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R5 specification Mitsubishis make their presence felt in Northern Ireland

11th April 2016

Friday and Saturday’s (8th & 9th April) Circuit of Ireland Rally - the second round of the MSA British and FIA European Rally Championships – saw two R5 specification Mitsubishis take part in the national section of the event. Jamie Jukes and co-driver David Williams from Wales brought their Spencer Sport car home second in the BRC National Rally Cup, whilst Swedes Robert Blomberg and Lars Andersson finished fifth in the O’Learys Sports Bar car.

Taking place over two days, the event featured six stages on closed public roads north of Belfast on Friday, with a further eight south of the Ulster capital in the County Down hills on Saturday, the combination of all 14 providing a total competitive distance of 209 kms.

For the car and the drivers, the Circuit of Ireland rally represented the first time competing in Ireland and the first full asphalt event of this status. Due to its European status, the event saw some of the best teams and drivers from the UK, Ireland and overseas lined up for the ceremonial start in Lisburn on Thursday evening.

With the roads in the region renowned to be challenging at the best of times, patches of mud coupled with dry conditions on Friday morning followed by rain in the afternoon, made the levels of traction a lottery for even the most experienced of drivers.

Jukes and Williams’ asphalt debut with their Mitsubishi started well and, following a really solid performance, they ended day one second in the BRC National Rally Cup standings and a very respectable 13th in the National section of the rally overall.

Having coped with the slippery conditions on Friday – albeit reporting a few ‘interesting’ moments - other than a spin on stage eight that cost at least 30-seconds, Jukes defied his knowledge of Irish tarmac enabling he and Williams to take second place in the BRC National Rally Cup and finish eighth overall in the National category.

Also running in the BRC National Rally Cup and the National section of the event were Blomberg and Andersson. With conditions difficult for all crews they spun off the road on SS3, smashing a wheel and a brake disk. The Mitsubishi showed how strong it is after first withstanding the impact with a fence and then when another car that slid into the front of it whilst it was stuck at the side of the road.

The team easily fixed the small amount of damage and Blomberg and Andersson restarted on Saturday.  Even after having to stop and change a wheel after clipping a stone on the final stage, they ended the event fifth BRC Cup crew home and now hold third place in the points table. It had been a steep learning curve on their first visit to Ireland, with Blomberg admitting he was happy to reach the finish of what he described as the toughest event of his career.

The two Mitsubishis will be back in action in three weeks time, when the surface switches back to gravel for the Pirelli Carlisle Rally. The event takes place on 30th April & 1st May and features the infamous stages of Kielder Forest.


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