Following on from his win on Rally Liepāja in Latvia, the Peugeot Rally Academy ace is keen to impress at home on an event that’s close to his heart.
What do you think of this year’s Circuit of Ireland route?
“Last year’s route was perfect, and I’m pleased to see that this year’s route is very similar. One stage on the Friday has been taken out and the long one on the Saturday has been replaced by another equally long one, but other than that the route is pretty much identical. There was one stage last year that was particularly tricky, but you have some great stages like Hamilton’s Folly. The roads are really nice and it’s a joy to drive. I’m just very pleased to have the opportunity to drive there again.”
How important is it for you to do well in front of your home fans – and can you win?
“The Circuit of Ireland means so much to me. I’ve grown up watching the event – for many years I’d watch the rally go by sitting on my dad’s shoulders and go down to Waterford, where the rally was based for many years, to see the start and finish. Irish rallying is very close to my heart and to win the Circuit of Ireland would be very, very special.”
There are quite a few Tarmac experts in the ERC. Which drivers do you think are likely to be your main rivals in Ireland?
“It really could be anyone. Kajetan Kajetanowicz will be very quick and while I don’t think Alexey Lukyanuk has done a rally on Tarmac before, he’ll be very quick too. There are also a lot of local drivers who’ll be doing the event, so you have to consider them as well. It’s impossible to pinpoint anyone at this stage.”