Allen plans two years in ITRC with Fabia

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Philip Allen, the son of the late North­ern Ire­land Rally cham­pion Glenn, has com­mit­ted to do­ing the Ir­ish Tar­mac Rally Cham­pi­onship for the next two sea­sons in an Evo 2-spec­i­fi­ca­tion Skoda Fabia R5.

Be­gin­ning his cam­paign at the one-day Gal­way In­ter­na­tional Rally on Fe­bru­ary 10, Allen says that 2019 is all about fa­mil­iaris­ing him­self with each of the seven rounds and grad­u­ally in­creas­ing his speed in the se­ries.

To date, the 26-year-old has en­tered three closed-road com­pe­ti­tions. Allen fin­ished fourth on the Tyrone Stages but re­tired from both the Tour of the Sper­rins Rally and the Ul­ster In­ter­na­tional Rally.

“The Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship is where many of the top R5 driv­ers are head­ing,” Allen told MN.

“Some peo­ple might think this is quite a big jump for some­one like me, but you have to re­mem­ber that my first proper rally was in a Mini World Rally Car. Be­fore ev­ery Ir­ish Tar­mac round we will test. There’s a huge amount of ef­fort go­ing into this by lots of peo­ple; we want to do it right.

“At the end of the year we should have a clearer idea of where we stand, and make what­ever changes nec­es­sary to hit the ground run­ning in 2020.

“I did the Ul­ster Rally back in Au­gust and I learnt so much from it. You might have a bad first day but you can re­set for the se­cond one and go again. You just can’t do that on one-day ral­lies,” he added.

Allen’s Fabia broke cover for the first time at the Tur­key Run Rally over Christ­mas, where he suf­fered is­sues and fin­ished 64th. Pur­chased from Wev­ers Mo­tor­sport in Hol­land, the Fabia will be prepped by Mcgee­han Mo­tor­sport.

For­mer British Rally Cham­pi­onship fron­trun­ner Neil Wear­den will com­pete in his se­cond rally in 10 years for the re­vamped North West Stages, which in­cludes close­droad tests this year.

Wear­den, most fa­mous for his ex­ploits in a Vaux­hall As­tra in the BRC’S in­fa­mous F2 era, will drive a one-off Hyundai built for Wales Rally GB in 2014.

The North West Stages – slated for March 23 – launched with a me­dia day at My­er­scough Col­lege last week, and has taken ad­van­tage of new laws which make it eas­ier for events to ob­tain road-clo­sure per­mits.

“One of the stages is two miles from my front door, so I couldn’t let it hap­pen with­out be­ing a part of it,” ex­plained Wear­den, who stopped com­pet­ing full-time at the end of the 2001 WRC sea­son.

“I still have itchy feet. This has re­lit the fire. We’ve bought a car and we’ll see how we get on. We’re just so busy with our lit­tle fam­ily busi­ness.”

The Hyundai Wear­den will use was built by no­to­ri­ous F2-prepa­ra­tion ace Steve Black’s 586 Sport for Oliver Mar­riage to use on Wales Rally GB. It fea­tures a 1.6-litre en­gine pro­duc­ing around 180bhp, with power go­ing to the front wheels.

“It prob­a­bly looks a lot faster than it is, it’s only got 180bhp, but we’ve done a few tests in it now and I’m re­ally happy with it,” added Wear­den.

“I fin­ished my ca­reer in WRC stuff and then went back to Mk2 Escorts, but deep down, from my ca­reer, it is front-wheel-drive I’ve had the most suc­cess in.”

Wear­den will be co-driven on the event by Cal­lum Cross, while pe­riod F2 co-driver Trevor Agnew will help with lo­gis­tics.

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