Sat 04 Mar 2023

O’Brien calls on Ingram and ERC All Live for Fafe tips

Patrick O’Brien has turned to ERC All Live plus former European champion Chris Ingram for vital tips ahead of next week’s Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto.

The Portuguese gravel counter from 10 - 12 March marks O’Brien’s debut in the FIA European Rally Championship. To overcome his lack of knowledge of the challenging terrain, O’Brien turned to watching the ERC All Live coverage of last year’s event to gain an understanding of what lies in store.

“I don’t have so much knowledge, just the DVD work I’ve done and from watching ERC All Live from last year, that has been a big help,” said the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy recruit. “But from watching the coverage you can tell if it’s dry it’s going to be a very enjoyable rally. But if it’s wet it will definitely be tricky although I can’t wait because dry or wet it’s going to be good fun and a great experience.”

O’Brien, 25, is the Irish Forestry champion from 2022 and will make his ERC debut in the ex-Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia R5 Chris Ingram used during the 2018 European Rally Championship season (pictured below) prior to him becoming champion the following year.

“I spoke to Chris about the rally, he’s done pretty well for himself as the European champion,” O’Brien said. “Phil Case, who runs Josh McErlean through PCRS, and through the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy he was a great help. And the Academy themselves have great contacts and any question that I ask there was no problem answering it.”

Co-driven by his older brother Stpehen, O’Brien is working on plans to tackle as many as five ERC events this season. “Obviously the funding is always the big thing,” he said. “We’re not going to do the full European championship but there are maybe four or five events we can possibly do.

“My car is the first-gen Fabia but it’s basically about getting the knowledge of the stages and it’s a good enough car to do that.

“I’ve done quite a lot of gravel driving but when I was 12 years of age in the junior cars it was always Tarmac. I kind of got away from Tarmac but we had quite a good result on the first round of the Irish Tarmac championship a few weekends ago. Tarmac is certainly good, but gravel is good fun.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM