Barrable’s Cork love affair

by Gazette Reporter
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ROBERT Barrable says he “can’t wait” to give Hyundai Motorsport’s i20 R5 its Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship debut, when he makes his maiden appearance in the car at his favourite event, the Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally on March 18 and 19.
The 29-year old from Swords will test the Hyundai i20 R5 when it arrives in Ireland before making the journey south for the recce and final preparations.
The Cork Motor Club organised rally is close to Barrable’s heart, as victory in West Cork on his first attempt in 2011, in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000, equalled his father Michael’s win there in 2007 (Ford Fiesta WRC).
Michael will, as always, be by his son’s side to lead the family support this year – as will Robert’s mother Linda, wife Olivia and the newest member of the Barrable family, Robert’s son Bobby; who, despite only being a few months old, will be attending his second Irish Tarmac Championship event.
Barrable is returning after a two-year sabbatical from rally-driving, switching to racing a Ginetta G55 GT4 in the British GT Championship and a Golf GTI in the Volkswagen Racing Cup.
On his return with co-driver Damien Connolly, he recently finished fifth overall and third in the Irish Tarmac Championship standings at the recent Galway International Rally.
The Hyundai i20 R5 might be completely new to him and pre-event testing will be limited, but Robert is aiming to showcase the true potential of the new car with another solid run and a championship podium finish.
He said of the challenge: “West Cork is my all-time favourite rally. I love the stages, I love the atmosphere and the first time I did the event in 2011 I won.
“That was a great battle as we finished just 1.3 seconds ahead of Darragh O’Riordan/Tony McDaid in their Subaru Impreza WRC S12.
“That was a very special victory, especially because I was very proud to follow in my father’s footsteps and win the West Cork. There aren’t many rallies in the world where a father and son have both won, and it’s very special to have achieved that in Ireland.
“The stages suit my driving style, so I’m looking forward to going back – for me there is no better way to enjoy St Patrick’s weekend.
“I might still be a little rusty when it comes to rallying, with just one rally in two years under my belt, but I’m confident we can put on a good show for the spectators and make it a debut to remember.”
Barrable will be supported by Patch Tyre Equipment – Ireland’s leading supplier of tyre and garage equipment – Michelin tyres and Swords-based Hyundai Ireland dealer Michael Barrable.

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