North­ern Ir­ish­man for two-car Tiger Risk Rally Team ef­fort In­sur­ance for all your ral­ly­ing needs

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By David Evans Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey, Writ­tle Pho­to­graphic

North­ern Ir­ish­man Marty Mccor­mack will step up to a Skoda Fabia R5 for a Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship as­sault next sea­son.

Mccor­mack has pur­chased an ex-neil Simp­son R5 and will tackle two gravel ral­lies – in­clud­ing Fe­bru­ary’s Cam­brian Rally – as a warm-up for the Mid Wales Stages opener a month later.

The 31-year-old en­joyed mixed re­sults in a spo­radic Skoda Fabia S2000-based BRC cam­paign this sea­son, but pre-sea­son prac­tice on the loose will help him step up for 2017.

“It’s bril­liant news for next year,” said Mccor­mack. “I did the deal with Tiger Risk, my spon­sor, just when I was leav­ing to com­pete on the Rally Aus­tralia Clas­sic – so that was a pretty good week! I’m look­ing for­ward to test­ing the Fabia R5 as soon as pos­si­ble and do­ing those ex­tra cou­ple of events be­fore Mid Wales will help me on the gravel, that’s where I’ve felt I needed a bit of work. Even do­ing the rally in Aus­tralia in the Es­cort [Mk2] helped me, I learned more about mak­ing notes and things like that.”

Mccor­mack added that he had no doubts about re­turn­ing to BRC next sea­son.

“The BRC’S great,” he said, “it’s a good cal­en­dar and it suits me with work. I’ll run the car my­self again next year. To be hon­est, I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting my head down and giv­ing this one a good whack. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity with a fan­tas­tic spon­sor and bril­liant car.”

Mccor­mack has com­peted in an R5 car be­fore, driv­ing an A-style Ford Fi­esta R5 on four WRC2 in 2014.

“That wouldn’t have been the best ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “But what con­vinced me of the need to move to R5 for next year was stand­ing watch­ing the Fabia R5s in Sweet Lamb on Rally GB. I’d heard the chas­sis was a bit bet­ter, but there was so much more from the en­gine – I was shocked watch­ing them go­ing up the hill there. That’s why I can’t wait to get started next sea­son.”

Mccor­mack forms one half of the Tiger Risk Rally Team, with James Slaugh­ter con­firmed to re­turn to his Ford Fi­esta R5 ran by MSL Motorsport.

Slaugh­ter part­nered Mccor­mack on set rounds this year, with a best fin­ish of 11th in the BRC on the Cir­cuit of Ire­land. It was Slaugh­ter’s first sea­son in a four-wheel-drive car hav­ing driven Es­cort Mk2s in the Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship, which Mccor­mack has won.

“The plan is to do the Mid Wales, then Pirelli, and then it will be a ques­tion of what we do af­ter that,” said Slaugh­ter. “I’d love to go to Ypres but I think go­ing there for the first time in the R5 would be dif­fi­cult. But it is my lo­cal event.

“I’d like to go back to the Nicky Gist as I thought that was a good event. If things are go­ing well we’d like to do GB to con­clude the year. Driv­ing these cars as quickly as the likes of Marty is dif­fi­cult, so we want to keep im­prov­ing and build­ing the speed.”

Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Jack Benyon

In­ex­orably, en­try lev­els on Ir­ish ral­lies have been slip­ping down­wards through the lat­ter part of the 2016 sea­son – al­most cer­tainly, al­though not solely, be­cause of the steep in­sur­ance levy put on com­peti­tors dur­ing the past year.

This came about be­cause the sport suf­fered sev­eral bad ac­ci­dents in pre­vi­ous years. In­sur­ance com­pa­nies are cer­tainly not char­i­ties, hence the hefty sur­charge start­ing at 160 eu­ros per com­peti­tor for a one day rally.

The good news is that over the past 12 months, yes, there was ac­tion aplenty, with no short­age of ‘spills’, but there were no se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents.

The hope is that the levy will even­tu­ally, al­though prob­a­bly not in 2017, start to re­duce. There is still a large claim li­a­bil­ity in the pipe­line and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies tend to work on quite long cy­cles. But per­haps the tide may have turned.

It is no co­in­ci­dence that there has been a turn­around. Richard Tal­bot, who has man­aged the suc­cess­ful MI Na­tional Cham­pi­onship for the past 10 years, is now to be­come chair­man of the Motorsport Ire­land Ral­lies Com­mit­tee. Richard takes over from Ger Healy and it will fall on Richard’s shoul­ders now to guide the sport through the next four years.

Speak­ing from his Tralee base, Richard told us: “I was safety of­fi­cer at the Gal­way In­ter­na­tional Rally at the start of this year. In con­junc­tion with the Ral­lies Com­mit­tee we made a con­struc­tive ef­fort to get the com­peti­tors on board re­gard­ing safety.

“We also put even more pri­or­ity on safety plans and pre­plan­ning than be­fore. Ai­dan Harper, the safety del­e­gate, worked ex­tremely hard at ev­ery as­pect. There is no magic wand, but progress is en­cour­ag­ing.

“We also now have the new Na­tional Rally cham­pion, Roy White, com­ing on to the Ral­lies Com­mit­tee. He, as an ac­tive com­peti­tor, has great in­sight. There is no guar­an­tee that the in­sur­ance will be re­duced, but we are go­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

There is more than one rea­son of course for di­min­ish­ing en­tries. It is agreed that there are too many ral­lies in Ire­land, par­tic­u­larly in the lat­ter half of the sea­son. How­ever ev­ery club feels en­ti­tled to run their rally, or ral­lies. There is just one full closed road stage event left in Ire­land this year, the Kil­lar­ney His­toric. Iron­i­cally it has at­tracted close to 150 en­tries, mainly be­cause it has a spe­cial place in many driver’s diaries.

In­ter­est­ingly the rally didn’t run last year as ‘Storm Des­mond’ rolled into south west of Ire­land from the At­lantic. Such was the dev­as­ta­tion that a state of emer­gency had to be de­clared, so the rally was the last thing on peo­ple’s minds. Hope­fully that will not hap­pen this time, and hope­fully as well the rally will run with­out ma­jor in­ci­dent.

The of­fi­cials can’t do any­thing about the weather, but with the help of the driv­ers and co-driv­ers they can do some­thing on the safety front.

North­ern Ir­ish­man im­pressed in S2000 car Slaugh­ter is hop­ing to re­turn to the Nicky Grist Stages in 2017 Slaugh­ter: drives Fi­esta R5 Mccor­mack gets Fabia R5 Slaugh­ter made R5 de­but ahead of BRC at Brands Hatch in ’16

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.