Belfast Telegraph

Rising Ulster stars Creighton and Devine in title duel

 

By Sammy Hamill

They have taken on the best in the UK, and some from further afield, but now it comes down to two young Ulster drivers to fight out the finale of the British Junior Rally Championship and the £30,000 prize fund that goes with it.

William Creighton and Callum Devine have been the cream of the Prestone BRC Junior series this season and sit top of the table with just this week's Rally Isle of Man remaining.

It was Creighton who had the upper hand in the early stages before Devine bounced back with two wins in a row only for his banker round, the Ulster Rally in his home north west territory, to go wrong when the alternator of his R2 Opel Adam failed.

Creighton took full advantage to score his second win of the season in his R2 Peugeot 208 and now has, on paper, a 13-point advantage as they prepare to start from Douglas tomorrow evening.

But, with the Manx event split into two parts, there are potentially 50 points at stake - 55 in Creighton's case as he has still to play his bonus points joker.

Further complicating the situation is the Championship scoring system, which allows each driver to count only their six best results from the eight rounds. Creighton has scored on all six rounds so far, with 12 points on the Pirelli International his lowest, whereas Devine can discard his zero for a non-finish on the Ulster Rally. In effect, it leaves them just a point apart.

Mathematically, Oscar Solberg, son of World Championship driver Henning, can still steal the title but he would need to win both Manx legs with Creighton and Devine not finishing either. Realistically then, it is a straight fight between two of Ulster's rising stars.

The 19-year-old Creighton, from Moira, said: "We did Rally Isle of Man for the first time last year so I know it is a great event to end the season and the Championship fight.

"We really didn't expect to be in this position at the start, but after the Pirelli Rally we realised we could actually go for it. Callum will be tough competition on the roads, but I will give it my best shot and to win the title would be amazing.

"I am going to treat it like any other event, enjoy the week, give it my all and let the Championship sort itself out."

Devine, from Claudy, is three years older. He said: "We came to the BRC this year to try and win it.

"We have had a mixed season; two wins have put us in the title fight, and while a few retirements have taken things out of our hands, it's all to play for this weekend.

"It all comes down to the Isle of Man, there are no more rounds after this. Everything matters now and I can't wait to get into battle once again."

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