Aoife Raftery’s ERC debut “We are really happy with how things went”

Rally Poland marked Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Aoife Raftery’s maiden outing in the ERC. Following in the wheel tracks of two of her motorsport heroes, Rosemary Smith, and Criag Breen, the Galwegian finished an impressive 42nd overall.

More importantly, the Peugeot 208 Rally 4 driver (also run by PCRS Rallysport) and Welsh co-driver Claire Williams finished seventh (out of 16 starters) in the Junior ERC element of the rally and give her a solid base ahead of next month’s Tet Rally Liepāja which is also run on high-speed gravel roads.

“It’s been a great week here in Poland and delighted to get to the finish of an extremely tough event,” she said.

“It had lots of challenges but delighted to be here.  A massive thanks to everybody especially the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and PCRS and my sponsors back home.”

We had a lot of fun that was incredible to see the amount of people on the stages and how fast the stages were.

“We learned a lot and we are really happy with how everything went.

“It was incredible to see the conditions of the roads – they were so fast and in some sections the ruts were so deep, especially in the sandy sections so we needed to be mindful of that as we knew that  we were there to try and get a finish in our first European Rally Championship event.”

Irish co-driver Mac Kierans guided Max McRae to 36th overall. The Opel Corsa Rally 4 crew lost a load of time on Saturday with a chronic engine misfire and could well have finished further up the order.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, Rally Academy co-driver Grace O’Brien guided Clare-based driver Niall O’Sullivan to a fourth-place finish in the Stellantis Motorsport Cup BeLux Cup element of the Sezoens Rally. It was the Peugeot 208 Rally 2 crew’s second visit to the Belgian one-make championship this season.

In further good news for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, Billy Coleman award winner Eamonn Kelly won the Thomond Rallysprint, the competitive element of Limerick Motor Club’s Greenmount Motorsport Bonanza charity day at Limerick Racecourse.

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