| 11.6°C Belfast

Fisher hopes to keep up proud Clark tradition

Close

Alastair Fisher

Alastair Fisher

Alastair Fisher

It has been a chalk and cheese season so far for Alastair Fisher.

In the Irish Tarmac rally championship the 21-year-old from Trillick has been the model of consistency, scoring points on every round and becoming the first driver of a production car to lead the series.

But in the British championship, his main target at the start of the year, he has suffered successive non-finishes and has zero points.

It is a situation Fisher hopes to change on this weekend’s Jim Clark Memorial Rally in Scotland where the Irish have a proud record.

From Andrew Nesbitt in 2002 through to Eugene Donnelly in 2009, Irish drivers have won seven times in eight years.

But with WRC cars now banned from the British championship it will be up to the new breed of young chargers like Fisher, Keith Cronin, Craig Breen and Jonny Greer in their Group N production machines to maintain the Clark Rally record and keep the Irish flag flying.

And they are more than capable of doing it.

The Irish are the dominant force in British rallying at the moment. Cronin is the current British champion and won the opening round again this year in Wales.

He also had round two, the Pirelli International, in the bag until a his Subaru was sidelined following a last stage puncture.

Fisher was right in the picture, too, on both rounds but transmission trouble stopped his Mitsubishi while 20-year-old Breen has been see-sawing between podium places and non-finishes in his exciting little M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

All of which leaves Greer, the 22-year-old from Carryduff, as the British championship leader, his consistency in the DGM Mitsubishi giving him a six-point lead over Icelander Daniel Sigurdarson at the top of the standings.

The biggest threat to further Irish success is expected to be Welsh veteran and former champion Gwyndaf Evans who won the Pirelli International after Cronin’s late exit. But even if he does win again there will something for the Irish to celebrate as his co-driver is Ballyclare’s former PWRC champion Chris Patterson.

The Clark Rally, which is based around Jim Clark’s home town of Duns in the Scottish borders, begins with a ceremonial start in Edinburgh tomorrow afternoon.

Belfast Telegraph