Irish brothers Ross and Arron Forde are aiming for victory in round four of the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup on next weekend's Ulster International Rally.
The Galway crew will be back in action in their Global Group Ireland and BCC Group-backed Suzuki Swift on the Armagh-based tarmac event looking to make amends for the misfortune that has struck them on the previous three rounds of the championship.
They have been leading the Swift field on all three occasions before missing out. In round one, the Pirelli International Rally, the car broke down and they failed to finish and then in the second round, the Jim Clark International Rally, after taking the lead by a second on the penultimate stage, they were pipped to victory across the final test by Mark Gamble and Steve Link.
Last time out on the Rally Isle of Man the pair finished under superally rules after rolling the car on stage 21 so next weekend they hope to finally have some luck on their side to claim that elusive win.
Driver Ross has some experience across the Ulster asphalt, which should boost their confidence. Whilst he has never driven on the event, he has co-driven several times for his uncle Frank Cunningham in the Irish Historic Championship and although he was the youngest navigator to ever win the Historic series, it was the only rally they never won.
“I'm familiar enough with the stages having co-driven on the rally a few times,” the 24-year-old said. “Hopefully we'll have some better luck this time out and we can win this one, that's our aim, to get maximum points, the titles not out of reach yet.
“There's going to be some tough competition for the top spot as always, it's never easy. We always have a good battle with Mark Gamble and Niki Bjerg and I'm sure it'll be the same this time out. If it's wet we should be okay but Ulster can be mucky and slippery so it's always tricky.”
Ross heads into the event in sixth spot in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup drivers' standings whilst Arron is seventh in the co-drivers' table. They start the Ulster International Rally in their Galway Mini Centre-prepared Swift as the top Suzuki seed and at number 74.
Meanwhile, the crew have pulled out of this weekend's Cork Forestry Rally . They were due to compete in the event as it is the sixth round of the National Junior Rally Championship and the Billy Coleman Award for Ross.
He is third in the series standings at the moment and is leading class B, which puts him in line to qualify for the interview stage of the award.
“We wanted to make sure the car was all ready for Ulster after it's rebuild and didn't want to risk it this weekend,” Ross added. “I'm already in a good position in the championship and you have to drop two scores anyway.”