top of page

A week in the life of the Rally Academy – 4 Countries – 5 Rallies 

Updated: Apr 10



It is a very busy time for Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy with members competing in events in four different countries in the space of one week. 


On Saturday, Wiliam Creighton and Liam Regan resume their British Rally  Championship campaign on the Severn Valley Rally. 


The M-Sport-backed crew finished second on the opening round, the all-tarmac North West Stages, last month, but are looking forward to the switch to gravel for the Rallynuts Severn Valley Rally. 




“I think you know we'll just take the same approach as we did in the first round and focus on our own event,” he said.

“There are guys there who would have good experience of these stages and the event is in their backyard. We are in no doubt that the pace will be very fast and they will be on it from the very beginning of the day - we are just going to take it as it comes and focus on our own thing.” 



Over 100 kilometres of world-class stages lie ahead, with classics such as Myherin and Hafren Sweet Lamb on offer during a non-stop day of action. Those forest tests have hosted the best drivers in the world in the past, with Wales Rally GB famously visiting the region for many years, witnessing World Rally champions crowned and hopes dashed in the daunting tree-lined route.



“This is our first time on gravel with the Fiesta so it's another new experience,” he added.

 

“Obviously, we have got Croatia coming up next but after that, there is a string of gravel World Rally Championship events so this is a nice opportunity for us to get the grips with the car on that surface. It is actually my first gravel event in the UK in a four-wheel drive car.”


The rally is using classic Rally GB stages and a very nice opportunity for Liam and I to get to drive those stages in a top car.”

The rally is the second round of the  Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup.


Three Rally Academy members are committed to the all-new one-make championship for both Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa Rally4 machines. 


Promoted by race and rally it allows drivers to compete for a staggering €75,000 prize fund across eight epic events in Ireland and Britain. 



Cain Caldwell was second in the opening round, of the West Cork Rally in March. 


"I am really looking forward to taking my first trip across the seas to Wales to compete in the Severn Valley Stages. This will also be my first time completing a recce in the woods which I am excited to do," Caldwell said.


"Some great stages lie ahead of us and I am excited to take on the Welsh gravel. Ioan Lloyd for sure is going to be fast out there along with Keelan Grogan and Robert Proudlock so it is going to be a difficult day's rallying between us. I am going to be focusing on myself and will be trying to get into a nice rhythm from the start."



Seven stages will decide the contest, with Kyle McBride and Darragh Mullen set to be the first of the nine Peugeot 208 Rally4s to leave the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells on Saturday morning. 


“I am looking forward to getting going at the weekend and cannot wait to get back on the gravel, said McBride. 


“My first event in the car was the Killarney Forestry Rally at the start of the year so it is good to have a little bit of experience on the gravel before we head to Wales. I am really looking forward to getting the recce underway on Friday.” 

Keelan Grogan and Ayrton Sherlock are the third Academy crew entered in the Mid-Wales event. Like McBride, he endured a difficult West Cork Rally. 



“We will be looking to get back on track with a good finish this weekend,” he said. 

“That being said the level of competition will be very high so we will have to be fast but keep our noses clean and make sure we are there at the finish line.”


CROATIA 

Eamonn Kelly prepared for round two of the Junior World Rally Championship by contesting a national rally in Croatia over the weekend.



Kelly and co-driver Conor Mohan were one of four JWRC contenders to enter the Quattro River Rally which used roads very similar to Rally Croatia and three of the 12 stages will be used in the WRC event a few weeks later – albeit in reverse.



The Irish crew finished ninth overall and fifth in class after their hired Ford Fiesta Rally3 suffered intercooler issues on Saturday. 


Burt their main reason for contesting the event was to gain seat time ahead of the Junior WRC counter later this month and in that respect, it was a case of mission accomplished.

 

"Sunday was a pretty good day, we were pretty happy with the car and our times, not too far off the Rally2 times, and that is the main reason were there,” said Kelly. 


“It was a brilliant test and a productive couple of days." 


HUNGARY 

Three Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy crews are entered in this weekend’s Rally Hungary, the opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship.


Jon Armstrong and Eoin Treacy will make their debut in an M-Sport / Rally Academy-supported Ford Fiesta Rally2. 



Aoife Raftery and Hannah McKillop and Jack Brennan and John McGrath will form a two-car team in the Junior element of the championship. 



They will drive a pair of PCRS Rallysport-supported Peugeot 208 Rally4 cars on the three-day event that gets underway on Friday night. 


IRELAND

Two members of the Rally Academy contested the second round of the Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship in Monaghan on Sunday. 




Local driver Jack McKenna continues to come to terms with his newly acquired Ford Fiesta Rally2. He and co-driver Emmet Sherry finished 18th overall despite clutch issues hampering progress during the early stages of the event. 



Craig Rahill and Conor Smith looked odds on to win the Rally4 class but beached their Ford Fiesta on a tight hairpin on the rally’s final stage and were demoted to third at the finish.



The Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series continues at the Carrick-on-Suir Forestry Rally on Sunday. Rahill is one of two Rally Academy drivers entered in the event and will be joined by Ryan MacHugh in another Fiesta.



Text By Sean Moriarty

0 comments

Commentaires


bottom of page