John Coyne and co-driver Stephen Joyce had an eventful weekend in the Porsche 997 R-GT on the recent West Cork Rally. Running in a freshly-built Tuthill 997 GT3 Cup engine in brand new crankcases, the duo finished in the top twenty and now head for Corsica to do the Tour de Corse: John’s first WRC event in almost fifty years of rallying.
We spoke to John after the Cork event for his impressions of the new engine and a look forward to Corsica in early April:
A sticking throttle lead to some wild moments and a rather fraught start to West Cork, including a high-speed excursion up a ditch in SS1, before I decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed to service to attend to the issue, caused by a throttle cable coming off the guides for the downshift ‘blipper’ mechanism. We also reverted to Cork20 rear spring specification, as the new ones we were trying out were too soft for my liking. With everything looking good, we rejoined under Rally 2 from SS5 onwards.
We enjoyed a reasonable run from then on, though we were stopped by stage blockages towards the end of SS9 and 14 and given notional times for these stages. West Cork has a lot of the narrow, gravelly stage elements commonly found in Ireland, which present quite a challenge since the rear of our car is wider than the typical rally car and tends to find all the gravel rather than the swept line – can be exciting!
The falling snow added an interesting psychological challenge on SS12. The road was actually fine with plenty of grip, but visibility was challenged in spots with heavy snow swirl. It made for some good photos, though! The engine performance felt fine, no noticeable difference from previous engine. We finished 20th overall and 1st in class.
It was good to be back out in the car and get some practice in for note making and driving before our planned outing on Tour De Corse. This will be my first WRC event in a 50 year rallying career; real bucket list stuff! Hopefully we’ll be free of niggling issues in Corsica and get a full clean run at it. I’m really looking forward to the new experience.