Duggan eyeing R5 return to Irish Tarmac Championship

Rob Duggan is hopeful of competing in this year’s Irish Tarmac Championship in an R5. The Killarney Historic Rally winner is aiming to do more events in 2020 after only entering two rallies last year.

“Plans for 2020 are still in progress,” admitted Duggan. “I’m not giving up on trying to get an R5 drive yet. If that doesn’t work out, I’m sure I will get out in a Mk2 Escort and have some fun during the year.

“The Tarmac Championship would be the dream; I would like to get a big car [R5] for Killarney and Donegal – if I can’t get it for more events.

“Most importantly though, I just want to enjoy my rallying.”

Duggan has become known for his blinding pace, especially on his home rallies in Killarney. He fought off 2019 ITRC champion and World Rally driver Craig Breen to win the Killarney Historic Rally last November.

“It was one of the biggest victories for me. To battle with Craig and come out on top, with very little seat time last year, was a great achievement.

“Some would say that I’ve mastered Killarney, but I don’t think my pace changes anywhere I go.

“I think I proved that back in 2018 when I did Donegal [Rally] in an R5. New car, first time in Donegal and I went fastest on the first stage.

“I guess the comfort of home territory always helps but any success comes down to the determination all of us have to win.”

The 26-year-old has struggled for consistent rally starts since his Junior World Rally Championship campaign came to a premature end in 2017. The season before Duggan had been dominant, winning the Junior British Rally Championship in a Vauxhall Adam R2.

“We took a big step back after the JWRC as we realised how hard it is to compete at that level without a budget.

“We still haven’t fully overcome those challenges yet, but we will be out more regularly in 2020, not as much as we would like but still more than in recent years.

“It is very frustrating but it’s the harsh reality of rallying. It’s even more frustrating after going up against one of twenty drivers in the world who is currently driving in the WRC and beating him fair and square – it shows we have the pace when it’s needed.”

As Duggan pieces together his 2020 rallying jigsaw, many rallying fans around Ireland will be hoping to see him at the sharp end of the Tarmac Championship. And you can be sure that if his plans do come together, he won’t just be making up the numbers.

Adam Hall

Brought up in the Irish countryside, Adam was never far away from the world of rallying. From following local events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster Rally, Adam now puts the stories from stages all around the world into words through his website Rally Insight.

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