Belfast Telegraph

Henry is aiming to home in on Ulster Rally joy

By Sammy Hamill

It is the annual face-off between the top two Rally Championships in the British Isles and one local driver in particular has his heart set on a home win.

The John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally brings together the Irish Tarmac and British Championships, pitting the top drivers from both series against each other for the only time in the season, and Desi Henry is viewing it as the perfect chance to chase his first International win.

Henry saw his hopes of winning the Irish title all but end when his R5 Skoda Fabia suffered fuel pump failure on day one of the Donegal International, so the target now is the top step of the podium on the August 17-18 event which will be based in Antrim town and supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Council.

From just up the road in Portglenone, Henry will be on home territory for a rally which clerk of the course Philip Murray says will feature classic stages in the Co Antrim and Sperrins regions.

Henry, a former Irish forest champion and winner of the Northern Ireland Championship Sperrins Rally earlier this year, attended yesterday's launch along with another leading home contender, Jonny Greer, in the splendid surroundings of Antrim Castle gardens, the start venue.

He said: "It has been a mixed season so far, but the retirement in Donegal was a blow, so the aim now has to be to go for my first international win."

And it would be all the sweeter if he could pull it off on an event which will be headlined by last year's winner, the four-time British champion Keith Cronin, and the current leader of the BRC series Matt Edwards, as well as the top two in the Tarmac Championship, the Moffett brothers Sam and Josh.

The rally was last hosted by Antrim in 2012 and welcoming it back, the mayor, Councillor Paul Michael, commented: "Major events such as this make a huge contribution to raising the profile of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough as a tourist destination throughout the island of Ireland.

"The last time we hosted the event, almost £1million of economic benefit was generated and we hope to increase on this for 2018."

Belfast Telegraph

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