Draperstown rally ace Marty McCormack will make his return to the driver’s seat of the TigerRisk Skoda Fabia R5 this weekend as he heads to Rally van Wervik (14-15 June) in preparation for a return to the British Rally Championship at the iconic Renties Ypres Rally (28-29 June).
McCormack has enjoyed a strong start to his BRC campaign this season, but work commitments had ruled him out of contesting the last round of the series in Carlisle. Despite missing out on another points haul, he currently sits fourth in the championship and remains firmly in the title chase.
Along with co-driver Barney Mitchell, McCormack will now give his series return the best possible chance by heading to Belgium to settle into the unique closed roads in the country, before tackling the BRC qualifier the following weekend.
The rapid Northern Irishman returned to the British Championship in 2019 after mixing sporadic outings in the Fabia with events in his Historic specification Ford Escort MK2. His third place at the season-opening Cambrian Rally in February was an impressive start with fourth place at the West Cork Rally putting him in a prime championship position.
However, having not been behind the wheel since March, McCormack will contest Rally Van Wervik as a test session to bed himself back into an asphalt surface.
“It’s always difficult when you miss a round of a championship” he says.
“Being honest, having not been in the car since March means I’ll have to start all over again and I couldn’t compete at Ypres without being match fit in some form. That event sees the best in Europe compete and it would be easy to look slow in comparison. It’s such a unique place, the only way we could possibly feel comfortable would be with a test beforehand and Wervik was perfect for that”.
McCormack (R) and Mitchell (L) took a podium on the season opening Cambrian Rally -Credit to: Jakob Ebrey Photography –
The Ypres Rally is one of the most popular events in Europe and attracts a bumper entry from across Europe all aiming for the prestigious victory. As a guest round in the British Championship, crews can pitch themselves against the tarmac specialists whilst still vying for maximum points in the chase for the BRC title.
McCormack still has one eye on the championship standings this season.
“We have said from the outset that this year is all about enjoying my rallying again and having fun” he says.
“But that doesn’t stop us being competitive and of course you always want to do as well as possible. We had a good momentum after the first two rounds but being out of the car for so long will mean we will be on the back foot a little. But I`m really looking forward to being back in the Skoda again across some classic Belgium stages. It’s sure to be a good battle.”
Marty is sponsored by Tiger Risk Partners, P McCormack and Sons Ltd, Ears.ie, Millers Oils, IMF Fabrications, Pirelli and MTec Graphics.