Pirelli Star Driver Daniel McKenna says he won’t be holding back on this week’s Ulster Rally, despite his British championship lead standing at 20 points heading to the Enniskillen-based event on August 15-16.
However, when dropped scores are taken into account, McKenna’s lead over Osian Pryce is just two points with two rounds remaining, meaning the Irishman still has to discount one result from his end-of-season total.
“I’m not really thinking about the championship too much at the moment,” said the 27-year-old Pirelli-supported driver. “With dropped scores it’s all still to play for so I’m going to the rally with the aim of trying to win and trying to stay ahead of Osian above all.”
McKenna prepared for the all-asphalt event, which is based 45 minutes from his home, with a test last Friday in his DGM-run Citroen DS3 R3T.
“It was quite wet and damp, which was good because I hadn’t driven the car on wet Tarmac before,” said McKenna. “We were trying out Pirelli’s intermediate RE7 tyre and used the test to work on a good set-up. And when the road started to dry out we carried on with the same tyres just to see what level of performance they could provide in dry conditions and for how long.”
Daniel McKenna actionPirelli Star Driver McKenna is aiming to build his BRC lead on the Ulster Rally
Q&A Daniel McKenna The Pirelli Star Driver looks ahead to his ‘local’ round of the British championship, the Ulster Rally.
How much knowledge do you have of the event? “I did it last year in the Fiesta. It’s based in Enniskillen and I only live 45 minutes from there across the border in the Republic of Ireland. It’s not too often you can do a round of the British championship and go to sleep in your bed at home.”
Will you have a home advantage? “I wouldn’t say it’s a local event for me but it’s pretty close and the nature of the roads are similar to what I am used to on the roads here in Ireland. The event is similar to last year with two or three of the stages exactly the same and another two reversed. There are one or two new stages but it’s all in the same area as last year so we’ll be able to use 50 per cent of our existing pace notes.”
Who will your biggest rival be? “Osian Pryce is my big rival in the championship. He’s done the rally before but in the same car so he should be able to pick up where he left off, whereas I’m going to be driving the stages for the first time in this car, which I’m going to be driving on Tarmac for the third time, whereas he’s been driving the same car for three years.”