Ford Fiesta R5 driver Stephen Wright suffered a mixed event on his first outing in the European Rally Championship since last June. Stephen, and co-driver Mikie Galvin’s encouraging start on the first day of the Circuit of Ireland was tempered with a small excursion on the final day of the rally which forced the former Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year to retire.
Speaking after the event Stephen said; “We were surprised with our times on the opening day. It took us some time to adjust to the control tire and we drove well within ourselves in tricky conditions but to by lying 6th overnight in such a competitive field on only our second proper rally in the R5 Fiesta was a great feeling.”
Early on day two though, Stephen and Mikie ran into difficulty. “I dropped my concentration for a split second and got caught out on some loose gravel, running wide and clipping a tree – right in front of the Eurosport helicopter camera! The damage was not severe, but enough to put us out of the event. We were having a great battle for 5th place with Sam Moffett and Euan Thorburn so it was disappointing to miss out on a potentially great result. It was such a shame as the team put in a huge effort in the weeks running up to the event to ensure the car was at its best and it would have been nice to repay them with a result but we have to be pleased with our pace and hopefully it’s a sign of better things to come.”
Next up for Stephen is his local event, the Monaghan Stages Rally, in just three weeks’ time. Despite being his home rally, Stephen has only done it once in the last six years but it’s still a rally he is really looking forward to. “The event is likely to attract a top class entry but hopefully we can turn out a good result in front of the home crowd” said Stephen this week.
You can keep up to date with Stephen and Mikie over the season by following them on Twitter @StephenWr1ght and @GalvinMikie. Stephen is competing this season with the support of the Killyhevlin Hotel and Health Club, Spanwright and Lafarge Tarmac.Read more →
“Having spent most of last year competing abroad I am fully aware of how hard the European Championship regulars will be pushing on the Circuit,” said Stephen ahead of this weekend’s event. “It’s unlikely on just our second event that we’ll be pushing the front runners but it is also not every day that you get an opportunity to race at the top flight of the ERC so hopefully when we get settled in we can punch in some good times. These event require a different level of preparation and everyone has been working really hard so we’re all now looking forward to getting started! I was delighted with how the car performed in West Cork.”
After qualifying and a ceremonial start on Thursday evening, the Circuit of Ireland starts on Good Friday morning where the crews will tackle 18 stages over 2 days with the winners returning eventually to Belfast’s Titantic Quarter at 6.35pm on Saturday. With a number of spectator stages laid on by the organisers it will be great chance for the public to see the stars and their cars up close. It’s something Stephen is keen to point out. “It was really noticeable how the wider public showed an interest in the Circuit of Ireland last year, the crowds were fantastic. Hopefully this year the event can raise the bar even higher.”
You can keep up to date with Stephen and Mikie over the weekend by following them on Twitter @StephenWr1ght and @GalvinMikie. Stephen is competing this season with the support of the Killyhevlin Hotel and Health Club, Spanwright and Lafarge Tarmac.Read more →
Stephen Wright, last year’s Motorsport Ireland Young Rally driver of Year, has secured the use of an R5 Ford Fiesta for the 2015 season. The talented Monaghan driver is stepping back up to four wheel drive after a season campaigning an R2 Peugeot 208. R5 cars are few and far between in Ireland at the moment but Stephen is confident he’s made the correct decision.
Speaking earlier he said; “The Billy Coleman Award provided us with a great opportunity in 2014. Although we ventured beyond our comfort zone it really stimulated my development and we soon began producing the results we had set out for, culminating in two of my best results to date at the end of last year. It was important to put this experience to good use and we gave our plans for 2015 careful consideration. The R5Read more →