In Nick Rowland's latest exclusive column for Crash.net, the youngster looks back on the Ulster - and the Mohe International Rally in China...
Over the last month I have once again kept myself very busy, competing in both the Ulster International Rally and the Mohe International Rally in China, followed by two training days with the MSA British Rally Academy.
The Ulster was obviously the next round of the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship and I was competing within the inaugural Suzuki Swift Sport Cup.
As I have very little tarmac rallying experience the three back-to-back sealed surface events have been a big learning curve for me, but things started much better on the Ulster.
Indeed after the first loop of stages we were holding second place in the Swift Cup which was a solid start. The final loop of stages of leg one, were in the dark and I slowly began to gain some confidence driving through the night. By the end of the first day we were lying in third, which was the target I had set myself, so I was really satisfied.
Day two brought some bad weather in the afternoon but, for once I managed to get our tyre choice spot on, which was thanks to the advice I was given from both members of the FX Motor Sports squad and the guys at Suzuki MSE.
It was nice to be swapping seconds with a few guys that had previously been a bit ahead of me and I was much happier with my driving, although at times I was a bit too cautious in the wet.
Unfortunately I picked up a puncture towards the end of the day and, after driving on it for most of the stage, we were forced to then stop and change it at the roadside. We dropped to fifth which is where we finished up. It was a real shame.
However it was only a matter of days before David Higgins, Ieuan Thomas, Craig Drew and I all set off for the next round of the Chinese Rally Championship. It was my first event in the Evo 9 on gravel and my first event with Craig. We had met each other through the MSA British Rally Academy earlier in the year.