Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year, Rob Duggan, wrapped up the inaugural DMACK Junior British Rally Championship on last weekend’s John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally. The 23 year old driver from Killarney, Co. Kerry, excelled in treacherous conditions to emerge victorious at the end of the 2 day event in his Vauxhall Adam. Having elected to play his double points “joker” on the Ulster Rally, Duggan knew a win would secure the title before the final round on the Isle of Man in September. Exceptionally muddy and slippy stages saw a number of competitors hit difficulty and Duggan wasn’t immune to this, clipping a bank and causing slight damage to his Vauxhall’s suspension and steering. Despite this, Duggan and codriver Ger Conway ended the opening day ahead of their rivals. An early start on day 2 saw Duggan further extend his lead as he skilfully navigated the notorious Barnes Gap and Rousky stages in the Sperrin Mountains and at the end of 14 tough stages, Duggan’s nearest rival, Sindre Furuseth of Norway, was almost 2 minutes in arrears. The result netted Duggan his 4th junior win of the championship giving him an unassailable points advantage securing the junior title with a round to spare. Speaking after the result, an overjoyed Rob said; “I’m thrilled to take the DMACK Junior British Championship, especially here on the Ulster Rally. We’ve tried to take advantage of all the breaks we’ve been given this year and didn’t let the setbacks get us down. After missing out on the podium on the opening round in Wales due to a puncture, we’ve taken 4 wins and 1 second place since then. We’ve learned so much this season and the competition has been really close which makes it all the more satisfying to get the result. Myself and Ger have put in the work between the rounds and it is great to see it pay off. Team Ireland Performance Director Declan Brennan unlocked things I never knew were there and as the year progressed it’s no coincidence my performances became more consistent. After winning the Billy Coleman Award last year, to win the British Junior Championship this year is another major stepping stone for me and I’m excited to see what the future holds. Winning this title gives me a few options for next year but once the celebrations finish we will get our heads down and focus on Manx Rally next month and try and end the championship with another good performance. To everyone who has supported me to date, I can’t thank you enough.”
Rob’s prize for winning the championship will see him take a huge step onto the world stage as the 2016 DMACK Junior BRC Champion is awarded a subsidised drive in the 2017 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy on five World Rally Championship rounds, with the winner benefiting from testing before every round as part of the package. Rob has also secured a free entry for this year’s Wales Rally GB, round 12 of the 2016 World Rally Championship. To keep up to date with Rob’s exploits for the remainder of the season, make sure and visit www.robduggan.com and www.vauxhallmotorsport.co.uk or follow Rob on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Rob is supported by Rentokil Initial, Motorsport Ireland, Sport Ireland and the Team Ireland Foundation.