The three-way fight to be crowned Carryduff Forklift Road To Wales champion will be decided over six special stages and forty two competitive miles on this Saturday’s Bushwhacker Rally in Omagh. At stake is a free entry and a fully funded drive in a David Greer Motorsport-prepared Citroën DS3 R3 on November’s Wales Rally GB – a prize worth more than thirty thousand pounds (£30,000).
Three drivers are in the hunt but it is Rob Duggan – a 22-year-old from Killarney – who holds the initiative going into the closing round. A runner-up finish to either Kesh’s Jon Armstrong or Omagh’s Alan Smyth will be enough for him and team-mate Ger Conway to seal the overall title. And because a victory isn’t essential on the gravel counter there won’t be as much pressure on the Peugeot duo.
Duggan had the chance to wrap up the series on the penultimate round, but his first DNF of the season on the Lakeland Stages Rally blew the competition wide open. The biggest benefactor of all was Armstrong, who used it as a springboard to take back-to-back wins aboard his similar Peugeot 208 R2. “Hopefully we have better luck this time around compared to the Lakelands,” said Duggan, who admits the relatively low-speed accident has dented his confidence somewhat. “I’m going to the Bushwhacker to give my all and hopefully it will be enough to pull off a good finish. To win would be an amazing achievement. It would be an unreal feeling for me and everyone in the team to come out on top in such a great championship.”
Hoping to deny him will be Armstrong and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan Jnr, who breathed new life into their title bid following a fourth win on the Lakeland Stages Rally. However, a repeat performance on the Bushwhacker won’t guarantee them the prize drive on Wales Rally GB. In order for that to happen, Duggan must finish third or lower. “The only approach open to us is to try and win the last round as it will be our only hope of winning the championship. Whatever else happens is out of our control,” said Armstrong, adding: “I really enjoyed getting back onto gravel again and getting to learn more about the car. It’s really fun to drive, so I’m going to the Bushwacker Rally full of confidence.”
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