Desi Henry revved up to clinch title in Glens of Antrim Rally for a second time
There is nothing Desi Henry would like more than to end a memorable season by winning the Glens of Antrim Rally for a second time. But he intends to park those thoughts and concentrate on crossing the finish line.
Henry has the Valvoline Irish Forest Championship within his grasp, the hard work having already been done on previous rounds, and needs only a modest result in the top 10 in Saturday's finale to ensure he collects his first major title.
"I would relish a battle with the likes of Sam and Josh Moffett in what is effectively my home round of the championship but I don't think I can afford to take risks at this stage," says the Portglenone driver. "Depending on how other people go on the day I think we need to finish 10th or better to be sure."
In a long season which has included the British and Irish Tarmac Championships as well as the forest series, it didn't start out too promisingly with Henry's new R5 Skoda Fabia suffering reliability issues on the Galway International, West Cork Rally and the Circuit of Ireland.
But gradually he and his Macsport team got on top of the problems and the results began to flow with podium places in the Scottish and Nicky Grist Rally rounds of the British Championship as well as a first cross-channel win on the Carlisle Rally. Belatedly he also turned his attention to the Irish forest series, winning the Moonraker and Cork rounds.
Now, after strong points finishes in the Lakeland (fourth) and Limerick (second) rounds, Henry finds himself top of the standings going into the Mid Antrim Club's RiverRidge Re-Cycling-sponsored event which is based in Ballycastle.
Josh Moffett, the reigning champion, has also won twice this year but he and his brother Sam opted out of several rounds to concentrate on their Irish Tarmac and British title ambitions.
So it is Ger Lucey in his Mitsubishi who is Henry's closest challenger, just seven points behind, but with 'dropped scores' to be taken into account, his task is nigh impossible - provided Henry and co-driver Liam Moynihan make it to the finish on Saturday,
The Moffetts in their matching R5 Ford Fiestas are expected to lead the charge through the north Antrim forests of Ballypatrick, Beaghs and the daunting Slieveanorra.
The rally is based at McQuillan GAA club, Ballycastle, and starts at 10.30am.