HANNINEN CIRCUIT WINNER FOR CARMICHAEL JACK BENYON
Photos: FIA ERC, mckleinimagedatabase.com, Roy Dempster “Championships last joined 25 years ago”
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.