We asked Tuthill Porsche 997 R-GT driver, John Coyne, for his thoughts ahead of the 2017 Ulster Rally. Here’s what he had to say:
Hi John and welcome back to Ireland for the 2017 Ulster Rally. What have you been up to since your first outing in the R-GT in Donegal?
A week with friends in London, then a family gathering in Boston at my niece’s place for my sister’s 70th birthday with folks in from New Zealand, Thailand, Luxembourg and Ireland for a long 4th of July weekend. Then back home here to Laguna Beach in California entertaining some visitors from Ireland for a fortnight, then some rest and relaxation for the last few weeks. Have managed to drop 10lbs since Donegal – my contribution to increased competitiveness next time out!!!!!
This year’s Ulster Rally will be run around Derry/Londonderry over two days: August 18 & 19. You have been a regular competitor on the Ulster Rally in both contemporary and historic cars. What are your best memories of the event?
Highlight for me was 1982 in the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, which was the first time pace notes were allowed in the Irish internationals. We came out of the traps strong, holding 2nd overall to Bertie Fisher after the first day and overnight, which rather showed up some of the folks who had previously been using practice / pace notes illegally, as they were well off the pace. Unfortunately a big roll middle of the day on Sunday ended our run.
How are you feeling ahead of this year’s rally? Any sections that you are particularly looking forward to?
The stages being used this year are similar to last year but are all new to me, as I didn’t compete last year due to a date clash with a California championship event.
In 2017, the Donegal and Ulster rally headquarters in Letterkenny and Derry/Londonderry are barely twenty miles apart, but how do the characters of these events differ? Considering how the car went in Donegal, how do you think it might go next weekend?
Very different from Donegal. Forecast is for rain throughout the event, which also includes some night stages on Friday night. From what I’ve heard, the stages are narrow, bumpy and muddy; perhaps not the best environment for the Porsche, but I’ve got to learn it in all conditions, so we’ll give it our best shot!