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McCormack: I had to make R5 switch to have a shot at success

By Sammy Hamill

Published 01/12/2016

New car: Marty McCormack will be in an R5 Skoda Fabia next year
New car: Marty McCormack will be in an R5 Skoda Fabia next year

Marty McCormack is switching to an R5 Skoda Fabia for next season and has become one of the first drivers to sign up for the 2017 British Rally Championship.

The former BRC junior champion from Draperstown is replacing his S2000 Skoda with the R5 Fabia which was driven by England's Neil Simpson this year.

"I had several options but I wanted to continue with the Skoda brand," said McCormack, just back from Rally Australia where he finished sixth in the historic section of the World Championship event in his Ford Escort.

"The BRC is where I want to be and to have Ypres Rally in Belgium included is fantastic. The events are great and the bite-size formats are good logistically, making it a cost-effective Championship."

McCormack was the leading S2000 runner this year but suffered mechanical problems on early rounds, including the Circuit of Ireland where he was in fourth in the European Championship event before he was sidelined with fuel pump failure.

He was fifth on the Pirelli Carlisle Rally and fifth again on the Ulster Rally, the top S2000 car each time, but it was then that McCormack realised he couldn't compete with the turbocharged R5 cars.

"I thought I could do the same on the Ulster Rally as I did on the Circuit but the stages were a lot slower with more junctions, so all I could do was go for a solid finish. It was from that moment I had to look at an R5 machine," he explained.

McCormack and his Tiger Risk team are planning a pre-season testing programme which will include the Llandudno-based Cambrian Rally and possibly the local Turkey Run Rally at the end of December.

"It's hard to know how we will do next year as we don't know who will be entering, but podiums are the minimum and after a round or two wins have to be the target," he added.

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