REID MOTORSPORT RECORD SUPERB RESULTS ON ULSTER INTERNATIONAL RALLY Whilst Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely may not have scored a win on the Ulster International Rally, it was a weekend of good results for the Reid Motorsport team, with Eugene ...
REID MOTORSPORT RECORD SUPERB RESULTS ON ULSTER INTERNATIONAL RALLY
Whilst Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely may not have scored a win on the Ulster International Rally, it was a weekend of good results for the Reid Motorsport team, with Eugene finishing a fine second in his WRC Subaru, James Cullen an excellent eighth, and third Irish Group N, and Shaun Reid in twenty third, coping well with the exceptionally slippery and difficult conditions. For Eugene it was disappointment that he didn't record another Ulster Rally win, but his second place means that he has to finish in the top three to tie up the championship, even if rival Mark Higgins scores maximum points on the final round in Cork." There is no doubt I wanted to win the Ulster, but perhaps in our efforts we tried too hard. We picked too adventurous a tyre on the first loop, 100% right for stage one, 100% wrong for stage two, whilst Kris had picked an intermediate which was a safer choice and a choice that was adequate on both tests.
We tried another adventurous choice for the second loop, which worked well only on the last stage. Then the second morning was the nail in the coffin for us, when we choose a slick, and the stage was very greasy. In fact we had one moment up a bank and I just said I've got to drive through, and once we lost that big chunk of time, and more with a puncture on the next test, there was nothing for us to go for." Eugene is a little despondent about the event, but in the circumstances the pressure was very on to finish and record points as a non score would ruin the championship.
"Ok we got the tyres wrong, but its not all about tyres, there is driver error too. I just wasn't feeling as confident in those slippery conditions as I did before my off back on the Galway Rally. I am bitterly disappointed we couldn't put up more of a fight to Kris, and ok in those conditions he has more of an advantage with an active car, but at times he was annihilating us. What can I say bit things didn't just gel for us, and Kris got it right. Before the rally I was under no illusions how fast he would be and he proved that." Eugene has just three weeks to prepare for the finale in Cork, and then the next outing will be the World Championship Rally Ireland in November. "I am looking forward to that. It will be just one rally to think about, and it will be a tough, challenging event."
For James Cullen and Reba Graham, in the Reid Motorsport Group N Evo 9, it was an excellent rally finishing eighth overall and third of the Irish registered Group N drivers, moving James very close to Kevin O' Donoghue for second in the championship race, and still with an outside chance of the title in Cork. "For us it was a good event. We had a minor suspension problem on the first test, but after that the car ran faultlessly. I must say I really enjoyed the night stages. It was like rallying in the old days and there should be more of it. Brilliant!"
Indeed James enthusiasm in the dark brought him up the time sheets, and he finished eighth, just behind British Rally Elite driver Phillip Morrow. "To be honest if I had of realized that the rules allowed Phillip to score points despite not carrying the championship stickers I may have had more of a go at the end to try and get ahead, as he had down dropped nearer to us before the end of the rally, but that's not relevant now. Colm Murphy has a commanding lead in the series, but anything can happen in rallying, and if he was to have bad fortune, and we continue to reverse the bad fortune we had early in the year, you never know it's definitely not all over yet." Third member in the Reid team Shaun Reid and co driver Damien McAuley in their sister Evo 9, had an encouraging rally. Twenty third overall amongst British, Irish and massive Mitsubishi Evo Challenge opposition was a sterling result.
"To be honest we really wanted to finish the event, and get experience, and conditions for everyone were difficult especially on Friday night. As ever the rally was very well organized and very enjoyable as was my car which ran very well." The Reid Motorsport team is now preparing the cars for the final round of the Irish Tarmac Championship on the final weekend of the month. With the overall and Group N championships both still possible for the Reid team, preparations are intense, for a team that is still very new to the sport.