Morrow enjoys high life
Life could not be much better right now for Phillip Morrow. The 24-year-old Lisburn driver made his debut with the works Mitsubishi team in the Pirelli International, opening round of the British championship last weekend, and despite a first stage fright he came back to finish a strong fourth.
From the north of England he moves to the north of Scotland this weekend to realise another of his ambitions - the chance to drive a WRC Mitsubishi Lancer that not so long ago was competing in the World championship.
Morrow has spent the week with the former World championship MMSP team at their Rugby headquarters before travelling up to Aberdeen where he was scheduled to test the ex-Gigi Galli Step 2 Lancer today ahead of tomorrow's start.
"It is all a bit of a dream at the moment," he said. "Last weekend I achieved my ambition of becoming a works driver and this weekend I get to drive a WRC Lancer. April has become my Christmas!"
He had a brief run in the car earlier in the week to familiarise himself with the cockpit and the controls and was thoroughly impressed.
"It is an awesome piece of machinery. It is so powerful and just bursting with technology. It takes a bit of getting used after the production Mitsubishis I have been driving.
"And I have four top engineers working with me and I'm saying to myself: 'These guys have won World championships and now they are running this car for me'. Amazing. I just hope I don't do anything stupid!"
How Morrow came to be preparing for his first drive in a WRC car is an amazing little story in itself and one which reflects his ability and popularity.
He earned his place in the British championship Mitsubishi team by winning last season's Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, a campaign funded by loyal sponsors like Dermot Hanafin of Motorsport Insurance Services, Gary Lyons of Lyons Transport and Alan Graham of Lagan Motor Factors.
They joined Morrow to celebrate at the end of season awards ceremony and during the evening came up with the idea to reward him with a special present.
"I didn't know anything about it until sometime afterwards," explains Morrow. "But my sponsors got together with John Easton, who owns the MMSP cars, and Bob Shepherd, the Scottish Mitsubishi dealer who sponsors the Granite City Rally.
"They came up with the idea of running one of the WRC Lancers for me on the rally. It's unbelievable € like winning the lottery."
The rally itself, a round of the Scottish championship, is of no great significance in Morrow's career path but the chance to drive a WRC Lancer is.
"Everything I have done in the past has been in production cars," he said. "Now I have the chance to prove I can handle one of these big beasts. Fingers crossed!"