Choice of cham­pi­onship will de­pend on the year’s early re­sults

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Ja­son Craig Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey

Ul­ster­man Desi Henry has said that early re­sults will de­ter­mine whether he chal­lenges for hon­ours in ei­ther the Ir­ish Tar­mac or MSA Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship in his new R5-spec Skoda Fabia this year.

Henry has con­firmed his place on the start­line for the first rounds of both com­pe­ti­tions – next month’s closed-roads Gal­way In­ter­na­tional Rally fol­lowed by the Mid Wales Stages in March.

Henry took de­liv­ery of the Skoda Mo­tor­sport-de­vel­oped car last week af­ter find­ing a new home for the Su­per 2000 Fabia he drove last year.

“I’ll start both cham­pi­onships and, de­pend­ing on how we do, a de­ci­sion will have to be made about which one we fol­low af­ter that,” said Henry. “I would like to take the car to the Done­gal Mini Stages and get some seat time in it be­fore we head off to Gal­way. It should be a good shake­down for us.

“With the new Skoda Fabia be­ing tur­bocharged we should be that bit faster than last year. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to get­ting a drive in it. It hasn’t been seen, or used, on Ir­ish roads be­fore. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the it per­forms.”

Both the MSA Bri­tish Rally and Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onships have gone down the R5/S2000 route and the re­sponse from com­peti­tors has been favourable – proof, Henry says, that it was the cor­rect move. He be­lieves com­pe­ti­tion at the head of the field will be the tough­est it has been for a very long time.

“The new reg­u­la­tions are go­ing to make for two very ex­cit­ing cham­pi­onships,” he said. “For Gal­way we want to be on the pace right from the off so the team is go­ing to have to work hard on the set-up be­fore­hand. This year rep­re­sents our best pos­si­ble chance to be com­pet­i­tive.”

April’s Cir­cuit of Ire­land rally forms part of both cham­pi­onships.

Fabia has been de­liv­ered to Henry

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