A dominant display by 23 year old Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year and current DMACK Junior British Rally Championship leader, Rob Duggan, saw him take his third win of the series on a very challenging Nicky Grist Stages Rally. As a dual surface event, the rally provides a unique challenge with the stages of the opening day taking place on gravel before the cars are changed to tarmac specification for the second day.
Duggan, despite still being somewhat of a gravel novice, produced a stunning performance on Saturday’s wet, gravel stages in his R2 Vauxhall Adam to take an overnight lead of over 25 seconds from championship rival Sindre Furuseth. Duggan was also expecting pressure from Gus Greensmith but the young English driver suffered driveshaft failure on the way to stage 5. With the second day taking place on tarmac, Duggan immediately felt at home on his favoured surface and despite the fearsome reputation of the fast, flowing roads of the Epynt military ranges he managed his lead in impeccable fashion. Behind Rob, his team mate Mattias Adielsson reeled in Furuseth to take second but at the end of the event it was Duggan and co-driver Ger Conway who took the spoils by over half a minute, taking their third junior win from 4 events. The result now means that Duggan has a 25 point lead in the championship with his double points joker still in hand.
Speaking after the event a very pleased Rob commented; “This was one of our best performances in the championship to date and I’m delighted with the result. We pushed very hard on the opening day on the gravel on Saturday and managed our lead on the Sunday. Vauxhall Motorsport UK gave us a fantastic car and for the team to get a 1-2 on the podium was brilliant. The stages were incredibly challenging and the stages on Epynt in particular were really difficult. This win leaves us in a really good position in the championship heading to the Ulster Rally next month. The Ulster Rally this year will be another new rally for us as it has moved base and all the stages will be new to us but that’s been the case on most rallies this year. It’s great to see the hard work myself and Ger are putting in between events is now paying off. Seeing my friends Jon Armstrong and Noel O’Sullivan having success recently on Rally Portugal in the Drive DMACK Cup has really made me want to get to that championship next year.”
The 2016 John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally moves to a new base in Derry City and plans to take in some classic stages to the south east of the city. The event will take place on the 19-20 of August and will have the added difficulty of stages held in darkness.