Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Neil Howard re­port, p17 Photo: Kevin Money

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.

Ju­nior ti­tle win­ner O’sul­li­van got R5 chance

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