Henry homes in on a pre-Easter Rally boost
His Skoda Fabia back to full working order after crashing out of the West Cork Rally, Desi Henry returns to the Northern Ireland Championship this weekend looking for a confidence-boosting run in the Maiden City Rally.
His main targets this year were the Irish Tarmac and British Championships but, after a less than stellar start, the Portglenone driver needs to get his season back on track, and where better than his domestic series, in which he was a winner last year and very nearly ended up as an accidental champion.
"Conditions in this early part of the season have been tricky - wet, slippery, muddy - and all the Skoda drivers have been struggling," said Henry, a former Irish forestry champion.
"It was disappointing to go out so early in West Cork but fortunately the car didn't suffer too much damage and we are ready to go again, and this weekend is a good opportunity to try some tweaks to the set-up before the next round of the Tarmac Championship, the Easter Stages.
"There is a good R5 entry with people like Callum Devine, Manus Kelly, Alan Carmichael and Mark Massey, so it should give us a fair indication of where we are in terms of pace."
A late addition to the entry list and not included in the original top 10 seeded drivers, Henry, winner of the Tour of the Sperrins last season, will be slotted in appropriately before the Strabane start on Saturday.
Heading the list is eight-time champion Derek McGarrity in his round two-winning WRC Ford Fiesta, with joint series leader Derek McGeehan at two in his WRC Mini and the R5 Hyundai of Carmichael at three. At No.4 is the Fiesta of former British Junior champion Devine, who hails from Feeney, a few miles from the Donemana area where Saturday's stages are based.