Irishman Robert Barrable scored a podium finish on his Rallye Monte Carlo debut last weekend, finishing third in WRC2 and 13th overall in his Tunnock's World Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5.

Determined to reach the finish and gain the maximum amount of experience on his first Monte, the 26-year-old started well, with the second fastest time in WRC2 in SS1. Unfortunately, a repeat run through the loop of three day one stages had to be done in engine 'road mode' though, when a turbo return pipe began to leak, forcing him to nurse the car back to service.

The weather conditions made tyre choice especially tricky on day two, yet he continued to make great progress and upon arrival in Monaco at the end of the event's longest day, he had moved up from fourth in WRC2 (and 30th overall) to second in class (and 13th overall).

Barrable was then looking forward to driving the Col de Turini for the first time on day three, but unfortunately he couldn't see it - as the windscreen had completed misted up. Unable to reach the windscreen to wipe it, he had to do all-but four miles of the 25 mile loop of two stages completely blind, losing two and a half minutes and dropping to third in class.

The CA1 Sport team also had to replace a broken clutch in service, although the second run over the Col de Turini was cancelled as heavy snowfall had made the climb to the summit impassable.

A dark and wet final stage was then completed without drama, allowing him to celebrate a well-judged and experience-gaining Monte - coming home behind WRC2 winner Yurii Protasov and Lorenzo Bertelli, who were also both in Fords.

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"The Monte Carlo Rally definitely lived up to my expectations of being one of the toughest rounds of the World Rally Championship, and I can see why it's regarded as a real classic. It's been quite an endurance, with a hard recce, a lot of road mileage, the technicality of the stages, the weather conditions and tyre choices," Barrable said.

"The Col de Turini is an amazing stage. Three kilometres before the top it's all snow, coming down the other side is just like glass, and it's all so narrow. You can see why you don't get anything like that anywhere else in the world and I really enjoyed it."

"The lads at CA1 Sport have been great again. To change a clutch in under thirty minutes was magnificent, and that allowed us to carry on and score a podium finish. I didn't come here thinking of a result, I just wanted to get a finish and enjoy it. So first time at the Monte, I wasn't really expecting a podium, so I'm really very happy," he concluded.