Junior World Rally Championship contender Rob Duggan will start the second round of his 2017 campaign on this weekend’s Rally Italia Sardinia. It’s been 2 months since the season opening round in Corsica and the 24 year old driver from Killarney will be looking to build upon his 6th place finish on that event.
Sardinia is the first loose surface event in the Junior World Rally Championship calendar and the Mediterranean island has earned a fearsome reputation since it was first included in the World Championship calendar in 2004. Duggan however, remains unperturbed, despite the fact he will have a new co-driver for this rally. Tom Woodburn will slot into the seat normally filled by Ger Conway as Conway is getting married this weekend. “I suppose it’s a decent excuse” smiled Duggan speaking ahead of the rally. “It’ll be a pity not to have Ger aboard as usual but Tom is an excellent replacement and I’m looking forward to working with him. Sardinia is a completely different rally to anything I will have done before, dust for example could be a significant factor. Having talked to people who have been here in the past, running down the field like we will be can leave you vulnerable to picking up punctures and suspension damage so we will have to be mindful of that, especially on the second pass over stages. We learned a lot in Corsica but didn’t come away with the points we wanted so a strong haul of points here would put us right back on track. I’m looking forward to using the DMACK Tyres on gravel again and to continue to build up my loose surface experience. A good result would be a nice wedding present for Ger and Ciara!”
Following a super special stage on Thursday night, the 2017 Rally Italia Sardinia will start in earnest on Friday with 8 stages. Saturday will see the crews cover 6 tests while Sunday sees 4 stages, giving a total competitive route of 312km. Open to drivers born after 1 January 1988, the 2017 Junior World Rally Championship will follow an arrive-and-drive format and competitors will drive identical Ford Fiesta R2Ts. The Junior WRC will be contested over six WRC rounds, – starting in Corsica, then Italy, Poland, Finland and Germany before finishing in Spain. Points will be awarded to the top-ten finishers according to the usual WRC points system and an additional point will be awarded for each fastest stage time.