Fresh from taking the Irish National Forestry Championship title in 2022, Northern Ireland’s Patrick O’ Brien will contest the final round of the Motorsport UK British rally Championship, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
The 25-year-old from Omagh will step into the BRC1 category in his ex-Chris Ingram Skoda Fabia R5 to go head-to-head with the British Rally Championship regulars in the top-drawer category for the first time.
After starting his career in a Citroen R2R2Max, O’Brien became the Junior Irish Forestry champion before stepping into four-wheel drive machinery. Campaigning a Mitsubishi Evo for four seasons, he stepped into a Fiesta R5 before the Skoda switch.
Now he and co-driving Brother Stephen will head to the mainland for the very first time, tackling the North Wales stages made famous by the WRC round, Wales Rally GB.
But it was four-time British Rally champion Keith Cronin that spurred him on to head to Llandudno.
“I had a race with Keith Cronin at his home rally where I was beating and matching him on stages” says O’Brien.
“He told me I wouldn’t be far away at the BRC, so I came to see if he was right”.
It’s been a great year for the youngster, but the lure of the BRC pace could well offer some future experience.
“I’ve hit my goals this year with winning the Irish National Forestry Championship and wining rallies in my first year in an R5 car. This is about some fun and looking to the future. For sure, all the BRC guys will be tough [to beat]. OK, there is maybe not the quantity but there is certainly quality. They have good experience of the events also. There’s also some guy Solberg who sounds fast”.