Irish rally driver Geoffrey Dolan has bought the Opel Astra that carried Christopher Evans to the British Rallycross Championship title in 2006, and will race the car in the series this season. Dolan has previously competed in rallycross in the RX150 division, but the first round of the British Championship at Croft next week will be his first ever event in a Supercar. The Donegal man drove the Astra for the first time at a test in England earlier this week, at Teesside Autodrome.
“I’ve done nearly all stage rallying before, mainly always in rear-wheel drive cars, although I did have an Escort WRC at one time and a couple of Group N cars. All my competing in rallies has been on tarmac, no loose at all apart from what I’ve done in the buggies, and nothing with this kind of power so it’s all a big learning curve. I knew this car and the history of it, so why I thought why not! It’s a lovely car,” said Dolan at the test session, where he got seat time in the freshly painted Astra before Croft next week.
“It feels like a nice easy car to drive, I just hope I can learn to drive it as well as Christopher did and we will be doing well. We’re doing Croft and if things go well there, then we’ll go to the next one. That’s the plan. I’d like to do as many events as we can. I just want a nice finish at Croft, just to get a good feel for the car. I’ll use three or four events to get used to it, then we’ll stretch our legs a bit and risk putting a couple of dents on it. I think it will be good competition this season. Mondello should be good too, I’ve been round there once before in a buggy and it will be fun in a Supercar.”
The Supercar newcomer is pleased that Tony Bardy, who rebuilt and ran the former Steiar Joranli Astra for Evans, will be present on events this season with Ollie O’Donovan. “It’s good to have Tony around, he’s a good guy and he knows the car inside out. I’ve also got Bobby Sharkey who does all my stuff in Ireland for me, so he will be involved on some events too. We’ll be ok.”
Eleven Supercars are entered for the first round of the British Championship next week. Champion Julian Godfrey will face stiff opposition from local man Kevin Procter, Irishman Ollie O’Donovan and World RX regular Andy Scott amount others. Scott will run in a sole Albatec Racing Peugeot 208, before being joined by Mark Flaherty from round two. Steve Harris, who finished second in the British series last season driving a Ford Focus, will race a Citroen DS3 as team-mate to the returning Pat Doran. Harris will race the car affectionately known by the LD Motorsport team as Dorris, which was raced by Doran, Riku Tahku and Flaherty last season, while Doran himself will race the car used by son Liam in the European Championship in 2013, and by a selection of drivers in the World Championship last season; including Davy Jeanney, Lars Oivind Enerberg and Henning Solberg.
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