and have led to accidents on the route, according to the National Roads Authority (NRA). Clare TD Joe Carey raised concerns about the Crusheen-Gort section of the route in the Dáil and he subsequently received a letter from programme and regulatory manager of the NRA, Gary Carey. The NRA official stated, “There would appear to be a particular problem associated with hailstorms along the M18, which seem to be more frequent along this route than at other locations throughout the national road motorway network. “It was such a hailstorm on January 13, 2015, which resulted in skidding accidents and the closure of the road for a time by An Garda Síochána. “It is worth noting that some of the hailstorms recorded had such intensity that at one point they caused the road surface temperature to drop by approximately 5oC in a …

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New guidelines to reduce speeding

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has published a new document, the aim of which is to provide advice and guidance to those charged with responsibility for imposing speed limits. Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits will also ensure that greater consistency is applied where speed limits are concerned. The guidelines provide for the introduction of new road signage to deal with speed limits in rural areas on minor local roads and for the implementation of new urban ‘Slow Zones’ in residential areas to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h. Minister Donohoe said, “Speed limits should not be seen by drivers as setting a target speed, or as being appropriate in all conditions, nor are they intended to be. Drivers must, take responsibility to drive at a safe speed appropriate to the particular road and surrounding environment, while not exceeding the posted speed limit’. “The purpose of the guidelines is to provide advice and guidance to local authority engineers, and …

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Ford's GT will have a limited production run. It's powered by a twin turbo 3.5 litre V6 producing more than 600 bhp.

High performance rules at Geneva

After the years of doom and gloom, it was wonderful to see the Geneva Show back to its sparkling self, with a plethora of new sports cars launched. Ranging from faster versions of more ordinary cars to real dream machines, there was something for everyone, demonstrating that the motor industry at last seems to have got its Mojo back. We first saw the Pininfarina Sergio as a concept at Geneva two years ago and there was no indication it would ever go into production yet it made a return this year as a full production car albeit with a run of only six cars. Based on the Ferrari 458 Spider, it’s official name is now the Pininfarina Ferrari Sergio. Also in the concept realm was the Quantino, a quite breathlessly gorgeous creation although in this case, there was even more going on under the skin. Powered by Nano electricity, essentially two tanks of ionic liquids, one with a positive charge, …

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European Car of the Year 2015 - Volkswagen Passat.

Volkswagen Passat takes Euro COTY title

On the eve of the press opening of the Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen Passat has been awarded the title of European Car of the Year 2015. It won out by some margin over its nearest rival. “We are extremely proud of this accolade,” said Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen, at the prize-giving ceremony in Geneva. “In the new Passat we have again succeeded in developing a car that sets the standards for its class in terms of technology and quality. This honour is a tremendous confirmation for the work of our engineers, designers and the entire team. The new Passat shows that the Volkswagen brand has the right answers to the challenges of our time.” One of the oldest and most well-known awards in Europe, Car of the Year has been honouring the best new releases in the car industry every year since 1964. The jury, consisting of 58 European motoring journalists from 22 countries, had nominated seven candidates …

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The SEAT Leon X-Perience in the early morning frost at Brook Lodge in Wicklow.

Are you X-Perienced?

To lightly paraphrase the words of the late Jimi Hendrix – Are you X-Perienced? Well I am, as I’ve driven the Leon X-Perience, the first 4×4 ever produced by Spanish firm, SEAT. The Leon is now their best selling model, so it makes sense to start from here, although we’re told that this particular model is only the first of a number of four wheel drive cars which will come onto the market over the next few years. The X-Perience is based on the ST or estate model and for this particular application, the looks have been suitably machoed up with more rugged bumpers, black roof rails and crucially for off-road ability, a ride height raised by 30mm. To take advantage of the extra ground clearance, grip is enhanced by a fifth generation Haldex four wheel drive system, which normally sends all power to the front pair of wheels. As conditions dictate, though, up to 90% of torque can instantly …

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Weather alert: Frost, sleet and snow

We can prepare for frost, sleet and snow is over the next few days, according to Met Éireann. Showery rain will develop near western coasts during this afternoon (Monday) with some sleet or wet snow this evening inland in western counties. Highest afternoon temperatures of 3 or 4 degrees C. in most areas, about 6 or 7 degrees C. on parts of the west coast. Tonight will be very cold and frosty and icy. Showery rain will occur on western and northern coasts overnight, with snow showers expected inland, these mostly affecting parts of Ulster, Connacht and west Munster. Minimum temperatures 0 to minus 5 Celsius with the risk of some freezing fog patches in some eastern areas Tomorrow, Tuesday will be cold and wintry in places in the morning with widespread frost and ice. A mix of hail, sleet and snow showers in places, but these will become confined to western and northern coastal areas in the afternoon and …

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Williams and ex-Ferrari Formula One driver, Felipe Massa, at Shannon this week. Photo John Galvin.

Felipe Massa’s pit stop at Genworth

WILLIAMS RACING Formula One driver, Felipe Massa took a pit stop on his pre-season schedule to visit Genworth’s International Business Centre in Shannon on Thursday afternoon. Following a tour of the new state-of-the-art workplace located in Westpark Business Campus, Genworth staff based in Shannon and those travelling over from Europe, Latin America and China had the opportunity to attend a question and answer session with Felipe Massa before the driver showed off his skills on a Formula One simulator. “Felipe Massa’s visit has been a resounding success thanks to his passion, and the enthusiasm of Genworth’s staff. Felipe is a proven race winner, with 11 wins and 36 podiums to his name, and for a driver as passionate about his work as Felipe, team spirit, excellence and integrity are as much a part of his professional ethos as they are for Genworth,” said Bob Brannock, president, international protection, Genworth. “Our new Shannon-based International Business Centre supports the needs of over …

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