Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member Aoife Raftery impressed on her Spanish rally debut by taking second in the highly competitive Rally4 class.
The Craughwell-based driver entered Saturday’s Rally Ciudad de Pozoblanco, the penultimate round of the Spanish Super Championship.
With the Irish rally season all but over the Craughwell-based driver was keen to expand her international experience. This was her first Spanish event.
The first and so far, only female driver to be selected for the Rally Academy drove the same Peugeot 208 Rally 4 that she used on five rounds of the FIA Junior European Rally Championship this year.
The car is prepared by Irish rally team PCRS Rallysport which is headquartered at Aragón racing circuit near Alcañiz in Spain and an opportunity arose to enter Raftery in the 93-kilometre gravel rally.
Raftery and co-driver Hanna McKillop started well by posting fourth-fastest time on the event’s opening stage.
By the day’s second service halt, the Irish crew were up to third place and a solid performance over the closing stages resulted in a second-place finish behind Spanish Junior championship frontrunner Santiago García Paz.
“It was great to get the opportunity to drive on classic Spanish gravel roads,” he said.
“The rally was very well run; we had a problem with dust early in the day but the organisers increased our gap to two minutes. The roads were really fast, but we enjoyed them and it was great to see so many spectators out there.”
Rally Ciudad de Pozoblanco was based in the town of Pozoblanco, in the Andalusian region of southern Spain. The eight-stage rally was the penultimate round of the Spanish Super Rally Championship,
Raftery and McKillop were the only Irish competitors on the entry list that included drivers from Andora, Finland, and a host of locals.
Aoife Raftery Rallying is supported by O’Neill O’Malley Architects and Project Managers / Loughrea Auto Parts Ltd / Craughwell Tyre Centre / Sean Fleming Motors / Aertec Vacuum and Ventilation / Des Lyons Plant / Quinn’s Hardware