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A Mini Adventure for Raftery in Galway World Car Outing 

Billy Coleman Young Driver of the Year Dean Raftery will take on the biggest challenge of his career as he steps up from his usual Ford Fiesta R2, to a BMW MINI World Rally Car on the Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally. Receiving the support of rally sponsor Colm Quinn BMW, Raftery will compete in one of two MINI WRCs on the event, the sister car piloted by five times Irish Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly.

At the age of just 23, the Craughwell based rally star will aim to capitalise on his sensational performances in the MSA British Rally Championship and World Rally Championship finale Wales Rally GB. He has been offered this opportunity thanks to his victory in the Young Driver of the Year competition hosted by Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Sport Council which took place back in Decemeber. Keen to develop his skills across a wide variety of competitive cars, Raftery feels that the experience in a world car is ‘key’ to his progression in the sport and will help to boost his profile as he continues his career.

“This is such a fantastic opportunity on my home event in front of my home crowd, it truly is a dream come true” explains Raftery. “It really is an honour to drive for event sponsor Colm Quinn BMW on and event that my local motor club organises and what an incredible car to compete in. Of course it will be a totally unique driving experience compared to the Fiesta but hopefully I can adapt to the power and grip levels quite quickly. McGeehan Motorsport is running the car and we should be able to fit a test in before the event so I can get a feel for the car”.

Having a five time Irish Champion as a team mate will undoubtedly help the Galway Motor Club member too. “Of course Eugene is a legend on the Irish roads and I’m sure I can learn a lot from him both before and during the event” he says. “It will provide a great benchmark to judge my stage times by too but I will certainly be driving my own event, at least for the first few stages”.

Raftery will once again be supported by his regular backers including Bluebird Care, Modern Tyre Service, EARS Motorsport, Kumho, King Car Parts, Quinns Hardware Labane, Mike Kelly Commercials and Raftery’s Bar. He will start the event as number 6 seed and will be co-driven by Mark Kane.

The three day event provides over 200km of competitive stages in the Galway region and takes place on 6th, 7th and 8th February. After the ceremonial start on Friday 6th, two full days of action lie ahead for the crews before returning to the finish ramp at the Clayton Hotel late on Sunday afternoon.

For more information on Dean, updates from the event and his rallying career, visit www.deanraftery.com

Raftery Reins in Scotland with Support from Bluebird Care

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

Screenshot 2014-07-06 11.30.05

 

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.