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Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy crews deliver solid Sweden performances



Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Aoife Raftery and co-driver Hannah McKillop exceeded pre-event expectations on the BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia.



In doing so they have retained their top-five championship position in Junior FIA European Rally Championship.



Driving a PCRS Rallysport-prepared Peugeot 208 Rally4, she and McKillop finished seventh in the category, two places better than their Canary Islands result last month.



Raftery, aware that many of her rivals had pre-event experience of the Swedish rally, drove a solid and trouble-free rally to ensure more valuable points are collected ahead of the fourth round in Estonia in July.


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The crew significantly improved their gravel pace compared with their speed on the previous ERC gravel rally in Hungary in April and also improved stage by stage throughout the event.

“These are the best roads I have ever driven on,” she said. “The stages are just class. This is the most fun I have ever had in a rally car, the roads, the stages, the feeling in the car, it is the best gravel rally I have ever done.”


She also praised her team for their support over the three-day event.


“Hannah did an incredible job on the notes, massive thanks to her, the support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy has been brilliant before and during the rally, thanks to my sponsors who made it all happen, the crew of mechanics at PCRS and Hankook Tires.”

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The  BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia was another massive learning curve for Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy crew Jon Armstrong and Eoin Treacy. 



Fermanagh-based driver Jon Armstrong, on the third event of his first season at the top ERC level, at the wheel of the M-Sport and Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy supported Ford Fiesta Rally2, found the stages challenging and enjoyable, building pace as the event progressed.



Cork man Eoin Treacy continues his upward trajectory in international rallying. It was also his third rally with Jon at the top European level. Treacy is dovetailing his ERC commitment with Armstrong with an American Rally National Rally championship campaign alongside Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy founder and patron John Coyne.



The Swedish event proved to be very challenging.  The Karlstad-based rally was run over very fast gravel roads made famous by Rally Sweden.



Despite recording their first non-finish this season  - a wayward branch damaged a water cooling pipe and they were forced to withdraw before risking further engine damage - the crew were happy with their performance.



Treacy said: “It is very different, the stages are fast and technical, I had to learn how to read the speed we are travelling at, the nature of the roads changes a lot in terms of speed.”


Championship regulations meant they had to run fourth on the road on Friday and third on Saturday meaning they effectively swept the loose grave off the road surface for the following cars.




Armstrong said: “It was very slippery, and it was not easy running close to the front of the field but our pace was much closer to the frontrunners on Saturday [before retirement] which was  good to see.”

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Text by Sean Moriarty / Pics by Msport, PCRS and MI Rally Academy

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