Following a high speed test session on Rally Žemaitija in Lithuania last week, Callum Devine is fully prepared to start his 2021 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) campaign this weekend on Rally Poland.
Following the postponement of Rallye Azores earlier in the year, Poland is now the first round of the series and despite the change to the schedule, Devine actually feels the long build up to the opening round has been on benefit to him.
Speaking ahead of the event the 27 year old said; “Obviously we have changed car this year and moving from the Hyundai to the Ford Fiesta Rally 2 takes a little bit of getting used to. With the delay in the season starting it has allowed me to get some solid testing miles in the car, miles I wouldn’t have got had the season started when it was meant to. It was really good to do Rally Žemaitija in Lithuania recently, we worked on finding a suitable set up and getting back into the competitive mindset and we feel confident heading to Poland as the roads in Lithuania were quite similar. The event has attracted a really strong entry which is a great advertisement for the ERC and we’re aiming to get the season off to a good start and get some points of the board. There’s no easy rally at this level and you have to earn any result you get.”
Callum will be joined by co-driver James Fulton for the season and the pair have just completed the reconnaissance for Rally Poland. This process was once simply about making pacenotes but as Devine explains, things have moved on. “We record our recce” said Devine. “Almost all drivers at this level do. We only get to drive the roads twice so recoding the stages and watching them back in the evening in the hotel affords you more time to make sure your pacenotes are as accurate as possible. This event in particular is quite high speed so it’s very important to trust fully in your notes. The road surface here is quite soft and sandy too which means the stage can be much more rutted on the second pass so that’s something we’ll have to take into account as well.”
The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver will take part in the qualifying stage today in the RLA Autosport run car before a spectator stage in the Mikołajki Arena this evening. The event properly gets underway on Saturday with seven stages totalling 133km with a further 70km of action on Sunday before the crews return to Mikołajki around 7pm.
Devine’s ERC season is supported by the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, Curran Gate, Lyons of Limerick, EARS Motorsport, Parts For Cars, Rentokil Initial, Trailerstuff.ie, TST Transport, Fire Protection Ireland, Marina Racewear and Pirelli.
To keep up to date with Callum throughout the weekend, make sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or download the FIA ERC app which will be providing live rally radio coverage throughout the event.