RING JOINS IRISH TARMAC IN R5 FIESTA JACK BENYON
NATIONAL RALLYING EDITOR “Evans drove one of the best rallies of his life”
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.