JENNINGS' NEW CHARGE Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy take a break from their defence of the Irish tarmac Rally Championship Group N title to contest Rally Ireland next weekend. The crew will take part in the second running of the event in...
JENNINGS' NEW CHARGE
Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy take a break from their defence of the Irish tarmac Rally Championship Group N title to contest Rally Ireland next weekend.
The crew will take part in the second running of the event in a brand new Mitsubishi Evo 9 which has been built by KG Motorsport. "We used the Evo 8 in October," remarked Garry, "and we had been leading Group N when a 20 pence pin broke in the gear linkage. We realised early this year that if we were going to compete against world class drivers, we would have to step up to world class machinery and have the latest version."
Garry took delivery of the car in the week before the event but admitted he probably wouldn't get to test it properly. "Plans can change without notice," he explained, "but in this case the weather is playing a part in our decisions. The cold snap has meant that work has gone mad. We supply lots of private homes and businesses with heating oil and everyone seems to be ordering at the moment. I don't think we'll get a chance to test it properly so we'll use the settings from the old car and see how it goes."
Garry has committed to take the car to a pre-event press day in Enniskillen, the base for the service area on both days. "Since I am probably the closest driver to the rally, Fermanagh District Council has asked me to take the car for a Town Hall press call on Monday." said Garry, "The rally may be trying for World Championship status, but it is important that the local community is kept up to date."
Garry will be available to answer questions and to sign autographs while Councillor Stephen Huggett, chairman of the council, will be joined by Austin Fraser, chairman of the Rally Ireland Steering Group. The car will be on display outside the Town hall from around 10.00 with the press call at 10.30.
The rally itself follows a similar format to 2005 with a ceremonial start outside Sligo Town Hall at 19.00 on Friday 10th March. The 2006 event is, however, an all asphalt affair covering 268 stage miles over just eleven stages. The action begins on Saturday with the first stage at 07.30. Three loops of stages centre on the St Angelo Airport service area to the north of Enniskillen with an overnight halt in Sligo. The final five stages are preceded by a 06.30 service at the airport, and the final Sligo stage takes the crews back towards the Town Hall for a podium finish at 15.00.
As the highest seeded British Group N driver, Garry will be fired up and keen to show his speed in the new car, but he will have his work cut out as the competition will be extremely fierce. World Rally Championship Subaru works driver Chris Atkinson and Nicolas Bernardi, who has top ten finishes in a 307WRC to his credit, are both in Group N machinery and there is plenty of competition from closer to home too, making it a great battle in prospect.