Vincent McAree has won the use of a Group N Subaru Impreza on the first two rounds of the 2010 Irish Forestry Championship following his victory this year in the Junior section of the series.
The prize drive is thanks to the hard work of the organisers of the Petro Systems Irish Forestry Championship and the generosity of Galway rally driver Daragh Raftery, who will loan McAree the Subaru in 2010.
"I can't wait to try the four wheel drive Group N car in the forests," said 23-year-old McAree, who used a 1600 Peugeot 206 and C2R2 this year. "We will have a lot to learn, but if things do go well on the first two rounds, maybe it would be worthwhile to continue in Group N.
"There's a big thank you to John Quill who has worked so hard to promote the championship and to Daragh for the use of the car. Also to Motorsport Ireland who are funding the insurance for the car, as well as Sunoco Fuels for providing the racing fuel and Silverstone Tyres for the rally tyres, which all help make it such a great prize.
"In addition to this British Rally Champion Keith Cronin has offered his services to help advise us on set up and driving techniques, and there would be no better person to teach us a few things about Group N machines."
Asked about 2009, the young Monaghan charger conceded that it wasn't the best for McAree Engineering despite some notable successes: "On the Moonraker we had a good result, first in class and second in Mitchelstown in our old 106, but we had a series of three-non finishes with engine maladies with our 206 Peugeot," he recalled. "It wasn't a brilliant season for us, unlike 2008 when we finished second in the National Junior Championship, but we have come out with a prize at the end of it.
"There is no doubt Craig Breen was the fastest Junior, and due to his third place overall finish in the Forestry series he forfeited this prize, so we were lucky. It was great to see him receive the Billy Coleman Award this year however as he definitely deserved it.
"I'm really looking forward to 2010 now and driving the Subaru and competing in the forest championship again. I think it's a great series and to be provided with an opportunity to try something like this is really very special."