BTRDA RE­TURN FOR MCCLOSKEY IN MINI

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

North­ern Ire­land’s Con­nor Mccloskey will con­test the open­ing four rounds of this year’s Ravenol BTRDA Rally Cham­pi­onship in an ex-works Mini World Rally Car pre­pared by Mcgeehan Mo­tor­sport.

Nav­i­gated by close friend and new team-mate Damien Duf­fin, Mccloskey will open his ac­count on next month’s sea­son-open­ing Cam­brian Rally in North Wales, and fol­low that up with out­ings on March’s Mal­colm Wil­son Rally, the Som­er­set Stages five weeks later and the Plains Rally in mid-may.

De­pend­ing on per­for­mances and points gained at the half­way mark in the cham­pi­onship, Mccloskey could re­turn for the re­main­der of the sea­son, which in­cludes the Carlisle and Wood­pecker ral­lies.

“We’ve just man­aged to sell the S11 Subaru Im­preza I had,” said Mccloskey. “I ap­proached Derek Mcgeehan about do­ing a few ral­lies in one of his Mi­nis and he came back to us with a de­cent of­fer. I haven’t ac­tu­ally driven the Mini yet but Derek has taken me up the road in one and straight away I was im­pressed with it. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to do­ing some ral­lies in a 1.6-litre World Rally Car.”

He added he had con­sid­ered the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship: “It was a choice be­tween the North­ern Ire­land Rally Cham­pi­onship and the BTRDA. I had looked at the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship, but the costs are just crazy, so that made my de­ci­sion eas­ier.”

The deal has been made pos­si­ble with the back­ing of a new team spon­sor, which Mccloskey is set to an­nounce in due course. He will also re­ceive sup­port from the fam­ily busi­ness, Wood­land Kitchens.

Mccloskey is no stranger to the BTRDA, hav­ing fin­ished a close se­cond to Euan Thor­burn in the 2013 cham­pi­onship. Six podium fin­ishes – in­clud­ing three vic­to­ries from eight starts – didn’t go un­re­warded as he went on to clinch the Welsh For­est Rally Cham­pi­onship.

Meeke drove sim­i­lar Mini Mccloskey was close to 2013 ti­tle

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