Former Billy Coleman Award winner Derry’s Callum Devine (Hyundai i20 R5) was the top Irish driver in the Rally Islas Canarias, the final and deciding round of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Wet conditions, particularly during the opening day made for some interesting results with tyre choice proving a lottery as Devine came home in eighth place (claiming a third-placed podium spot in the ERC1 Junior category of the rally) 15.1 seconds behind Russian rocket Alexey Lukyanuk (Citroen C3 R5) in seventh, who did enough to claim his second ERC crown in three years.
French driver Adrien Fourmaux, an event debutant, took his first outright victory in the FIA European Rally Championship event onboard his M-Sport Ford World Rally Team-entered Fiesta R5 MkII.
Meanwhile, Waterford’s Craig Breen in the MRF Tyres backed Hyundai i20 R5 was 11th; Derry’s Josh McErlean (Hyundai i20R5) was 23rd with the similar car of Pauric Duffy 35th, Tyrone’s Cathan McCourt retired his Fiesta R5 with a technical issue prior to SS 10.
Swedish driver Oliver Solberg (VW Polo GTi R5) and his Tyrone co-driver Aaron Johnson were fourth overall and second in ERC1 Junior category which was enough to clinch the ERC Junior title and the €100,000 fund for two European championship rallies in 2021.
Solberg/Johnson were second overall in the main category.
Last year’s event winner Jose Maria Lopez (Citroen C3 R5) made an early exit when he slid off on the wet conditions, clouting a palm tree that broke the rear suspension.
Like so many of the others Devine struggled with tyre choice and grip during the opening leg, he clipped a wall early on and ended the day 13th with Breen two places further behind illustrating the difficulties that the weather conditions posed as drivers gambled on tyre choice.
The second and final leg wasn’t much different, Devine served up his best performance with a third fastest time on the 12.4 km S.S. 15. Breen continued his development work with the MRF tyre while McErlean collected his second puncture on the rally, this time just some 3km from the end of SS 15.
1. A. Fourmaux/R. Jamoul (Ford Fiesta R5 MkII) 2h. 12m. 21.2s; 2. Y. Bonato/B. Boulloud (Citroen C3 R5) +25.0s; 3. I. Ares/D. Vázquez (Hyundai i20 R5) +55.6s; 4. O. Solberg/A. Johnston (Volkswagen Polo GTi R5) +1m. 17.4s; 5. J. Suarez/A. Iglesias (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +1m. 39.1s; 6. A. Mikkelsen/A. Jaeger-Amland (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +1m. 48.8s; 7. A. Lukyanuk/A. Arnautov (Citroen C3 R5) +2m. 10.6s; 8. C. Devine/J. Fulton (Hyundai i20 R5) +2m. 25.7s; 9. M. Marczyk/S. Gospodarczyk (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +2m. 32.1s; 10. L. Monzon/J. C. Déniz (Citroen C3 R5) +2m. 32.4s; 11. C. Breen/P. Nagle (Hyundai i20 R5) +2m. 33.0s; 23. J. McErlean/K. Williams (Hyundai i20 R5) +6m. 16.3s.
1. A. Lukyanuk 121points; 2. O. Solberg 112pts; 3. G. Munster 86pts; 4. I Ares 59pts; 5 A. Mikkelsen 52pts; 6. E. Llena 52pts; 7. C. Breen 49pts.