Motorsport is dangerous. It’s something that is said time and time again, and for good reason. Rally crews compete because of a love for the sport and each person knows the dangers.
On the first stage of the day I picked a spot near the end of the stage. The cars and tyres will be at their operating temperatures having completed most of the stages, and the drivers will have more confidence to push so I thought it’d be interesting. I stood on a gate to see them come over the crest and power through a hard right hander.
In between cars I got talking to other spectators including Chris Ingram’s father. It was interesting to hear his thoughts on his son competing. He’s clearly proud and supportive, but there’s still anxiety. I noticed that he left quietly just before Chris’ car passed.
I quickly found out that following every stage would be impossible, unless I just wanted to see the top drivers. I wanted to watch the junior drivers, and the Tuthill Porsche 911.
The Porsche is part of the RGT series and is the same car that won the Monte Carlo Rally a few months ago. I was chatting to Robert Woodside yesterday and he said everything is the same from Monte, even the suspension (“unfortunately”, he joked). The Irish roads are a fair bit bumpier and the stiff suspension means Robert’s going to have an uncomfortable ride.
Overall I missed three stages today, which isn’t bad. I got to see at least some of each route, including the longest of the day, Hamilton’s Folly. There weren’t very many vantage points at the corner I chose, but I found a spot to see the run down the mountain, through a fast left-right chicane, and out again.
The drivers had already tried the stage earlier in the day so I didn’t think anyone would be caught out. I was wrong. Scottish driver Euan Torburn carried too much speed in his Fiesta, hitting a grass verge on the exit. I caught the impact on camera, right before the car speared into a hedge. The Fiesta recovered from the incident almost as quick as it started, but it was still a close call for the crew.
After a 8 stages Craig Breen leads Robbie Barrable by 1 second with others close behind. It was always going to be close and with 10 stages tomorrow, it’s far from over!