Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver David Kelly believes his season has reached a “turning point” as he heads to the fourth round of the Junior British Rally Championship this weekend, Trackrod Rally Yorkshire [24/25 September].
Kelly, 25 from Donegal has endured a tough season behind the wheel of his Glebe Builders backed M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally4 but a recent outing at the non-championship Bushwhacker Rally has seen an uplift in fortunes, taking a class win and top-twenty result in the process.
“It’s certainly has been a difficult year in the Junior BRC but sometimes these things just make you stronger,” says Kelly.
“I`ve been focusing on making sure our results on paper don’t have an impact on the next event and you do have to be resilient in this sport. There has been a lot of disappointment and many things out of our control, but we have kept on persevering and our Grampian [Forest Rally] result and last weekend’s class win back home was, I believe, a turning point”.
Kelly and co-driver Dean O’ Sullivan have shown impressive form on rounds of the hotly-contested Junior BRC this season as the race for the title gathers pace. The pairing were in the fight for a top result at the opening round at Oulton Park before a stage maximum put them out of contention.
A non-score in Wales would also add to the frustration but a blistering performance at the Grampian Forest Rally in August, saw a career-best second place in the Junior BRC, bettering his third spot at the Cambrian Rally in 2020. The podium place would also keep his title hopes alive thanks to the two dropped scores available, and now the progressive youngster has his sights set on another top result.
With seven points-scoring opportunities in total, the series heads into the second half of the year and the Trackrod Rally marks the first visit to the Yorkshire Forests for the BRC tour since 2013. Its ultra-fast and narrow stages are likely to be unfamiliar territory to most of the Junior BRC contenders and an 11-mile blast through the iconic Dalby Forest on Friday night offers an additional challenge.
Kelly is eager to continue his run of form in the English forests this weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to this one and I hope all of our run of bad luck is over with,” he says.
“With each passing stage the pace is getting quicker and quicker and I`m feeling more at home in the car than I`ve ever done. The Grampian and Bushwhacker results show we have the pace, we just need to keep that going into the weekend.”
“It's going to be a tough opener to the rally as I`ve never done a stage in the dark before but I`m certainly up for the challenge. It won’t be an easy battle as the Junior BRC pace is so intense, but we will give it our all from the word `go’. I must thank Brain Bonner Painting, Donegal Hardware, Cherry More Kitchens and Gortlee Tool Hire for all their work behind the scenes to make this happen for us. It should be a good one”.