One of ireland’s top young rally drivers is hoping to make his mark in Belgium this season — and his big sister will be with him every step of the way.
Monaghan’s Stephen Wright begins his European adventure this weekend at the Haspengouw Rally, the opening round of the BFO Belgian Championship.
The continental roads will be a new challenge for the 24-year-old, who is the reigning Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year.
It will be a challenge too for his co-driver, his sister Suzanne (29), who will call the pacenotes in the Peugeot 208 R2.
The eight-round championship begins on Saturday and the Wrights know that they need to hit the ground running after a mixed start to their season at the Galway International Rally earlier this month.
A crash on the opening day put paid to any chance of a podium finish but they were able to continue racing following overnight repairs, and clocked some encouraging times on the final day.
Stephen, who has risen through the ranks since he started racing competitively seven years ago, knows that Belgium will be testing.
“European tarmac is extremely specialised and the roads in Belgium even more so, not to mention the high standard of competition out there,” he said this week.
“We are venturing outside our comfort zone but looking forward to a new challenge and developing our skills as the year progresses.”
Suzanne, who is a finance manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been co-driving since 2007.
“Although most of my job will be largely the same as at home there will be a bit of a language barrier to deal with and some differences in the operations of time controls,” she said.
“A lot of people have helped and offered advice in the run up to the event so hopefully all the planning will pay off.”
The pair are due to land in Belgium this evening ahead of racing on Saturday.