Dug­gan avoids non-start to take Cir­cuit vic­tory

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Cir­cuit of Ire­land DMACK BRC Ju­nior win­ner Rob Dug­gan al­most failed to start the event af­ter a new en­gine for his Vaux­hall Adam was shipped over from Ger­many and did not ar­rive un­til Wed­nes­day night.

Dug­gan had a tough opener in the cham­pi­onship on the Mid Wales Stages, fin­ish­ing fifth and he is still in­ex­pe­ri­enced on gravel events.

The week­end be­fore the Cir­cuit of Ire­land, the Vaux­hall team went to the Cir­cuit of Kerry as a pre-event test, but a part in the en­gine broke on Dug­gan’s car. Later in the week, it was clear the car needed a new en­gine and the race was on to get the car ready.

“The en­gine came from Ger­many, we only picked it up on Wed­nes­day night,” said Dug­gan. “We started it up af­ter re­plac­ing some parts from Kerry and it needed the change.”

Dug­gan leads Nor­we­gian Sin­dre Fu­ruseth – who played his dou­ble-points joker in Mid Wales – by a sin­gle point.

Oun­in­po­hja is cool, but this is some­thing else.” Ut­ter sacri­lege. I never thought I’d hear any­one even in­sin­u­ate that any stage in the world was bet­ter than Oun­in­po­hja. But this week­end I heard as much from a Scan­di­na­vian no less. Some­one who should be at home in the forests near Jy­vaskyla.

Fredrik Ah­lin was the man to say such words. But here’s a se­cret: I agree with him. I’ve never been to Oun­in­po­hja but as an on­board afi­cionado I’ve seen just about any car driv­ing through the in­fa­mous road, but this week­end’s The Glens stage was, and is, some­thing else.

The look of the driv­ers said it all. Craig Breen was al­most speech­less at the end of it and had to have a laugh as his time went on the board. He was quick­est and de­clared it the best piece of Tar­mac stage in the world. No dis­agree­ment here.

Never have I seen a stage have such an af­fect on driv­ers at a stage end. Af­ter 19 miles, first on the road Ka­je­tan Ka­je­tanow­icz was bright red and his eyes were bulging at the test. “For sure, this is the most dif­fi­cult stage in my life,” he bab­bled.

Credit is due to the or­gan­is­ers for gam­bling on in­clud­ing a stage of 19 plus miles. All it would have taken is a car block­ing the stage and that would have been that, a large chunk of mileage gone. But the gam­ble paid off and those who were there will never for­get the damp and twisty wind through Torr Head and down un­der the viaduct and through some of North­ern Ire­land’s best rally roads.

Credit also must go to the or­gan­is­ers for the in­clu­sion of the live stream­ing.

When the idea was ru­moured for the British cham­pi­onship it was met with a hefty dose of stigma, but the live cov­er­age of the Cir­cuit of Ire­land seemed to gar­ner uni­ver­sal praise, both on so­cial me­dia and in the ser­vice park. Led by WRC com­men­tat­ing leg­end Jon Des­bor­ough, 2003 PWRC cham­pion co-driver Trevor Agnew and with the as­sis­tance of WRC ra­dio’s Lisa O’sul­li­van and WRC co-driver Seb Marshall, the cov­er­age pro­vided unique depth into an event the likes haven’t been seen on a rally in the UK be­fore out­side of Wales Rally GB.

And the live stream meant the team could broad­cast through the day via the stu­dio even if the stage end or pic­tures from the stage weren’t live.

The use of drones was par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive; un­like static cam­eras, they could fol­low cars mak­ing their way up to junc­tions or cer­tain ar­eas and then be guided back for the next car.

Drones are an un­tapped re­source and, with the ob­vi­ous prob­lems thrown up in terms of cap­tur­ing a rally car for as long as pos­si­ble on cam­era, they could well be rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

Much has been made of where Rally TV is head­ing, but if cham­pi­onships or in­di­vid­ual ral­lies can put to­gether cov­er­age of the Cir­cuit of Ire­land’s qual­ity and if it can be made cost ef­fec­tive, then this could be the fu­ture. ● A big thank you to prom­i­nent for­mer com­peti­tor Robert Copeland who fer­ried me around in a Tor­quetronix 400bhp Volkswagen Golf R on Fri­day. Get­ting to the stages was al­most as fun as watch­ing them, with some fan­tas­tic sto­ries to boot.

Dug­gan had a new mo­tor fit­ted

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.