Meirion Evans has swapped his Hyundai for a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for tomorrow’s Carryduff Forklift Down Rally, after the i20 R5 he was initially planning to drive was damaged in a fire on the Ypres Rally.
After a short test in the car earlier this week, Round 5 of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship will be the young Welshman’s first rally in a Fabia R5. Jonathan Jackson will co-drive in the ex-Jan Kopecky machine.
Meirion’s father Melvyn Evans will also drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5, both run by the family’s Llanwrda-based Melvyn Evans Motorsport stable. He contested the Circuit of Munster last month in the car, so already has a good feel for how it performs on closed Irish lanes. That said, performing well in a brand new car is never a problem for Melvyn, as he picked up second place Asphalt Rally Championship points on the Down Rally last year in his first event in a Fiesta WRC. He’ll be co-driven tomorrow by Aled Davies.
“We just did a small run in the ŠKODA at an airfield to tune myself in, so it will take a bit of adapting to down a country lane,” said Meirion. “It’s a good chance for me to compare the Fabia R5 to the Hyundai i20 R5, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Recce and scrutineering takes place today, while the Down Rally starts from the EIKON Centre in Lisburn at 08.15 tomorrow. The event contains 11 stages, all situated to the south of Lisburn, with two runs over Lough Erne, Hamilton’s Folly North, Hamilton’s Folly South and the EIKON spectator stage, and three runs over the Drumaknocken test. The middle 23.2 mile loop of the event contains five stages between service, while the final 16.85 mile loop contains a re-run of the three longest stages. The event finishes back at the EIKON Centre at 17.01.