Q&A: “It’s a good time to resume the rally”
BY MARTIN WALSH
RALLYING makes a welcome comeback this weekend with the O’Connell Group Cork ’20’ International Rally, the first event since the cancellation of the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork 2020 rally.
Munster Car Club organizers have received over 150 entries for the event, including Daniel Cronin of Ballylickey, David Guest of Dunmanway, Cal McCarthy of Clonakilty and Owen Murphy of Ovens, all in Ford Fiesta R5 except McCarthy , who is campaigning with a Citroën DS3 R5. The quartet took the time to answer some general questions about the comeback and other aspects of the sport.
MARTIN WALSH: Have you missed the rally, what have you missed the most and do you think the time has come for its comeback?
DANIEL CRONIN: Yes, I missed the rally a lot. It’s only when he’s gone that you realize how much you’ve missed the social side of things, meeting friends, going out and also the competitive buzz. I feel it’s time, the country seems to be in a good position now.
DAVID GUEST: I think now is the time to try to get back to some kind of normalcy. It should be a good opportunity to see how it works before the start of a full year of rallying. I was missing out on going out, meeting other competitors and organizers and just the buzz leading up to the rallies and the planning and organization.
CAL McCARTHY: I think traveling and meeting people has been missed, it’s always nice to travel and experience the excitement among the locals and the people involved in the sport. We haven’t seen a lot of excitement over the past 18 months. I don’t know if there will ever be a good time, I think we will live with Covid for a while.
OWEN MURPHY: I think it’s a good time to come back to rallying. When you see the number of people who have attended recent GAA games, there should be no reason why the rally cannot return. From what I have seen so far, the Munster Car Club has put all the precautions in place for a safe return for everyone. We have a small rally team that has been with me since I started rallying at the age of 17, I missed rallying with them the most, and it will be great to see the whole family again. of the rally.
MARTIN: Do you think it will take time to get back to the pace you had before Covid?
DANIEL: As for the pace, it will be difficult to know. I’ve done a few rallies so it’s good to get used to listening to the notes and driving the car again. A big test will be necessary so I hope not to be too far from my pre-Covid pace.
CAL: I hope my pace will be better. Before Covid, we were learning the car. I had a few days of testing in Mondello Park and did a few rallies so I hope to be more comfortable.
DAVID: Yes, most definitely. I think it’s all about sitting time and being comfortable in an R5 car. It all happens really fast and you won’t be fast unless you are fully engaged from the start. I think it will take a few steps before things start to flow again.
OWEN: I don’t think so, I’m used to having long stops in rallying and I’m always able to be pretty close to the pace. Obviously we’re in a new car and it’s been a while since I’ve driven a turbo four-wheel drive car. Once it handles well enough, you should be fine.
MARTIN: Should the competitors have a say in Irish rallying?
DANIEL: It all comes down to competitors who want to put in the time and, yes, they should be more involved. If the competitors just want to be a howl in the ditch, there’s really no point. From a competitor’s perspective, hopefully there will be budget caps at some point so that spending doesn’t get too out of control.
DAVID: Yes. Realistically the competitor is the customer and in any business the customer should have input and a platform to openly discuss issues and ideas in order to make things better for everyone.
CAL: Absoutely. The competitor is the customer who pays the bills. Competitors must get involved in their clubs. Club committees work around the clock to organize events and some contestants think it’s okay to show up every January for a license stamp.
OWEN: Yes, it’s vital for sport that everyone is on the same page. It’s the best sport in the world and we have the best events, clubs and riders / sailors, and we just have to protect it.
MARTIN: What are your own expectations before the Cork ’20’ International Rally?
DANIEL: I think a top eight will be a huge result. My car is a bit outdated now and the few at the top are on a brisk pace.
CAL: A good top ten would be very successful. I do not know if we will still be at this level. I imagine the entrance will be quite strong, but it’s about getting to the finish.
DAVID: I would like to increase our pace throughout the day and arrive at the finish Sunday evening and gain a little more confidence in the new car.
OWEN: If we can get close enough to the best times by the end of the day in the new car, I’d be happy to. This will give us something to build on for the next year.
MARTIN: Are you planning to participate in another rally before the end of the year?
DANIEL: Hopefully all goes well in Cork ’20’, we will also be participating in the Donegal Harvest, Wexford and the Tipp / Carrick forestry event.
DAVID: No. I’m happy to be racing in the ’20’ Cork and hope to be able to prepare for a championship again next year.
CAL: I have a registration for the Pokerstars on the Isle of Man and maybe another Irish event but I haven’t decided which one yet.
OWEN: Probably not this year. I would love to do the Rallye Historique des Lacs in November, but I would have to hire a car and there is still a shortage of top notch historic escorts so I’ll probably focus on the R5 car for a while.