Robert Barrable has made a late entry and will contest the opening round of the 2014 World Rally Championship, Rallye Monte Carlo, in his Tunnock's World Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5.
The car will be prepared and run by Carlisle-based rally experts CA1 Sport, with Barrable challenging for WRC 2 honours. It will be the first time the 26-year-old Dubliner has contested one of rallying's oldest and most prestigious events – although he did make ice notes on last year's Rallye Monte Carlo for his co-driver Stuart Loudon.
Barrable's main rivals in the WRC 2 category are likely to be Yurii Protasov, Armin Kremer, Julien Maurin and Lorenzo Bertelli – all driving similar Ford Fiestas. Whilst all have vastly more Rallye Monte Carlo experience, Barrable is aiming to challenge for a podium and start the 2014 season off with a strong points-scoring finish.
“When an opportunity came up to contest the Monte Carlo Rally, I wasn't going to turn it down!” said Barrable. “It's an exciting event and my main aim is to go and enjoy the experience of contesting one of the sport's most historic rallies. Without doubt, it's going to be the biggest challenge of my career.
“The shear size of the rally makes me a little nervous, but I drove the stages last year, I've got a feel for the terrain and I know what Stuart and I will need to do to make good pace notes. We've got high-hopes of scoring a good WRC 2 result, but most of all we hope the New Year brings us a little more luck and we'll start 2014 with a good trouble-free run.”
“I've been to Rallye Monte Carlo twice as a spectator and I did the event last year, so I'm really looking to returning in the Tunnock's Fiesta,” Loudon added.
“It's good that Robert did my ice notes last year, because there was a lot of snow and ice about and he got to see how difficult the conditions can be – so between us we know what to expect, even if we won't be the most experienced crew out there.
“Our strategy will be to see how things go on the first day and take it from there. If it goes well, we're quietly optimistic of scoring a WRC-2 podium and bagging some early championship points. I think we have the pace of most of the opposition, but Monte Carlo is a very long rally and if the conditions are anything like they were last year, it will be extremely difficult.”