O’brien in dual BRC and Ir­ish ti­tle bids

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

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.

O’brien: BRC in April

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