North Wales nightmare for Raftery
Galway man Dean Raftery retires from Cambrian Rally as he endures a tough pre-Wales Rally GB test
Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) star Dean Raftery endured a tough return to competitive action last weekend as he retired from the Cambrian Rally in North Wales. The Billy Coleman Award winner returned to the wheel of his Citroen DS3R3 MAX in a bid to gain some valuable seat time ahead of the final round of the World Rally Championship in November, Wales Rally GB. But the 23 year old Galway man misheard a pace note on the third stage of the event forcing him into retirement after getting stuck for over 7 minutes in a ditch.
With limited outings in the JWRC this year Raftery has recently announced his intentions to return to the series and looked to the Cambrian Rally for experience of the tough North Wales stages. Raftery would be pitched against some similar machinery in the B11 class of the event and headed across the Irish Sea in a bid to obtain valuable set up data for November’s showdown.
Enlisting the help of Newcastle co-driver Jack Morton, Raftery’s frustrations began from the very first stage, stalling the Citroen DS3R3 on the opening test leaving the Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Sport Council backed pilot down in fourth. His bad luck continued in SS2 when a spin on the slippery Elsi stage lost the duo several seconds, although the time was still good enough to place them second in class.
But on the third stage Raftery misheard a pace note causing a rear impact with a bale and forcing the Citroen into a ditch where it became stuck fast. Loosing over seven minutes in the soft mud meant retirement loomed and Raftery withdrew the Citroen at the end of the test.
“It’s been a frustrating day and I’m really disappointed with myself for the error which put us off” said Raftery. “It took a while to get into a comfortable rhythm and I do have to remember I’ve only driven the car for a few km’s on gravel in Portugal which is widely different to North Wales, but nevertheless they were silly mistakes today that I need to iron out for Wales Rally GB.”
Raftery was quick to praise co-driver Morton too. “Jack was great today and it was certainly my fault we went off. Despite the spin on SS2 we set a good time so the potential is there, I just need to bring it all together next month. I think we managed to collect enough data for a base set up for Wales and that was the idea after all. It’s going to be a tough event but it’s a chance to really show what I can do in R3.”