Co-driven by regular navigator Chris Purvis, Monaghan will contest the championship in his iconic Escort F2 Maxi. The car replaces the Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car previously used by the pair on national events, and has undergone three test events over the winter in preparation for their title challenge this season. “The Escort is just awesome and hopefully it will go well down at Epynt for the first round. I did three events in the car to get as much seat time as possible, and to iron out any teething issues. It’s had a significant refresh since I got it.” said Monaghan.
“We’ve made improvements every time we’ve got in the car at the test events. We haven’t been looking at the results, but just comparing ourselves to our competitors in class. We were 20 or so seconds away from Barry Renwick in his VW Polo Super2000 at the first event at Crail, and about one second off him on Otterburn, even though we only managed three stages. The other event we did was the Christmas Stages at Croft, which was a good learning experience too. The car definitely has plenty of potential, getting the suspension set up right for Epynt will be key with being comfortable in the car. I’m confident that we can get quicker as each stage of each event this year goes by.”
Prior to acquiring the Escort, Monaghan and Purvis competed in a Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car that had been campaigned in a number of guises for five seasons. The highlight coming on the Jim Clark National Rally in 2011, where the pair won their highly competitive class. “The Corsa started life as a £900 GSI and ended up as a £45,000 Kit Car, but it was just getting unreliable. When I got the opportunity to buy the Escort it was a no brainer, it’s the perfect car to move up a class and bring an iconic car to the stages that rally enthusiasts love to see. The interest in the car from not only Ford fans, but general motorsport enthusiasts has been really something else, which is great because we are not only giving them a car they want to see on the stages but it also gives great exposure for our dedicated sponsors.”
The Tour of Epynt, the first round of the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship takes place on the Epynt military ranges in Mid Wales, where over 100 competitors will begin their 2015 season.
Monaghan’s Escort has drawn plenty of interest in the motorsport and automotive community, and has already featured in a six-page spread in Fast Ford magazine.
The Pirtek Maxi Rally Team are proudly sponsored by Pirtek, Millennium Coupling Company, GB Lubricants and F&R Belbin Engineering.
MSA Asphalt Rally Championship calendar:
Tour of Epynt – 8th March
Manx National Rally – 8th/9th May
ALMC Stages – 5th July
Tyneside Stages – 2nd August
Mewla Rally – 30th August
Cheviot Keith Knox Stages – 4th October
Photo by kind permission of James Ward / ChicaneMedia.co.uk