Thu 07 Dec 2023

ERC star McErlean to go on Safari with the boss

Josh McErlean will swap the stages of the FIA European Rally Championship for the punishing roads of Kenya when he makes his debut on the East African Safari Classic Rally from 9 - 18 December.

McErlean, an ERC regular in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, will team up with John Coyne for the ultra-demanding event, which features a competitive route of more than 1600 kilometres. A typical ERC event covers 180 timed kilometres.   

Coyne and McErlean will compete in a Porsche 911 from 1975 run in the colours of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, of which Coyne is the founder and principal benefactor and McErlean one of a number of talented beneficiaries.

“The journey with John and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy to date has simply been incredible, the passion and determination shown by this man keeps on amazing us,” said the 24-year-old McErlean, who is entered as Coyne’s navigator but will share driving duties on certain road sections. “Nine days of Safari is sure to bring many challenges, long stages, open roads, unpredictable weather, no recce, no notes, with each day’s route only published the night before and the odd animal thrown into the mix. But we will do our best to prepare for what’s to come.”  

Coyne said: “The Safari has been on my bucket list for a long time. While the challenge of the varied terrain, the long stages and nine days of non-stop action is daunting, I’m really excited to finally go and do this iconic rally. It’ll be a real challenge and I just hope my 73-year-old body can keep up with the determined youngster who lives in my head. The plan is to finish and finish well and enjoy every minute of this unique experience.”  

McErlean scored an ERC career-high fourth on Tet Rallye Liepāja in June (pictured above) and made six appearances last season. He also tackled several rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship.

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