Jerseyman Ed Fossey moved into sixth in the overall standings in the Protyre MSA Asphalt Championship and chalked-up the class win on the Carryduff Down Rally in Northern Ireland last weekend in the Yokohama Peugeot 208 R2 (21 July).
After championship success in the British forests last season, Fossey continues his rallying education with a year on the sealed-surface, with the legendary Irish lanes the latest battle ground for the Bournemouth University student.
Joining Ed in the Peugeot 208 R2 to help him discover Northern Ireland was the experienced Neil Colman and further aiding the Channel Islanders development was the experienced Melvyn Evans and his team who ran the French pocket-rocket.
135 entries took to the start line with Ed and Neil facing the 11-stage event in the Yokohama-backed Peugeot 208. From car 64, the Jersey driver was solely focused on claiming as many points as possible and gain some valuable Irish Tarmac miles under the belt. Getting off to a confident start, the 19-year-old adapted his style to the testing route, with the rally taking in some famous stages including Hamiltons Folly, where Ed flew the Peugeot over the impressive jumps.
By the halfway halt the Jersey teenager was holding his own against the experienced locals and more powerful machinery around him and was improving on his seeding as he broke into the top 60.
As the afternoon loop developed, Fossey was on song – enjoying his run on the Irish lanes.
Nearly 62 miles later, Fossey brought home the Peugeot into 52nd overall and most importantly the Asphalt Championship class win after a successful day in Ulster.
Speaking after his first trip across the Irish Sea, Fossey evaluated his weekend.
“The day went really well in general. Again I struggled a little throughout the morning just because of the nature of the roads – polar opposite to Belgium last time out! But once we got into the groove again it was a really rewarding day. It meant a lot to be able to get to the end of the event and have some more valuable experience from the day!
“Driving in Ireland is completely different to anywhere else I’ve experienced – feels as though you’re in the air more often than you’re going round corners, and I found because of that it was difficult to be able to feel as though I was getting a good push on. I also knew we needed to get to the end of the day so we were gaining more experience on good roads!”
After the opening half of the season, Ed reflected on his championship campaign so far.
“I think where we are at the minute we can’t complain. With, sixth overall and first two-wheel-drive in the championship is definitely way ahead of where I thought we would be at this point in the year – but it’s rewarding to be here. I think for sure I still know there’s a lot more pace to find out of the car in the second half of the year. I need to work on set-up and driving style for certain events and situations, but hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have sorted out these little issues and be able to feel completely at home in the car.”
The next round of the championship sees a return to Wales for the Mewla Rally on 25/26 August. The return to the famous Epynt Ranges will please Fossey as he will hope to utilise the experience gained on the Tour of Epynt earlier in the year.
2018 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship
Round One – 10/11 March – Melvyn Evans Motorsport Tour of Epynt (Wales)
Round Two – 11/12 May – Manx National Rally (Isle of Man)
Round Three – 9 June – Rally van Wervik (Belgium)
Round Four – 21 July – Carryduff Forklift Down Rally (Northern Ireland)
Round Five – 25/26 August – Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally (Wales)
Round Six – 27/28 October – Keldine Autos Cheviot Stages Rally (England)