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Coyne’s top ten finish in Rally of 100 Acre Wood



Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy founder and patron John Coyne made a return to American rallying at the Rally of the 100 Acre Wood in Missouri over the weekend.

 



Coyne, with Josh McErlean making a one-off appearance in the co-driver seat, brought their PCRS RallySport Hyundai i20N Rally2 to a solid trouble-free eighth overall and second in the RC2 class at last weekend’s second round of the American Rally Association National Championship.



“After eight months out of the driver’s seat I was happy with how quickly I got back up to pace,” said Coyne.


“The event used super-fast stages on Friday, which I really enjoyed and more challenging and technical terrain on Saturday for a total of 175kms in an area between Salem and Potosi, Missouri. The rolling countryside made for lots of blind crests to test the precision of our pacenotes.”

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“Josh did a super job on the notes and overall event management but it's clear he can’t wait to get back in the driver’s seat testing for the start of his WRC2 campaign - no career change imminent.”


McErlean enjoyed the experience too. He had to adapt to the role of co-driver and will use lessons learned in future international events.


He said: “It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to be sat beside John, it’s a credit for a man of his age to do what he is doing in these cars - simply incredible.


“From my side, it was into the unknown, writing notes, calling notes, timecards, road books and some of it in the dark for the first time. It was fantastic, with no penalties and not a mark on the car was a perfect ending to a great story after Johns's short-lived safari adventure behind the wheel. Now it’s back to being a steering wheel attendant for me.“

With McErlean expected to return to competitive driving in Portugal in May, Rally Academy co-driver Eoin Treacy will take over the navigator’s seat for the remainder of the ARA season.

He competed on Rally Costa Bravo in Spain over the weekend, co-driving for his father Alan in the family-owned Toyota Corolla.

 


The rally was run over six stages, each run twice, on some of the famous stages from the Rally Catalunya in the late 1900s and early 2000s.


“Friday was a learning curve adapting to the nature of the roads here and Dad using his own notes for the first time in 20 years."


“In the afternoon we were caught by a poor tyre choice in the rain over the dark stages but we were 23rd overall in the open rally,” said Eoin.


“We had a better run Saturday and were much more comfortable in the car and our times improved. We climbed a few places to finish 16th in the open rally.”


Meanwhile in Portugal over the weekend McErlean’s regular co-driver James Fulton guided Kris Meeke to victory in the Rallye Casinos do Algarve, the second round of the Portuguese Rally Championship.


Driving a Sports and You Hyundai i20 Rally2, for Team Hyundai Portugal, it was their second victory of the season after success on the Fafe Rally last month.


Text By Sean Moriarty

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