Dean Raftery is returning to Ireland this week with success in the prestigious Billy Coleman Award in his sights after an impressive first WRC outing on Wales Rally GB.
Raftery, the 2014 MSA British Rally Championship RallyTwo class champion, received entry onto the WRC season finale as part of the championship’s ‘Road to Wales’ campaign.
A sensible approach to the three-day event saw the Ford Fiesta R2 pilot produce a faultless drive in tricky wet conditions in Wales to secure second in class RC4 with co-driver Karl Atkinson.
“We had a clear goal at the beginning of the event which was to get to the end,” said Raftery. “Ultimately we have achieved that but I am really pleased with my performance throughout the whole event.
“We had really consistent stage times and aside from a few battle scars, the car emerged unscathed. It’s been an extremely tough event and to come away with a second in class is a dream end to a dream year.”
With that result under his belt, Raftery is now preparing to face the Motorsport Ireland and Billy Coleman Award panel judges in a bid to secure the biggest prize in Irish rallying.
The award winner receives €50,000 backing towards their next season of national and international rallying, with former winners including current BRC champion Daniel McKenna (2013) and three-time BRC victor Keith Cronin (2007).
“This is the most important time in my career and ever since my first event back in 2011, I’ve always has aspirations to compete at the very pinnacle of rallying,” added Raftery.
“Hopefully I can show the panel of judges just how passionate and dedicated I am to achieve my ultimate goal of competing at World Rally Championship level.”