Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year and current DMACK Junior British Rally Championship leader, Rob Duggan, returns to Wales this weekend for round five of the series, the Nicky Grist Stages Rally. The rally provides a unique challenge as it is the only dual surface round of the championship with the Saturday stages taking place on gravel, while the Sunday stages will take place over the fast and flowing tarmac roads of the Epynt military training ground.
Duggan heads to the event on the back of a hat trick on podiums on the previous three rounds including two wins and the 23 year old Killarney man now holds a 10 point lead in the series. Despite his points advantage, Rob is remaining level headed in advance of the rally. “Once again it’s another new event for us and it will be the first dual surface rally I’ve ever done.” said Duggan. “We were happy with our pace in the Welsh forests last year on Wales Rally GB and on the Mid Wales Stages earlier this year so I’ll take some encouragement from that. The tarmac stages on the Sunday should be really interesting. While it’s my favourite surface, Epynt is a very unique and specialised venue. It’s high speed, very open with limited reference points and there’s lots of tricky bumps to catch you out. I’m sure anyone who has competed there before will have a slight advantage but that’s ok.
Myself and Ger aren’t feeling any pressure yet, we still have our double points to play and have elected to hold on to it for this rally. We will play it soon but we’re happy at the moment and almost all our rivals have used theirs. Another strong points finish here, ideally a podium, would be brilliant for our championship ambitions and Vauxhall Motorsport UK.”
The Nicky Grist Stages will be based out of the town of Builth Wells with the first cars leaving event headquarters on Saturday morning at 8.30am to head to forests. By 3.30pm that afternoon the cars will return to Builth Wells where mechanics will dive on the cars changing them from gravel to tarmac specification in preparation for Sunday. Once again, first cars will leave HQ at 8.30am on Sunday with the winning crews returning to Builth Wells at 1pm.
To keep up to date with Rob’s exploits through the season, visit www.robduggan.com and www.vauxhallmotorsport.co.uk. More information on this weekend’s event can be found at www.nickygriststages.co.uk
Rob competes with Vauxhall Motorsport UK in an R2 specification Vauxhall Adam and is supported by Rentokil Initial, Motorsport Ireland, Sport Ireland and the Team Ireland Foundation.
Image from Adam Piggott (Jakob Ebrey Photography)