Monte Carlo or bust for seven Motorsport Ireland licence holders
A total of seven Motorsport Ireland competition licence holders are set to contest the legendary Rallye Monte Carlo which gets underway next Thursday.
Event organiser, Automobile Club de Monaco, published the official entry list on Monday of this week.
There are seven Motorsport Ireland competition licence holders among the 75 crews permitted to start the 91st running of the iconic event.
Leading the Irish contingent is Tyrone-based co-driver, Aaron Johnston.
He resumes his partnership with Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta in their Toyota Yaris Rally1 Hybrid.
New for this year is their promotion to the factory-supported Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally team and they will line up in Monaco alongside defending World Champions
Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen and Monte Carlo expert Sébastien Ogier and his new co-driver Vincent Landais.
Johnston will start his fourth Monte, his second with Katsuta after two previous outings with Oliver Solberg.
“I am not as daunted as in previous years- the experience we’ve gained over the previous seasons can help us to have a smoother weekend,” said Johnston.
“Looking at the long-range weather forecast it could be a tricky one with freezing temperatures forecast so I guess we could be in for a classic Monte Carlo, but I am looking forward to it and can’t wait to get going.”
The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy has secured two entries, one each for Josh McErlean and John Rowan and William Creighton and Liam Regan.
Both crews will compete in PCRS Rallysport prepared Hyundai i20 Rally 2 cars.
Creighton and Regan are preparing for a season in the Junior WRC and for now, at least, their appearance in Rally 2 machinery is a once-off.
“To have the opportunity to be heading to the most famous rally in the world behind the wheel of a Rally2 car is the stuff dreams are made of,” said Creighton.
“Everyone knows Rallye Monte Carlo, whether you have an interest in the sport or not and it’s such a privilege to be tackling this iconic event with the support and backing of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.”
McErlean and Rowan are committed to the WRC2 Challenger championship, and their full programme will be announced later this week.
“Starting Rallye Monte Carlo from the legendary Casino Square in Monaco is realising a childhood dream,” said McErlean.
“It will be a huge milestone in my career and for the Academy project and I am incredibly grateful and proud to be part of it. I am delighted to team up with John [Rowan] as we already have a good working relationship both in and out of the car. Monte Carlo is one of those events where teamwork is vital and having the support of the Academy and PCRS Rallysport is very reassuring.
Eamonn Boland and Michael ‘MJ’ Morrisey are the third all-Irish crew to enter Monte Carlo.
They will compete in a new Citroen C3 Rally 2.
Boland has a unique Rallye Monte Carlo record. This will be his 18th start in the legendary event and only French rally hero Francois Delacour has more starts (23) in the traditional season opener. *
For co-driver ‘MJ’, this year’s rally marks his 13th start in the Principality but with experience comes knowledge.
“I am ready to go, my case is packed,” he said. “I have been re-writing notes over Christmas, and I have about two-thirds of the stages for the rally from previous years.”
The Wexford/Waterford pairing are entered in the WRC Masters category and while more World Championship events are on the cards this year their full programme has yet to be revealed.
*Statistics based on e-wrc.com archive which may not be complete but remains the most comprehensive rally result archive in the world.
Article was originally published on Motorsport Ireland website. Kerry Motorsport News is a content supplier to Motorsport Ireland
Just as newspapers and magazines are paid for, digital editorial content will also have to be paid for.
Please subscribe and help us keep this machine running!
It’s only €50 per year – subscribe now
Subscribe to get access
Read more of this content when you subscribe today.