Mark Kelly will start this weekend’s Dunoon presents Argyll Rally (24/25 June) for the first time with a new co-driver – hence he’s making no Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship points predictions and instead plans to drive as fast as he can and see where he ends up.
With regular co-driver Neil Colman away on holiday, Mark will be navigated in Scotland by the experienced Will Atkins.
Mark, who finished runner-up in Britain’s premier sealed-surface series last year, has made a great start to the 2022 Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship, scoring second and fourth placed points on the Tour of Epynt and Jim Clark rallies respectively in his Michelin-shod and Roccia/Tile Master-backed Ford Fiesta R5+.
“I was very pleased with our result on the opening round on Epynt,” says Mark.
“On our previous visit to Epynt I lacked commitment, but I felt we put this right on the Tour and our level of commitment was a stride forward compared to 2021.
“Obviously we hit the chicane on stage one which we were rightly penalised for. It was a mistake on my part because I completely lost my bearings on where the chicane was, and it certainly wasn’t an attempt to grab or save time. Nevertheless, I was very pleased to be close to the pace of the rising stars Ruairi [Bell] and James [Williams].
“In the end the result on the Jim Clark was positive and I was very pleased with our performance.
“I was out of sorts for some reason on the first three stages. I can’t explain it, I was just lacking that ultimate commitment and bravery that you need to go fast.
“On our final three stages the commitment was there, and I was pleased with the pace towards the end of the event. Hopefully I can take this forward on to the Argyll.
“As for Argyll, it’s my first visit and so it will be all new stages for me.
“Neil [Colman] is away on holiday and cannot make it, hence Will [Atkins] stepping in.
“I haven’t met Will properly yet, but I am aware he is well regarded by people in the rallying circles and I’m sure he’ll be ideal to take over from Neil for this round.
“Will did the rally last year with Hugh Brunton, so he has some experience of the roads.
“Our target for the event is to drive as fast as we can and let’s see where we end up.”