Stephen and Susanne Wright got their 2014 season off to a character building start on the season opening Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally last weekend. Stephen, who is the current Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year, used the rally to get used to his brand new Peugeot 208 R2 rally car that he will campaign in Belgium for the majority of this year.
Treacherous conditions made the Galway stages particularly difficult for competing crews and despite having only had a short test in the car, Stephen was instantly on the pace in class 2 swapping times with Cork driver Ian Chadwick. Unfortunately, on the penultimate stage of the first day Stephen clipped one of Galway’s many dry stone walls forcing him to retire the Killyhevlin Hotel and Irish Sports Council backed car with a broken trackrod end.
With only minimal damage, there was a possibility to fix the car and rejoin the rally for day 2 but it would require a mammoth effort by the Wright Rally Team. Fellow competitor Frank Byrnes generously allowed the use of his body repair shop in Oranmore and Keith Rainey and his team got to work. Replacement parts were borrowed from fellow Peugeot 208 drivers Richard Tannahill and Andy Slattery and after working long into the night, Stephen and Susanne rejoined the rally on Sunday morning. Stephen used the remaining miles of the rally to build up his confidence and speed in the new car and was greatly encouraged by his times on the final day taking 6 fastest times on his way to the finish.
“Despite the slight set-back on Saturday we can take a lot of positives away from this event. Thankfully everybody’s efforts to get us back onto the stages on Sunday were justified with solid progress. We are feeling comfortable in the car and as we began to push harder the stage times looked promising. Now our focus shifts to preparing for our first trip to Belgium in a few weeks – we really can’t wait!”
Stephen and Susanne start their Belgian adventure with the Haspengouw Rally on the 21st and 22nd of this month. You can follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenWr1ght and find out more information on the Wright Rally Team by visiting www.wrightrally.com.Read more →
The 2013 Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year, Stephen Wright, starts his 2014 campaign this weekend on the Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally in his brand new Peugeot 208 R2 rally car. It will be his first event of what promises to be a very exciting season for the talented young Monaghan driver.
Stephen plans to use the season opening Galway International Rally to get used to his new car in preparation for the opening round of the BFO Belgian Rally Championship, the Haspengouw Rally at the end of the month. Along with selected Irish rallies, Stephen plans to tackle the 8 round Belgian series, incorporating the Peugeot 208 Belgian Rally Cup with his sister Susanne calling the all-important pacenotes.
“It’s been a very busy winter trying to get everything organised but thankfully everything has fallen into place just in time for Galway, we can’t wait to get the 208 onto the stages to see what it can do!”
The siblings enjoyed a superb 2013 season taking the honours in the hotly contested Group N category of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and Stephen is looking forward to the prospect of a new challenge this season.
“There is no denying the scale of the challenge we face this season, but hopefully my experience in the Fiesta ST will stand us in good stead for the year ahead. We will take the first couple of events to acclimatise to the car, left hand drive and Belgian tarmac and then hopefully start threatening the frontrunners – we want to ensure come the end of the season, we are still in the frame for Championship victory.”
Stephen and Susanne would like to thank all their sponsors, Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Sports Council for pledging their support for the season ahead. If you want to keep tabs on the Wright’s progress this weekend in Galway make sure to follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenWr1ght and check out wrightrally.comRead more →