Callum Devine banished the memories of a tough start to his 2020 FIA European Rally Championship campaign by finishing ninth overall and fifth in ERC1 Junior on Rally Fafe Montelongo earlier this month.
With James Fulton standing in to co-drive his Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy Hyundai i20 R5, Devine brushed off the challenging conditions – and a fuel pressure issue on the final morning – to record his first finish of the current campaign.
“It was a good rally for us,” said Devine. “The event test allowed us to adjust settings on the car and also allowed myself and James to get used to each other as it was our first rally together.
“The event itself was exceptionally tricky. From rallying in Ireland, you get used to changing weather conditions, but I’ve never seen weather as unpredictable as I saw in Portugal. Through no fault of our own, we ended up on the wrong [compound of] tyres for 80 per cent of the rally.
“On almost every loop, the weather changed. It could be raining in service, dry in the stage, and when you reached the stop car it could be raining again. It was potluck if you got your tyres correct but that was the same for everyone. When we found ourselves on the correct rubber, we were setting top five times which was very encouraging. It’s the first time I’ve had full back to back competitive days in the car since Hungary last year and the finish and points were exactly what myself and the team needed.”
Devine’s fuel pressure issue was traced to a broken fuel pump wire, which was quickly replaced at service in Fafe by his PCRS team.