|Junior British Rally Championship leaders James Wilson and Arthur Kierans took a breakthrough win together on the Cambrian Rally and return home in search of their first victory on tarmac. Billy Coleman Award winner Wilson was also the leading Peugeot 208 R2 driver at the finish – netting him the first £2,500 cheque from Peugeot UK and Total.
The Peugeot 208 dominated proceedings on the Cambrian Rally, with the first four places occupied by the French brand. William Creighton (Lisburn) and Liam Regan fought for honours throughout the event, but an afternoon puncture forced them out of the reckoning until a monumental fightback put them into second to get their title charge off to a flying start.
Marty Gallagher and Dean O’Sullivan rounded out the podium last time out – eradicating their bad luck from 2018. The Letterkenny driver is a force to be reckoned with on the Tarmac and will be looking to return to the top step once again in the ultra-competitive front-wheel-drive series.
Josh McErlean (Kilrea) and co-driver Ger Conway are another crew knocking on the door of a breakthrough win together. In the Peugeot 208 R2, the Irish pairing set some very impressive times on the stages and will be looking to seal another Junior BRC podium.
Series recruit Jordan Hone from Claudy and navigator Aileen Kelly bring the sole Opel ADAM R2 to the party and got their season off to a strong start with a top five finish on their first event in Wales. In the ex-Callum Devine JBRC title-winning car, Hone will be one to watch as he prepares to take the fight to the Peugeot drivers for overall victory in Clonakilty.
Leading the charge in the Fiesta Trophy coming to Cork are Finlay Retson and Tom Hynd. Despite a few excursions into the Welsh forests, Scottish star Retson brought the brand new 2019 Ford Fiesta R2T into sixth place and top Blue Oval runner ahead of Ruairi Bell and Darren Garrod in a similar car. Bart Lang and Sinclair Young took their older Fiesta R2T into eighth overall – third in the Fiesta standings. The Fiesta drivers are all fighting for a €60,000 prize fund from M-Sport and Pirelli to put towards a season in the Junior World Rally Championship in 2020.
James Williams/Tom Woodburn and Jordan Reynolds/Peredur Davies – both in Ford Fiesta R2s – will hope West Cork will kick-start their season after retirements on the opening round.
The Sloan brothers, Scott and David enjoyed their BRC debut until gearbox gremlins dogged the Peugeot 208 pairing, while Nabila Tejpar and Max Freeman will be looking to put their final stage roll behind them as Nabila hopes to use West Cork as a springboard towards her Ladies’ title defence.
Meanwhile, John Morrison and Peter Carstairs in their Kumho-supported Mitsubishi Evo 9 will take on the Irish classic for the very first time as they prepare to stretch their lead in the National Rally Cup.
Iain Campbell – BRC Championship Manager said:
“The Junior BRC is a real hotbed for talent and we have an exciting crop of Junior drivers ready to be unleashed onto the stages. Irishman James Wilson is the man with the target on his back after his first BRC win in his Peugeot 208, but he won’t have it his own way as both William Creighton and Marty Gallagher will be searching for their first win of the season. Jordan Hone will be a dark horse, as he showed some unbelievable pace on the Ulster Rally last year in his Opel ADAM. Finally we can’t wait to see the new Ford Fiesta R2 on Tarmac for the first time and how it compares to the established front running cars.”