Photos: FIA ERC, mck­lein­im­age­database.com, Roy Demp­ster “Cham­pi­onships last joined 25 years ago”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Rally North Wales re­port, p30

Alan Carmichael has landed a deal to drive the car that helped Finn Juho Hanninen to out­right vic­tory on the 2012 Cir­cuit of Ire­land this week­end.

Carmichael – who will be nav­i­gated once again by Ivor La­mont – is con­fi­dent the S2000-spec Skoda Fabia can win the Pro­duc­tion Class bat­tle in the Na­tional Rally el­e­ment of the Cir­cuit of Ire­land.

If all goes well with the left-hand-drive Czech ma­chine, which will be pre­pared by Derek Jobb, he could com­mit to the rest of the North­ern Ire­land Cham­pi­onship.

“The car is def­i­nitely ca­pa­ble of win­ning its class and fin­ish­ing inside the top 10,” he said. “I won Group N on the Cir­cuit back in 2009 and I’d like to re­peat that if I can. Driv­ing on the left is also go­ing to take some get­ting used to but I’m hop­ing to ar­range a test in the car be­fore the Cir­cuit and hope­fully that will be a help.

“I know from talk­ing to dif­fer­ent peo­ple that you have to carry as much speed into the cor­ners as pos­si­ble and adopt an at­tack- minded at­ti­tude with it. My driv­ing style is quite ag­gres­sive and that should suit the Fabia. If I make it to the fi­nal loop of stages on the sec­ond day only then will I start to feel com­fort­able. I’ll need time to set­tle down and find my rhythm.”

Finn Hanninen be­came only the sec­ond non-bri­tish or Ir­ish driver to win the Cir­cuit of Ire­land in 2012, which he did by 44 sec­onds from An­dreas Mikkelsen. Es­apekka Lappi and Gus­tavo Saba have both driven the car since.

Lappi and Saba have driven car

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