Alastair Fisher aims to emulate his late uncle Bertie in Irish Tarmac Rally Championship
Exactly 20 years after his late uncle Bertie Fisher won the last of his four Irish Tarmac Rally Championship titles, Alastair Fisher is aiming to follow in his footsteps.
The 27-year-old Tyrone driver has made only a handful of appearances in the series in recent times, concentrating instead on the World Championship Academy and Junior categories. But now he is planning a return to home territory and will drive an R5 Ford Fiesta supplied and run by the Scottish Dom Buckley Motorsport team.
"I've had fantastic experiences, claiming wins and podiums in WRC Academy and WRC Junior categories, but I look forward to rallying at home and it promises to be competitive with the new rules," said Fisher, who was Tarmac Group N champion in 2010.
The new 2016 rules will see the championship focus switch from the WRC supercars, which have dominated for more than two decades, to the newer, less expensive R5/S2000 cars.
Fisher said: "The R5 and S2000 competition will be intense which will lead to some great battles. These cars can be just as spectacular when pushed.
"And it will be nice to have the Fisher name back competing for the Tarmac Championship."
Narrowly beaten to the Junior WRC title in 2014 by Stephane Lefebrve, Fisher starts his Tarmac campaign in Galway at the beginning of next month. He will be partnered by experienced Omagh co-driver Gordon Noble.
More than a dozen R5/S2000 cars are expected to be in action in the Corrib Oil Galway International (February 6-7) including Fiestas driven by the Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh, the Citroen DS3 of triple British champion Keith Cronin and the Skoda Fabia of Aaron MacHale.
However, at least four past Tarmac champions are sticking with WRC cars, which will not score points in the overall championship.
Garry Jennings will continue to drive his S12 Subaru and Declan Boyle will be sticking with his WRC Ford Fiesta while Derek McGarrity plans to drive a similar car. Tim McNulty, the champion in 2011, will make his comeback in a WRC Mini from the Draperstown-based McGeehan Motorsport team.
Declan Gallagher, winner of the modified category last year, will drive a WRC car for the first time, an S8 Subaru loaned to him by 2013 champion Jennings.