Derry rally driver Callum Devine has secured one of the biggest opportunities of his career after being awarded a priority entry by Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing for the final round of the FIA European Rally Championship in Hungary, at the wheel of a Hyundai i20 R5.
Devine (25), from Park, and his co-driver, Brian Hoy, from Co Fermanagh, will drive the car in the prestigious event, which is the final round of the FIA European Rally Championship, on November 8th, 9th and 10th across 14 stages totalling just over 200 competitive kilometres.
The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, of which Devine is a part, have arranged for the car to be managed and run by Philip Case and his team at PCRS, with support of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.
The event will give the Derry driver, winner of the 2017 Billy Coleman Award, a chance to demonstrate his ability in one of motorsport’s biggest rallying series outside of the World Rally Championship.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity to see what myself and Brian can achieve in an R5 car outside Ireland,” admitted Devine.
“I’m not one to shy away from a challenge and, yes, while this will be a great experience, I want to be competitive at this level. Between the Junior World
Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Championship, I’ve built up plenty of international and R5 experience over the last two seasons and I see this as chance to step up a level.”
Hot from his recent win on the Donegal Harvest Stages Rally, Devine has spent the last two years proving why he is one of Motorsport Ireland’s elite drivers. This year alone, the Co. Derry driver has enjoyed many impressive outings in his first full season in an R5 car – including podium finishes at the Rally of the Lakes, the Donegal International Rally and the Ulster Rally, as well as winning the FIA Celtic Trophy.
The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy has developed a strong relationship with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing over the last year, which has seen some of its best young rally talent take advantage of the opportunity to not only drive a top spec i20 R5 car but also to experience what it is like to be involved with a professional rally team.
“Having Callum in the car for Rally Hungary is a good opportunity for both him and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing,” explained Andrew Johns, Customer Racing, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH.
“For Callum, it’s an opportunity to show his capabilities in front of an international audience but it’s also a chance to have an i20 R5 competing in the European championship – one of the most competitive series for in the R5 category.
“With PCRS, Callum will be working with one our top customer teams who have shown the good performance with the car all season in Britain and Ireland, including running Tom Cave to third in class at Wales Rally GB.”The Rally Academy has been set up to encourage young rally drivers to follow a clear pathway to success from competing in the junior entry level classes right up to experiencing world class competition cars.
Leo Hassett, CEO Motorsport Ireland, said: “Encouraging young talent and providing them with the opportunity to experience what it is like to become part of a professional set up is very important for us as we develop the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy programmes further.
“The opportunity for Callum and Brian to work with a professional team like Philip Case Rally Sport, who will be running the car, at a prestigious European Rally Championship event in Hungary is priceless for their career development. I know that they will be determined to showcase their talent on the international stage.
“We are very happy to build this link with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and look forward to working with them on a variety of projects in 2020.”