Marty McCormack takes many positives from his WRC2 debut
The Northern Irish driver and his Cork based navigator, David Moynihan, kicked off their first World Rally Championship programme at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 backed by Korean tyre giant Hankook and innovative insurance expert TigerRisk. It proved to be a rally of firsts for the former British Junior Champion as he turned his hand to his first gravel event in a 4WD car and his first event in a new category R5 Ford Fiesta, perfectly prepared by the Italian A Style Team. Rally de Portugal was the first event in a 6 round WRC campaign.
Over 20 crews are registered in the hotly contested WRC 2 category, and the step up to 4WD was a formidable one as Marty’s first experience of his new car was a brief pre event shakedown, leaving little time to acclimatise himself to his new surroundings. Heavy rain on the pre event reconnaissance made pace note creation difficult, with even Portugal regulars having a hard time reading the correct tyre choice for the changing conditions throughout the event.
The event started well as Marty and David showed their class from the start, setting a steady pace amongst a hugely experienced field on Portugals specialised and unforgiving roads. Thursday evening saw a conservative start on the Algarve spectator stage before the event would begin properly on the gravel stages around Faro on day 2.