THE upcoming CBtoolhire.com Cork 20 International Rally will mark the first competitive appearance of a Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 in Irish rallying.
The car will be driven by Derry’s Marty McCormack on September 28-29. He won last year’s Munster Moonraker Forest Rally in a Skoda Fabia R5, with Mallow’s David Moynihan as his co-driver. The two-day Cork 20 (the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Little Island, is its headquarters) is the final round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
McCormack’s Skoda Fabia R5 is awaiting a body shell, since a crash in last month’s Ulster Rally in Newry.
“Dom Buckley Motorsport has acquired the car, as part of his rally hire business, and he wanted to see how it will perform in Ireland and I also wanted to see what it would be like, as opposed to the Skoda Fabia R5. It is something different, for sure, and I thought we would give it a go.”
Although he had to skip this year’s Moonraker event, due to business commitments, McCormack, from Draperstown, returns to the 20 after an absence of eight years.
“I always like competing in Cork. I always get a great welcome. The last time I competed in the Cork 20 was in 2010. I was up against Robert Barrable, both of us in Citroen C2R2s. I was leading with three stages to go, until a broken driveshaft forced us out.”
Last June, Craig Breen, who clinched the Irish Tarmac Championship at the Ulster Rally last month, drove a VW Polo GTi R5 to victory in the Ypres Rally, in Belgium. That has raised expectations of the VW Polo GTi R5 becoming a serious challenger to the Fiesta R5, which is the most popular R5 car for Irish rallying.
McCormack, who will have Barney Mitchell as co-driver, is delighted that Callum Devine will be competing in next week’s event.
“The pace Callum (Devine) is on, at the moment, is ideal for me to judge my own pace.”
Although his plans for 2020 are fluid, a strong performance next weekend could help McCormack to make a decision.