Rob Duggan’s dream of top flight racing fades

Former Billy Coleman Young Driver of the Year award winner Rob Duggan (Killarney) admits his dream to drive at the top echelon of rallying is virtually over.

Last season Duggan won the DMACK Junior British Rally championship and a subsidised drive in this season’s Junior WRC with the winner of that series receiving a funded drive in an R5 car on selected events within the 2018 World Rally Championship: “We thought we were getting the £60,000 altogether or in tranches of £20,000 but when it really came down to we were told we would get a sixth (£10,000) after every round.”

The alarm bells started ringing when Duggan completed the first two rounds without receiving any of the promised funding. As the funding for the opening two rounds was only paid over recently, Duggan was forced to skip the rounds in Poland and Finland. 

The series concludes with events in Germany and Spain.

“I’m very disappointed. That was my one shot at getting to the world stage. We had committed to the championship, at the start, we had paid up front for insurance, accommodation, flights and other stuff for the whole year and now that is all gone to waste.”

Admitting that the cost of the Junior WRC is excessive Duggan (24) said: “Talent doesn’t get you anywhere.”

In contrast, Cork racer Luca Allen (15) is upbeat about his prospects at this weekend’s races in the British F4 Championship at Knockhill in Scotland after a disappointing debut in the series at Snetterton two weeks ago that was severely hampered by engine woes. 

On Wednesday last Allen put the Falcon Motorsport run Mygale M14-F4 Ford EcoBoost - complete with a new engine - through its paces at the popular Scottish venue. 

Each race weekend of the British F4 series consists of three races, however, there are four – two tomorrow and two on Sunday in Knockhill.

Allen tested at the venue earlier this week. 

“It was my first time at this track and we had four sessions. The new engine is a lot better. We (Falcon Motorsport) have about seven tenths to find the next time we are on the track (today) and if we do that along with a few tweaks to my driving we will be on the pace.”

Allen will use the rest of the F4 season as a precursor to a title bid next season.

Meanwhile, the Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta ST Championship and the Mondello Park Fiesta Zetec series reach their concluding stages on Sunday’s double rounds at the County Kildare racing circuit. 

Fiesta ST champion David Maguire has a narrow lead over Shane McFadden, apart from just two races this duo have shared wins in all the other rounds.

In the Fiesta Zetec series Mark O’Donoghue leads from Owen Purcell, who has won four in succession to move within five points of O’Donoghue.

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