O’brien in dual BRC and Irish title bids
Omagh’s Patrick O’brien looks set to campaign two different specification Mitsubishi Lancers in this year’s Irish Forest and British Rally championships.
O’brien says his main focus is to challenge for the Forest title using a Lancer E9 and a showroom-class BRC 2 variant for selected rounds of the British competition starting with April’s two-day Circuit of Ireland.
Having clinched the Junior Forest title last year, the 19-yearold reckons he can go one better and lift the overall crown following a perfect score with team-mate Aine Mcguigan on the WM Loughman Rally.
“Anytime I enter a championship I go with the aim of winning it,” he said. “I won the Junior section last year and I would really like to win it outright this year. I’m told that I’m the youngest person to ever lead a national championship in Ireland. Some people may think that I’m inexperienced but I’ve been rallying since I was a 12-yearold. I believe I have the ability to do well and I can mount a serious challenge.”
He added: “We’ll start our BRC 2 campaign at the circuit and do the next two rounds after that. We’ll evaluate where we are in the championship at that point and decide if we should or shouldn’t continue.”
O’brien has made the transition from piloting a Citroen C2 R2 to a Mitsubishi Lancer and he says there is more to come in terms of speed and results as he gets more miles under his belt.
“I find four-wheel drive a lot easier to drive than the R2 car we used. It’s much more stable on bumps – it doesn’t move about as much on fast sections. I did some set-up work last year in an Evo and I felt it was something I could go fast in. When the car feels this good it gives me a lot of confidence.”
Earlier this month O’brien was one of seven people selected for Team Ireland – a new initiative that aims to help and support promising young drivers by offering physical and psychological help.