Devine can't wait to take on an all new challenge in snowy Sweden
There may have been snow and ice around the north west of the province these past few days but it will have been nothing like the conditions Callum Devine faces when he makes his Swedish Rally debut next week.
The British junior champion from Park near Londonderry is one of 15 drivers from 12 countries contesting the World Junior Championship, a five-round series which starts in the snowy Swedish forests next Thursday.
"It will be a new experience for me," said Devine. "I've never driven a snow rally before or a rally car on studded tyres. It is going to be interesting."
Devine won the British junior title last year, fighting off the determined challenge from, among others, fellow Ulsterman William Creighton. It led to him being chosen for Motorsport Ireland's Billy Coleman Award bursary and he has decided to use the £43,000 windfall, plus his £30,000 British Championship prize money, to fund a step up to the World Junior series.
It will see 15 drivers using identical R2T Ford Fiestas which have been built by the Polish arm of the M-Sport organisation. After Sweden they head for Corsica, Portugal, Finland and Turkey.
"I've always wanted to try World Championship rallies and after winning the British junior prize, along with the Billy Coleman Award, it seems best to give it a go," said Devine, who will be co-driven by Keith Moriarty.
Devine doesn't expect to have much opportunity to test his Fiesta on snow ahead of the rally apart from the shakedown stage.
He said: "We're used to not having much testing so it's not a big deal. We know we are up against some quick guys but if we can finish close on the top three on each round, and push where we can, we'll be happy."
Among the quickest is expected to be Swede Emil Bergkvist, already successful at European Championship level but now switching to JWRC with his eyes on the top prize - a brand-new Fiesta R5, 200 Pirelli tyres as well as fuel and the entry fee being paid for the 2019 WRC2 Championship.