17 May 2022

It's time to get back on the horse for Callum Devine after his recent disappointment

Devine was forced out of last weekend's Rally di Roma Capitale

County Derry rally driver Callum Devine ready for the Italian Job

It's time to get back on the horse for Callum Devine after his recent disappointment

The phrase getting back on the horse is a fitting one for Park's Callum Devine, who take part in this weekend's Rally di Alba.

Last weekend, Devine's 2020 European Rally Championship campaign got off to a frustrating start with an early retirement from Rally di Roma Capitale.

Devine and co-driver Brian Hoy had shown promise early on with eighth fastest time in Friday qualifying as well as being the quickest Hyundai i20 R5, outpacing works Hyundai driver Craig Breen and fellow Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver Grégoire Munster.

On Saturday morning, Devine was running on the fringes of the top 10 and despite not being fully committed to his pacenotes, was outpacing Hyundai Rally Team Italia driver, and former Italian Champion, Umberto Scandola.

“We were slightly disappointed with our start and knew we had much more in us”, said Callum after the event.

“We were just starting to get into a flow on stage three and building up speed. To try and be on the pace on these events you have to cut where you can and carry as much speed as possible.

"There was a fast corner through a dip which we cut and there was a bang as we went over some stones. We didn’t think much of it as it’s not unusual to hear noises like that while cutting a corner. But slowly the engine began to lose oil and then the oil pressure  light came on 200 metres from the finish of the stage," he added.

"We stopped the engine and coasted over the finish but that was game over. It turned out that in the compression a stone punched through the sumpguard and holed the sump, causing the engine to lose all its oil.

"I could probably take that corner 100 times and it would never happen again, it was just a freak thing but when you’re trying that card is always in the deck I suppose. I’m really disappointed for the whole team after all the effort that went into the weekend, I know we would have been in contention for a decent result.”

His next European Rally Championship event in Latvia in mid-August and Devine has another chance to show his speed on Italian tarmac this weekend at Rally di Alba, where he joins Kilrea's Josh McErlean, the current Young Irish Driver of the Year.

Rally di Alba will take place on Sunday, August 2 with the crews taking on three stages repeated three times with the total competitive mileage of the event coming in at just over 100km. Following the event Callum and Brian will return home to prepare for Rally Liepāja, the second round of the ERC.

“Latvia is a loose surface event and if the year had gone to plan, I would have liked a little more loose surface experience in the Hyundai before this stage of the year but it is what it is”, added Devine. “After a non-score in Rome and the championship having less rounds this year, we’ll need to take points away from Latvia.”

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