Wed 31 May 2023

McErlean relishes Østberg fight, makes more ERC progress

Josh McErlean used the third round of the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship to deliver “one of our best rallies to date”, engaging in a fight for fourth place before securing an ERC career-best seventh on ORLEN 79th Rally Poland earlier this month.

The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy star was battling for fourth spot with Mads Østberg when a high-speed spin dropped him to seventh in the final order.

Nevertheless, his impressive pace plus the experience he gained on board his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 have handed him a big boost heading into a busy summer of action.

“It was probably one of our best rallies to date,” said the 23-year-old, who was co-driven by fellow Irishman John Rowan. “It was important for us to have the speed and show progression and to be fighting with a guy like Mads is good for us. You have to be on the limit to try and learn and we’ve been on the limit. There are places to improve but this is all part of the game. The Hyundai is an incredible car to drive and the team has done a great job.”

He continued: “It was definitely a very good event for us and we’ve shown some very good speed along the way. This afternoon was quite tricky with the ruts and, unfortunately, on the first stage out of service we spun quite early on and lost about 20s or so and it put us out of contention for fourth place. That was a little bit disappointing but going forward it was important for us to have the speed going into these fast rallies in the summer.

“I think we could have given a good race for fourth, especially on this last stage we weren’t 100 per cent committed and the time wasn’t bad. We could have done something higher up the leaderboard but it wasn’t about that this weekend, it was to help with the confidence going forward.”

McErlean will be in action on the FIA World Rally Championship-counting Rally Italia Sardegna from tomorrow (Thursday) until Sunday.

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