29 Sep New Event Offers Up New Opportunities For Devine
With the opening two rounds of his FIA European Rally Championship campaign resulting in two retirements, Callum Devine is aiming to buck the trend this weekend on round three, Rally Fafe Montelongo. The Portuguese event was only recently added to the calendar following the cancellation of the Azores Rally and its late addition, while posing a few difficulties, also offers some opportunities for the current Motorsport Ireland International Driver of the Year.
Aside from ever changing travel restrictions, the main issue for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy team was preparing a car in time, as Devine points out. “The shell of the car we used in Latvia was beyond repair and this meant that essentially, a new car had to be built. I cannot thank the PCRS team enough for all their efforts over the last few weeks getting the car ready. Unfortunately with the event being a late addition to the calendar, it has caused a few travel complications. Portugal isn’t on the Irish green list for travel so we’ll have to quarantine for 14 days when we return to Ireland. Sadly this means Brian (Hoy) won’t be able to sit with me in Portugal due to work commitments. It’s a shame, but he’ll be back in soon and I’m very thankful to James Fulton for stepping in at short notice. I’m also very thankful for the continued support from the MI Rally Academy and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing. Things certainly haven’t gone our way so far but with the remaining events all on tarmac, I am keen to show the speed I am capable of. The break since Latvia has been good for me and I’ve been able to analyse things and see what has been lacking.”
Callum and James have already undertaken a pre event test ahead of the rally to get a feel for the Portuguese roads and to get reacquainted with the Hyundai i20 R5 on tarmac. The test with the PCRS team also included fellow Hyundai driver Pauric Duffy who now resides in Portugal. “Pauric put myself and James up for the night ahead of the test and we had a great day learning behind the wheel. Both Pauric and his co-driver Jeff Case have been a big help to my campaign this season and especially for this event, which I’m very thankful for” said Devine. On his goals for the weekend, Devine is clear on what he needs to do. “I just need to find that confidence again, in myself and in the car. As I said, with the time off since Latvia I’ve been able to look at things properly. I’ve looked at where I’m going well and where I’m lacking in commitment and I just need to keep improving, it’s as simple as that. There’s eight ERC1 entries for this event and yes, they are our opposition, but if I drive my own rally and get back to doing the simple things well, committing to my notes, stuff like that, I won’t be too far away.”
The Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver will start Rally Fafe Montelongo at number 15, with road position for the event decided by pre event qualifying on Friday October 2nd. On Saturday, the crews will face nine stages (three stages repeated three times) with the same format being adopted on Sunday meaning the crews will cover just shy of 183 competitive kilometres over the 18 stages.