13 Aug Callum Aiming For Glory In Ulster
Callum Devine, arguably the sensation of the 2019 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, is aiming for top spot on this weekend’s Ulster International Rally. 25 year old Devine, who currently lies third in the series behind Craig Breen and Alastair Fisher, has been a revelation this season with ever improving results in the Curran Gate/Fyth backed Ford Fiesta R5 culminating in a maximum points haul on the last round of the championship, the Donegal International Rally. In fact, with dropped scores taken into account, the former Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year actually has an outside shot at the title, although that won’t be concerning Callum or co-driver Brian Hoy this weekend.
Speaking ahead of the Ulster Rally, Callum was keen to stress he’ll be treating the Ulster the same as every other round so far; “We have literally taken each event as it has come and not put too much weight on points or results. We have just aimed to perform well and thankfully, that has been working so far. The Ulster will be a little different in that it is a 1 day event but such is the pace in the championship this year that you have to be on it from the word go anyways!” In terms of the championship race, again, Callum isn’t worried; “Craig (Breen) has the title pretty much secured and that’s to be expected, he’s a top level driver. I know I have the speed to take second place for certain but I have ground to make up on Alastair Fisher and that won’t be easy to do. You also have to factor in other drivers like Josh Moffett, Desi Henry, Jonny Greer and Tom Cave who are all registered and are all capable of taking points off any of us in the title race, especially on a short, sharp rally like this. The best thing, as I said earlier, is just try and perform well. If I do that, hopefully the result and points will follow.”
This year’s Today’s Ulster International Rally starts on Friday evening with event organisers running a non-competitive 4.45km shakedown stage for competitors which will run between 6 and 8pm. This will be followed by the ceremonial start in the Albert Basin, Newry, at 8.45pm. The competitive portion of the event starts on Saturday morning with the crews facing into the opening McGaffins Corner stage at 8.36am. This stage will be followed by a regroup in Banbridge before stages 2 (Brontë Homeland) and 3 (Shinn Bridge) after which the cars will return to Newry for service to conclude the opening loop. The remainder of the event will see these stages all tackled twice more giving a total of 9 stages and just over 150 competitive kilometres, with the top competitors returning the spray the champagne back in the Albert Basin at 5.40pm on Saturday evening
Callum and Brian will start at number 4 in one of the strongest Ulster Rally entries in recent years. Giving his final thoughts ahead of the rally, Callum said; “I’m lucky to be here and to able to be competitive in this championship, but you only have to look at the tragedy that happened on the last round in Donegal where we lost Manus to realise that competition isn’t really that important at all. Myself and Brian will try our best this weekend and that’s all we can do.”