McCourt to put faith in Rally2 Citroen for Donegal

“We’ve kissed a lot of girls but we’ve found our girl now”

That’s how Cathan McCourt’s co-driver Liam Moynihan described the pair’s feelings after making their Citroen C3 Rally2 debut on Saturday’s Maiden City Stages.

McCourt and Moynihan had sampled a Ford Fiesta Rally2 and a Skoda Fabia Rally2 ahead of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship event.

Saturday was their first competitive outing in the Citroen that has previously rallied on Italian and French asphalt.

Second overall on the Claudy-based rally could have easily been first had McCourt not overshot a junction on the final stage. Still, the County Tyrone pilot was happy to finish so close to rally-winner Desi Henry and is feeling optimistic about his future behind the wheel of the C3.

“The car felt really good,” McCourt described. “It was a lot better than I was expecting. We got on the pace right away.

“I stalled at the start-line of the first stage and we lost a bit of time on the first loop because we were running pretty much what was a gravel set-up.

“When we got that sorted we weren’t far away.

“The car suits me, it seems to roll a bit more. I like a car that moves about.

“I’m used to rallying on gravel so I don’t really like a car that feels too stiff. The Skoda was probably a bit too solid for me, the Fiesta wasn’t too bad.

“But the Citroen seems to move a bit and gives me a better feeling than the others have.”

McCourt set two fastest times on the third round of the NI Rally Championship. A blinder on Stage 4 was 4.2 seconds faster than anyone and gave him a 3.1-second rally lead.

With an in-form Henry nipping at his heels on Maiden City’s decider, McCourt knew he had to give it his all. The vital seconds lost with his overshoot proved decisive as Henry jumped ahead to take a 2.3-second victory.

It is McCourt’s best result on asphalt so far in a season where he specifically set out to test da variety of Rally2 cars. The feeling he has found with Citroen’s offering comes at the perfect time as McCourt and Moynihan gear up for June’s Donegal International Rally.

“I’ve gone rightly through the cars this year but I think I’ll hold onto this one for a while.

“If I could get one more rally under my belt before Donegal it would be great.

“I think we could definitely improve the car a bit more, there are still a few things we can do to make it a little better.

“We’ll probably do a day or two of testing before Donegal just to get it sitting as best as possible.

“I have done Donegal four times so I think it is the rally in the Irish Tarmac Championship that I have the most knowledge of.

“We will be going there to put on a bit of pressure.”

McCourt is on the Tyrone Stages Rally entry list but the 30-year-old admitted he wasn’t 100% sure if it was possible to go.

Either way, with a registration plate like FJ-952-DL, McCourt’s French flyer will fit right in when it lands in Donegal.

You can hear McCourt and Moynihan summarise their C3 Rally2 debut on this week’s Krunching Gears podcast.

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Photos by David Harrigan

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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