DUG­GAN ON VERGE OF TI­TLE IN UL­STER

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon

Rob Dug­gan is aim­ing to wrap up this year’s Ju­nior Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tle on the Ul­ster Rally this week­end, be­fore the dou­ble-points sea­son fi­nale. Vaux­hall Adam R2 driver Dug­gan goes into the event with a 25-point lead over clos­est ri­val Sin­dre Fu­ruseth, and will play his dou­ble-points joker. If Dug­gan wins it would make his cham­pi­onship lead unas­sail­able de­spite the final round – Rally Isle of Man in Septem­ber – be­ing worth dou­ble points. De­spite his strong form this sea­son, Dug­gan says he’s de­ter­mined not to get into an all-out fight with Vaux­hall team-mate Mat­tias Adiels­son, who sits third in the points. Dug­gan said: “Mat­tias is go­ing to be men­tal quick, he’ll be go­ing all out for the win. He needs the win to keep his cham­pi­onship go­ing and we need the win to win the cham­pi­onship. Then again, there’s no point get­ting stuck in a bat­tle, we know that we don’t have to win to win the cham­pi­onship. It’d be nice to win on our joker round as no one else has.”

Vic­tory would give Dug­gan a sub­sidised drive in next year’s Drive DMACK Tro­phy which sup­ports the World Rally Cham­pi­onship.

“The prize is a big bonus but be­ing Bri­tish Ju­nior cham­pion is a big thing for me,” added the Kil­lar­ney na­tive. “Af­ter win­ning the Billy Cole­man Award last year, it’d be nice to do that proud and hope­fully I have so far.”

Dug­gan’s clos­est chal­lenger will likely be Adiels­son but the duo should also face com­pe­ti­tion from home favourites Adam Bus­tard and Aaron John­ston. When their Ford Fi­esta R2T has been fully func­tional, the duo have been a chal­lenge for the top three on stage times this year.

Fu­ruseth has im­pressed with his pace in the dated Re­nault Twingo R2, but af­ter mak­ing his as­phalt de­but over Epynt last month, the Nor­we­gian may strug­gle to match the front three.

In BRC 1, all eyes will be on Josh Mof­fett as he is hop­ing to jump into ti­tle con­tention. The Mon­aghan driver could go within 18 points of cham­pi­onship leader El­fyn Evans if the Welsh­man suf­fers a re­tire­ment and Mof­fett wins – with only the dou­ble points Manx re­main­ing. Evans, how­ever, will take the ti­tle if he wins the event over­all.

The Ul­ster – cel­e­brat­ing its 40th anniversary – will also fea­ture the Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship reg­u­lars.

That se­ries is guar­an­teed to go down to the last round (the Cork 20 in Oc­to­ber) with Alas­tair Fisher – nephew of Tar­mac legend Ber­tie – and Sam Mof­fett tied on 54 points in their Ford Fi­esta R5s.

Citroen driver Keith Cronin, three times a Bri­tish cham­pion, is just 4.5 points be­hind in third. De­spite be­ing out of con­tention for the BRC af­ter missing three rounds, he’s still a favourite for the Ir­ish Tar­mac crown.

Garry Jen­nings will also take part in the yet-to-be-ho­molo­gated R5-spec Mit­subishi Mi­rage. Co-driver Rory Kennedy won the event 20 years be­fore with Ber­tie Fisher, and has mul­ti­ple wins un­der his belt in­clud­ing the 2013 rally along­side Jen­nings. R5 cars have been no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult for some to adapt to, but pro­vid­ing Jen­nings set­tles in quickly, he should be a force to be reck­oned with.

Cronin is favourite for Tar­mac ti­tle

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