RING JOINS IR­ISH TAR­MAC IN R5 FI­ESTA JACK BENYON

NA­TIONAL RAL­LY­ING EDITOR “Evans drove one of the best ral­lies of his life”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Pho­tos: Son­gas­port Bccc-bound buggy, p25 SEEDED EN­TRY LIST West Cork Rally: Ir­ishtar­mac Cham­pi­onship

Kerry’s Alan Ring will de­but his new-build Ford Fi­esta R5 on this week­end’s West Cork Rally with Adrian Deasy.

Ring – who cam­paigned an S12B Subaru Im­preza WRC th­ese past two sea­sons and bat­tled for Group N hon­ours be­fore that in the Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship – took de­liv­ery of the M-sport ma­chine at the start of the week.

He placed his or­der for the Fi­esta – in­clud­ing the Evo upgrade – to­wards the end of Jan­uary. It and Skoda Mo­tor­sport’s Fabia R5 were the only two cars the Mun­ster Join­ery-backed driver looked at buy­ing.

Ring plans to hold a brief test prior to the Clon­akilty-based event but ad­mits it will take a few ral­lies to adapt from right- to left-hand drive.

“I’m not ex­pect­ing any­thing spec­tac­u­lar in West Cork to be hon­est,” said Ring.

“Left-hand drive is go­ing to be a big change and I will spend much of the first day get­ting used to the idea. If we get West Cork and Kil­lar­ney un­der our belts, I think we’ll be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to chal­lenge at the front.”

Ring was an in­ter­ested spec­ta­tor on last month’s Gal­way Rally as he watched the bat­tle be­tween the R5 and S2000 crews un­fold, and be­lieves the de­ci­sion by Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship bosses to make th­ese the se­ries’ main fo­cus is the right one. “It guar­an­tees close com­pe­ti­tion,” he said. “We saw that on the Gal­way Rally.

“Ev­ery­thing with World Rally Cars is dou­ble the price – or half the price with R5 de­pend­ing on how you look at it. The sheer cost of run­ning a World Rally Car means go­ing down the R5 route is the more sen­si­ble op­tion.”

Im­preza WRC driver Garry Jen­nings is likely the favourite for over­all hon­ours, hav­ing en­tered the event and won the Gal­way opener, but reign­ing cham­pion Don­agh Kelly has en­tered his Ford Fo­cus WRC and will also be a fron­trun­ner. Cham­pi­onship leader Keith Cronin re­turns from a tor­rid BRC round in Mid Wales to head the R5s, ahead of Alas­tair Fisher and Sam Mof­fett.

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