Callum Devine and Josh McErlean will break new ground for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy by competing on the Olympus Rally in April. It will be an American debut for both drivers as they pit themselves against the best of the ARA National Championship.
Unlike their European Rally Championship outings last year, the pair will be competing in differing cars. Rally Insight understands that Devine has decided to swap his Hyundai i20 R5 for M-Sport’s latest Rally2 Fiesta this season.
McErlean continues where he left off in 2019, driving a Philip Case Rallysport prepared i20 R5. He’ll utilise Enda McCormack’s PCRS car for the Olympus Rally.
Both drivers look set to enter the ERC’s opening round, the Azores Rally, when they return from America. As McErlean explains, the Olympus Rally will provide a timely chance to gain more R5 experience on gravel.
“I thought I had used up my quota of amazing opportunities over the last 12 months or so,” admitted McErlean. “But this is truly a unique chance to experience rallying on the other side of the world and gain some valuable experience outside of my comfort zone.”
“Contesting the Olympus Rally means I get mileage in the Hyundai i20 R5 on gravel and coupled with it, a wealth of experience on a new surface and type of event.
“It’s great to be able to get seat time at the moment which means we should be able to hit the ground running when we get our European Championship campaign underway.”
The two-day Olympus Rally will be a proper challenge for both drivers with 12 stages covering a total of 226 kilometres. With Travis Pastrana, Ken Block, and Barry McKenna heading the championship this year in a highly-strung Subaru, R5+ Skoda, and a Fiesta WRC; Devine and McErlean will have a great platform to show their promise.
It’s set to mark the start of an exciting year for both drivers. While McErlean benefits from being a Hyundai Junior driver in 2021, Devine has returned to a model of rally car that brought him so much confidence in his inspiring 2019 season.
The Olympus Rally will take place on 24-25 April, the same weekend as Rally Croatia where we can expect to see further familiar names on the entry list.
Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motorsport