O'MAHONY AND HIGGINS FINISH AN EVENTFUL RALLY FINLAND County Cork driver Brian O'Mahony and County Mayo co-driver John Higgins completed their first event at World Rally Championship (WRC) level as they finished an eventful Rally Finland last ...
O'MAHONY AND HIGGINS FINISH AN EVENTFUL RALLY FINLAND
County Cork driver Brian O'Mahony and County Mayo co-driver John Higgins completed their first event at World Rally Championship (WRC) level as they finished an eventful Rally Finland last weekend (2-5 August).
The Irish crew came home 64th overall and 13th in class A6 on the four-day gravel event in their OM Concrete Products and Fitz Samuels Insurance-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio, run by O'Leary Motorsport, as they made the step-up from national championship standard to compete against the world's best across the famous Finland forest stages.
But the rally did not run entirely smoothly for the pair. Friday saw O'Mahony and Higgins struggle with the set-up of the car and they also experienced problems with the brakes early on.
Further disappointment struck on Saturday when on the road section out to the opening stage of the day, a rose joint on the bottom arm snapped and the crew had to sit out all of Saturday's action before re-entering on Sunday under the SupeRally rules.
Sunday provided its fair share of problems as on the second stage of the day the pair hit a big rock about six kilometres in and broke a damper whilst they also picked up a slow puncture on the same test and completed the final six kilometres on the wheel rim.
An overshoot at a junction in the last stage cost them at least 15 seconds but they still ended-up an impressive 19 seconds off the fastest Super 1600 crew, complete with broken damper, as they made it to the finish of the rally in the town of Jyvaskyla on Sunday.
"Overall I was happy with my pace," 22-year-old O'Mahony said. "I was annoyed that I missed out on Saturday because I could have probably finished a lot closer to the top Super 1600 lads who were competing. I did find it really tough out there, I hadn't done a gravel rally for over a year.
"But overall, despite the problems, we had a great time and it was a great experience."
O'Mahony and Higgins will compete on another WRC event this year when they do their home rally, Rally Ireland, in November.
They will next be in action when they return to the Dunlop National Championship, which they are contesting this season, as they compete on round eight, the Galway Summer Rally, on Sunday 26 August.