Devine: “We want to fight at the front end and get another ERC podium when possible”
Callum Devine is hoping to enjoy a Fiesta in this season’s FIA European Rally Championship, which kicks-off on ORLEN 77th Rally Poland next month.
The 27-year-old ERC podium finisher has secured continued support from Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, the talent-backing initiative from his country’s ASN, to contest the upcoming ERC season in a Ford Fiesta Rally2, with assistance from M-Sport. Devine’s fellow Irishman James Fulton will co-drive.
“We want to go and fight at the front end and get another ERC podium, when possible,” said the 27-year-old. “If we can achieve a podium that would be great. Obviously, the competition in ERC is crazy-strong, but we hope to be mixing it with the guys at the front for speed, especially on rounds we’ve been to before. We’ve had some good seat time in the car, and I feel comfortable in the Fiesta. We just need some competitive stage miles now because it will be good to see where our pace is at.”
He continued: “We’d like to pick up where we left off in terms of speed from the end of last year and improve on that and be more consistent, inside the top five or six and try to get some good points this year after last year didn’t start so good when we retired from our first two events.
“We’re turning over a new leaf now with a new car, new team, new everything. We’ve got good support from M-Sport and we’re also really grateful to everyone who has continued in supporting us. It takes a lot of backing to mount a challenge at this level and I’m delighted to welcome some new partners on board this season including Parts For Cars, Lyons of Limerick, Rentokil Initial, Trailerstuff.ie and Fire Protection Ireland. Without them and existing backers like Curran Gate, Pirelli, TST Transport, EARS Motorsport, Marina Racewear and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, this season just wouldn’t be possible.”
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “The European Rally Championship has long been a proving ground for young talent looking to make their mark on the world stage, and it’s great to see another young driver choosing to take this route with the Fiesta. We’ve been aware of Callum for a number of years now following strong performances with the Fiesta R2 in the Junior World Rally Championship and Fiesta R5 in Ireland. He’s got talent, and I’m keen to see what he can do as he tackles some of Europe’s most famous events with the Fiesta Rally2.”
M-Sport Ford Team Principal, Richard Millener, added: “It’s great to see Callum back behind the wheel of the Fiesta and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do this year. He had a great season with the Fiesta in 2019, finishing third overall in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and securing his first victory in Donegal – and we’re all keen to see him carry those performances onto the European stage. He’s already completed one year at this level, and now that he’s reunited with the Fiesta, we want to help him take that next step. He’s got the initial experience under his belt, and we will give him as much support as we can to allow him to excel. The competition will be strong, but Callum is a very determined and talented young driver with the potential to surprise a few people this year.”
Devine and Fulton will prepare for ORLEN 77th Rally Poland with an outing on the Polish championship opener, the Lithuania-based Rally Žemaitija from June 4-6. As well as providing experience on terrain similar to what they will discover in neighbouring Poland, the event will provide the first opportunity for the striking livery of their Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy Fiesta to be shown in public.