M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux will journey across to Northern Ireland in August for the Modern Tyres Ulster Rally to reconvene his pursuit of a first Motorsport UK British Rally Championship crown.
Fourmaux was among the very first people to throw his name into the hat for the two-day Tarmac classic not long after entries were opened by organisers from Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd.
The Frenchman’s participation is a major coup and promises to attract record numbers of fans to the Newry-based event which is a points-scoring round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and, in a further boost to its international status, the new-look FIA European Rally Trophy.Having triumphed on the first three British rounds, Fourmaux – who is dovetailing appearances in the competition with outings in the World Rally Championship’s WRC2 support series – already enjoys a commanding 44-point lead over Irishman and four-time British champion, Keith Cronin.
Fourmaux’s path to glory last time out in Belgium was simplified by the retirement of countryman Stéphane Lefebvre to a huge roll on the Friday afternoon. Over the remaining stages, he managed his pace to perfection and went on take the win and full points by 17.6 seconds.
“It is absolutely fantastic to have a driver like Adrien already confirmed,” said returning Clerk of the Course Wayne Turkington. “Adrien is very well-known to fans of the sport locally through his continued involvement in the World Rally Championship, so their expectations of him are sure to be very high. “It is going to be fantastic to have crews from the two main Championships in the UK and Ireland resume their rivalry in a few weeks’ time to see who will come out on top. “Since we opened entries at the start of the week these have been coming in steadily and that means we are on course for a full field featuring many of the best R5 and Rally2 drivers.” Other names of interest include Callum Devine (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) – the winner of the last three Irish Tarmac rounds – and defending Irish Tarmac champion Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5). A number of changes are in the pipeline for the Ulster Rally. Taking place on August 18th/19th, it will consist of ten special stages, with the Friday leg incorporating roads that haven’t been used for some time.
“At almost one hundred competitive miles, we expect the route to be challenging but enjoyable,” added Turkington.