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Wed 24 Apr 2024

Career-high Hungary for Irish Junior ERC stars

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy duo Jack Brennan and Aoife Raftery more than delivered when the 2024 FIA Junior ERC Championship got under way on V-Híd Rally Hungary earlier this month.

On his Junior ERC debut, Brennan finished fifth with team-mate Aoife Raftery missing out on her maiden category podium by 6.1sec following a fine drive on the event’s challenging gravel stages.  


But it could so easily have been a third-place finish for Raftery had she not been forced to nurse her Peugeot 208 Rally4 through the final loop of stages after the PCRS-run car was damaged in a heavy impact on SS10.  


Raftery also picked up a 10-second time penalty for a delayed start to SS4 while she and co-driver Hannah McKillop rushed to change tyres.  


“We tried our best to keep our place but we had to manage the car for the last loop,” 23-year-old Raftery said. “But I’m delighted to finish fourth, it’s one of the best finishes on one of the toughest events we’ve done.”

Brennan, who was rallying at international level for the first time, said: “It was the toughest event I’ve ever done. If you had told me on Friday evening I’d be fifth overall I’d be absolutely over the moon so it’s a great way to start the championship. It was really hard but thanks to everyone who got us here and ran us. I definitely want to taste more.”  


Nineteen-year-old Brennan is competing in Junior ERC using funds gained from winning the Billy Coleman Award, a Motorsport Ireland initiative-supporting young talents from the country. Coleman won five ERC events during his standout career behind the wheel.  


Brennan and Raftery will be back on Junior ERC duty when Rally Islas Canarias hosts round two of the season from 2 - 4 May.