Galway man Dean Raftery has claimed a dramatic victory at Round 3 of the MSA British Rally Championship. The two day RSAC Scottish Rally gravel event, based in the town of Dumfries provided 130 KM of the most challenging stages in the UK. The event got underway on Friday evening with a ceremonial start in the town centre before the crews made their way to Heathall for the opening stage of the rally. Dean and co-driver Aileen Kelly set the fastest R2 time in their Ford Fiesta and slotted into 3rd overall before heading to overnight Parc Ferme.
Photo by: Jacob Ebrey Photography
Saturday morning the rally resumed and due to the dry weather over the previous number of weeks Dean was slowed by dust issues on the stages, dropping to second in the RallyTwo category. Trading times at the front all day, Dean entered the final 22 kilometre stage, ten seconds in arrears on the class lead. With everything to play for and vital Championship points on offer, Dean and Aileen went for a push on the stage and took twelve seconds off their rivals to secure victory by the narrowest of margins – 1.7 seconds from Garry Pearson.
Dean, delighted at the finish had the following to say: “Today has been a great day for us, the pace has been frantic all day and to snatch victory on the final stage just topped off the weekend. I wasn’t sure if we would do it as I was on worn tyres for the final stage and Garry had new tyres on, but Aileen and I decided to go for the win, and thankfully everything worked out!”
Raftery is due to compete on this weekend’s ALMC stages rally, his first outing in the Fiesta on asphalt. This is all in preparation for the next round of the British Rally Championship, the Ulster Rally which takes place around the narrow and bumpy roads around Enniskillen in August. It will be a quick turn-around for Broderick Motorsport to convert the car from gravel spec. into asphalt spec.
“Looking forward to getting back onto tarmac this week, it’s been eleven months since I’ve driven a rally car on tarmac and it will be my first time in the Fiesta. We will be using the event as a test for the Ulster Rally and will be tweaking the car setup during the day to find a setup I am most happy with!”
Dean and Aileen would like a special mention to their sponsors for their continued support – Craughwell Tyre Centre, Blackhawk Fuels, King Car Parts. Also a big thank you must go to latest sponsors Bluebird Care who has come on board to support Dean on his rallying exploits. Bluebird Care provides the Irish community with the very best professional care service both at home and in the community.