07 Mar On The World Stage- with Daniel McKenna.
As most of you will know, after two successful seasons in the British Rally Championship I have fixed my sights on a slightly larger challenge this year, the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC). Competing at the highest level of the sport is where I want to be and the JWRC is the ideal stepping stone I my attempt to gain a full works drive. With Rallye Monte Carlo already under my belt I am already looking ahead to round 2 in Portugal although there are many things to fall into place before the end of May. At the moment I only have some of the budget for my season in place and in order to complete my JWRC campaign more funding is needed. However, after Monte Carlo at least I know now what I am capable of at world level. As has been well documented already, the event didn’t go entirely to plan. A mechanical issue with the gearbox of my Citroen DS3 R3 Max left us with no option but to retire after stage eight. Even now, almost a month later, it is so difficult to articulate how disappointed I am with how the rally ended. As someone who strives for success it will always be hard for me to accept failure but there were massive positives to take from the weekend and it is those that I must focus on. Before the issues with the gearbox we were the category pace setters and that’s something I have to be proud of. The speed we showed also eliminated some of the doubt in my mind of what I would be capable of at this level. It was my first time competing outside Ireland or the UK, I had never used stud tyres in such extreme conditions, I only had minimal time to prepare for the event and I was on a very safe pace as our number one objective was to finish and get points. Monte Carlo is a lottery. The weather and road conditions can change in the blink of eye and taking on the event was always going to be a risk. My logic behind putting so much effort into the Monte, against all the odds, was to get points towards the championship knowing I had three months until the second round and could use that as a catalyst to attain the rest of the funding needed to complete the JWRC.
As it stands, we have started the championship with a non-finish and still need the funding to continue the championship. I am working day and night to secure the remaining funding and I am still aiming to be on the start list for Rally Portugal at the end of May. The words of encouragement I have received from well-wishers since Monte Carlo have been a great help and I’m going to do everything I can to take my career to the next step. In an exciting development I have recently joined forces with Declan Brennan Sports Management to help with my preparation for Rally Portugal. Andrew and I would like to thank some people for helping us get our JWRC campaign off the ground, namely, Davy Greer of DGM, Bobby Sharkey of Sharkey Motorsport, Raymond Moore of R&R Logistics, CA1 Sport and all of our sponsors.
A special mention must also go to Damien Connolly and Gary McElhinney for a great job on the ice notes in Monte Carlo. While I only completed eight stages it would have been a lot less had it not been for their information on the weather conditions on the route.
I’m looking forward to keeping you updated on my progress throughout the year on motorsport.ie.
Thanks for the support,
Image from Jakob Ebrey