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Garry Jennings is hoping to leave troubles in past and power to victory at Galway Rally

By Sammy Hamill

It might not be seen as perfect preparation for a potentially wet and muddy Galway Rally, but Garry Jennings loved slip-sliding his way around a frozen lake in Sweden.

The former Irish Tarmac champion from Kesh spent the weekend testing a revised version of the R5-specification Mitsubishi Mirage he drove on last year's Ulster Rally with a view to further appearances in the Spencer Sport car which was designed by Swedish engineer Tomas Weng.

First, however, is this weekend's Corrib Oil Galway International where Jennings will be back on board his WRC Subaru Impreza aiming to repeat his 2016 victory. He lines up at No.1 in a field which includes another former Tarmac champion, Declan Boyle, and reigning Irish national champion Roy White, both in WRC Ford Fiestas.

Although ineligible for the overall Tarmac title, which now focuses on R5 cars, Jennings and co in their more powerful WRC machines are again expected to be the main contenders for outright victory on the opening round of the 2017 season.

From Sweden, Jennings headed to the old Aghadowey airfield yesterday to get to grips with his S12 Subaru which, after his Galway and Mayo rally wins, proved troublesome last season. Prodrive engineers were in attendance to oversee the test session and Jennings was hopeful the engine issues would be resolved.

"Fingers crossed it has all been sorted out and everything will be ready for Galway," he said. "The past few rallies have been a bit frustrating and it would be good to get off to a winning start."

Jennings plans to return to Sweden shortly to continue testing the Mitsubishi which he hopes will appear on an Irish event later in the year.

"The car has come on and all being well we will have it over here again before too long," he said. "I enjoyed the test on the frozen lake but unfortunately we couldn't get to try it on a proper rally stage. Unless there is a good covering of snow they won't let you onto the forest tracks.

"Tomas Weng's team are building two new cars for the Asia-Pacific Championship and when they are finished I'll be going back out again for more tests."

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