17 May Portugal Awaits As Devine Continues World Championship Dream
Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year, Callum Devine, starts the 3rd round of his Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) campaign this weekend at Rally Portugal. Devine currently lies 5th in the championship race after the opening 2 rounds in Sweden and Corsica and is hopeful of building on those performances on the Iberian Peninsula over the coming weekend.
Callum’s preparation for the event was dealt a blow a few weeks ago when a planned test session on the Pirelli Rally in England was cut short with engine problems. The goal of the test was to gain more loose surface experience as Portugal is the first gravel round of the championship, although this hasn’t altered Callum’s mind-set. “In many ways, nothing has changed. Gravel isn’t my strongest surface, although I do enjoy driving on it. It was a shame our test was cut short but these things happen.” Callum, who turned 24 last week continued; “I’ve learned an awful lot from the opening JWRC rounds and I have no doubt Portugal will be the same. Running down the field, you really have to try and keep out of trouble here and watch out for rocks pulled out by the guys in front. You only have to look at previous JWRC events in Portugal to see what can happen. If I can leave here holding my place in the championship and having closed the gap to the guys in front, I’ll be very happy.”
Rally Portugal will also see a change of co-driver of Callum with Brian Hoy stepping in to the passenger seat in place of Keith Moriarty. Speaking on the change of co-driver Callum said; “Keith has a young family and it just doesn’t suit for him to do WRC events with the time away that is involved. Keith has helped me come on leaps and bounds as a driver over the last few seasons and I’ve no doubt we’ll pair up again in the future. I want to thank him for his dedication because without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Brian Hoy will join me for the remaining JWRC rounds. Brian has co-driven for me previously, we know each other well and I have full faith in his ability at this level.”
Rally Portugal begins with a short super special stage this evening (Thursday) at the Lousada Rallycross track before the rally proper gets underway on Friday morning. Friday consists of 8 tests with the final 2 stages of the day being short blasts around the streets of Porto for a brace of spectator stages. Saturday is the longest leg of the rally with 6 tests totalling 154km of competitive driving while 5 stages await on Sunday, including the iconic Fafe stage which will draw in over 50,000 spectators alone.
The 2018 JWRC is run in association with M-Sport and each competing crew uses identical Ford Fiesta R2T cars. Points are awarded for overall places as well as for each individual stage win. The remaining pair of JWRC rounds will be Finland and Turkey, both gravel events, with Turkey being of particular interest as double points will be on offer. The prize at the end of the season will be an R5 Ford Fiesta along with support to tackle WRC2 rounds in 2019.
Callum’s JWRC season is supported by Motorsport Ireland, Sport Ireland, the Team Ireland Foundation, Fyth and Premier Car Parts.