Devine heading to Hungary with sights set on ERC
Callum Devine views his appearance in Hungary next week as a possible prelude to a European Rally Championship campaign next season.
Backed by Motorsport Ireland and supported by Hyundai Customer Racing, the 25-year-old from the village of Park in Co Derry will drive an R5 Hyundai i20 in Rally Hungary, which starts on November 8.
He and co-driver Brian Hoy finished third in Ireland's Tarmac series in their Ford Fiesta, consistently challenging new champion Craig Breen and runner-up Alastair Fisher, and they head to Hungary on the back of Devine's first outright win in the Donegal Harvest Rally.
"I'm planning an ERC campaign next year so this will be great experience and will give us plenty to work on over the winter," said Devine, who will get an opportunity to acclimatise to the Hyundai during the Rally Hungary official test on November 5.
"I've had a short test in a Hyundai around a circuit which was some help, but you can't beat the real thing on closed roads," he added. "We have to learn the event and the car, but hopefully we can show some good pace. I enjoy a challenge and this will be just that."
Like the bulk of the ERC registered drivers competing on Rally Hungary, Devine has no experience of the asphalt stages around host city Nyíregyháza.
"I've been watching some onboard videos and, although I'm used to driving on wet tarmac in Ireland, this event looks quite specialist with its rough roads and slippery conditions at this time of year," said Devine, who works in the property construction industry when he's not rallying.
Of his ERC aspirations, Devine said: "I have been following the ERC for a long time now, the competition is very high and the fact that the title is going down to the final round has created a lot of interest. If we can provide a surprise, all the better.
"Between the Junior World Championship and the Irish Tarmac series, I've built up plenty of international and R5 experience over the last two seasons, and I'm keen to see what we can achieve in an R5 car outside Ireland."
Devine is a former Billy Coleman Award winner and a member of Motorsport Ireland's Rally Academy, who have arranged the opportunity in Hungary with Hyundai and Philip Case's PCRS team, who will run the car.
Devine has been impressive in his first full season in a R5 car, taking podium finishes at the Rally of the Lakes, the Donegal International and the Ulster Rally, as well as winning the FIA Celtic Trophy.