4 September 2023
~2 minutes read
Third-place finish in British Rally Championship event for Galway’s Aoife Raftery
Galway’s Aoife Raftery recorded her first Junior British Rally Championship podium finish on Rali Bae Ceredigion in Wales over the weekend.
Although not registered for the Junor British Rally Championship the Craughwell woman finished third in the category while up against some of the championship’s most experienced Junior drivers.
Her rivals included Welsh driver Ioan Lloyd who won the corresponding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship title this year and British Junior Rally Championship leader, County Down’s Kyle White.
Raftery is contesting this year’s FIA Junior European Rally Championship in a PCRS Rallysport run Peugeot 208 Rally 4 but used an older and less powerful Ford Fiesta Rally 2 1600 for this rally.
Her prime reason for entering the Aberystwyth-based rally was to learn the stages ahead of the event’s possible inclusion in the European Rally Championship and her potential return to the series next season.
She and co-driver Geraldine McBride held fourth in class overnight but a solid run through Sunday’s loop of six stages had the rally’s only all-female crew on the podium by the end.
“It was great to build our knowledge on these kinds of roads,” she said. “The roads are really committed and fast, we really enjoyed being here learning the stages.”
A spin on stage two on Saturday cost valuable time but a very committed run over the daunting 17-mile Cwm Ystwyth stage got her back on track.
“Stage three was crazy, I have no problems with the distance, I have that experience from previous [European] events, but we are going from corner to corner flat out, it is all going well.”
She continued her strong push over the Saturday afternoon stages, clearly missing the additional power of her usual Peugeot, and with her Fiesta showing battle scars – a testament to just how hard she was trying.
“We are happy with our pace, we are here to learn the roads and the technical stages,” she added after six of the day’s eight stages.
“The lack of power means we cannot keep up with the Rally4 boys.”
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.