O'MAHONY AND HIGGINS GET RESULT IN OPENING ROUND OF BRC County Cork driver Brian O'Mahony and County Mayo co-driver John Higgins had a tough start to their British Rally Championship (BRC) campaign as they finished the opening round, the ...
O'MAHONY AND HIGGINS GET RESULT IN OPENING ROUND OF BRC
County Cork driver Brian O'Mahony and County Mayo co-driver John Higgins had a tough start to their British Rally Championship (BRC) campaign as they finished the opening round, the Pirelli International Rally, under superally rules this weekend (18-19 April).
The crew finished 28th overall and second in class R3 in their OM Concrete Products and Tom Hogan Motors-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio, run by O'Leary Motorsport, on the Carlisle-based forest gravel event despite suffering a mechanical problem on stage 11.
The reigning Dunlop National Championship class 6 champions have returned to contest the BRC this season following a year's absence and soon got adjusted to competing across a gravel surface after a seven-month gap.
Following the first loop of four stages on Friday night they had already climbed to an impressive 13th place. On Saturday morning they slipped a position to 14th on the first test but after stage eight had reclaimed 13th.
A timing error meant that they were given a time around 18 minutes slower than they had set on stage 10 for an unknown reason which had dropped them down the order to 21st before the suspension failure struck on the next test.
The bottom arm snapped and pulled off the damper through stage 11, bringing an abrupt end to the pair's event but they were able to finish under superally rules with 40 minutes worth of penalties -- 10 minutes for every stage missed -- after getting the car into parc ferme.
"It's good that we could finish under the superally rules but disappointing that we couldn't finish the rally properly and in a better position," 23-year-old O'Mahony said. "We had got back into the swing of competing on gravel and were in a good position before the suspension problem.
"It's frustrating when a mechanical problem ends your rally, and it happened so sudden. Up until then we were having a pretty clean run, apart from the stages being very rough and difficult. Now we have to look forward to round two and to getting a solid finish then."
O'Mahony collected nine points in the Rally 3 drivers' category to lie in second place whilst Higgins claimed 10 points to lead the Rally 3 co-drivers' standings.
The pair will next be in action in the BRC in round two, the Kelso-based Jim Clark Rally on May 24-25, which is a tarmac event.