O’SULLIVAN IN R5 TEST
GROUP NATIONAL EDITOR
John O’sullivan got to test an R5 car last weekend at M-sport as part of his prize for winning the Irish Tarmac Junior Championship in 2015.
O’sullivan, who has competed in both the R2 and Modified elements of the ITRC this year, got a ride with recent R5 convert Gus Greensmith before getting to sample the machinery himself.
“It was way more than I was expecting,” said O’sullivan. “I’ve never driven anything fourwheel-drive or anything like that so it was a bit of a shock. It was much easier than I thought it would be to drive. It may be a bit different going ten-tenths down a forest stage, but there it was OK. I have been driving the R2 version of the car this year but the R5 is a jump into the stratosphere. So much grip, power and speed it was all just mind bending!
“I had a passenger run with Gus before we got to drive and after that I was nervous, but it was actually quite comfortable, easier to drive than the R2.”
Joining O’sullivan at the test was 2016 ITRC Junior champion Kevin Horgan, who got a test in an R2 car as part of his prize after taking the championship on the last round of the season in Cork in his Honda Civic.
Chris Ingram was also in attendance, the European front-wheel-drive champion getting his first taste of Ford Fiesta R5 machinery as part of the M-sport customer day. He was joined by British Rally Championship Junior driver Mattias Adielsson.
Ford Fiesta Ford Fiesta R5 Subaru Impreza S12B WRC Ford Escort Mk2 Subaru Impreza WRC Subaru Impreza WRC Ford Escort Mk2 Darrian T9 GTR Ford Escort Mk2 Renault Clio 172 Cup
Organiser: Glenrothes MSC When: November 5 Where: Crail, Fife Championship Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship, Five of Clubs Championship, Border Rally Championship Stages: 6 Starters: 79
It could be argued that Arron Newby and Gary Tomlinson won Saturday’s Kingdom Stages Rally on the first stage.
The Subaru pairing were 18s up on Alan Kirkaldy/ Peter Carstairs and 26s up on Alistair and Colin Inglis at the end of the opening 11-miler leaving those crews to play catch-up all day.
In fact, Kirkaldy’s Ford Escort Mk2 was quicker on each of the next four stages to leave the gap at 7s going into the final seven-mile test. Any threats of a change of leaderboard were dashed as both drivers clocked identical times, leaving Newby clear to take a well-judged win.
Similarly, the Inglis brothers had to settle for third, unable to catch the leaders, although they had to contend with an errant Mitsubishi spinning and blocking the stage momentarily in front of their Lotus Exige on the penultimate test.
John Marshall finished fourth despite having hit a dislodged tyre coursemarker head on. The mounting bar behind the bumper took the brunt of the impact leaving the radiators undamaged.
Ian Paterson was a lucky fifth as the cylinder head bolts had stretched allowing the Subaru Impreza to lose water, but he kept an eye on it. Ross Marshall rounded off the top six in his Ford Escort giving car builder Barry Mckenna a co-driver’s eye view of proceedings.
Stephen Thompson had been on course for a top six finish until his Ford’s engine failed on the last stage. Donnie Macdonald provided some late drama when he tipped the Mitsubishi Lancer on to its side. John Paterson went one better when he parked his Escort on its roof.