Harper impresses in opening round

Daniel Harper & Andrew Bushe.
Daniel Harper & Andrew Bushe.

The first round of the 2015 McGrady Insurance ANICC Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, took place at Kirkistown, for the 500 Motor Club’s New Year Stages event.

The championship for 14-17 year old drivers, now in its fourth season, saw eight juniors line up for the six stages.

The main focus of the day was on the battle for the lead, and there was a surprise early on when 14 year old Daniel Harper took a four second lead on the first stage.

The Anahilt teenager had driven his Peugeot 107 just a couple of days before the start, and after a brief test was leading his second Junior event.

However 15 year old Josh McErlean equalled Daniel’s time on stage two, and powered his 107 to impressive times over stages three and four to open out a six second advantage. On stage five, Daniel had a great run, equalling McErlean’s time.

Josh and Tommy McErlean had enough in hand, as they dropped just 0.8 of a second to Daniel on the final stage to seal a narrow 5.3 second victory. It was a fantastic start to the championship and it looks like the racing is going to be extremely close in 2015.