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Cathcart stuns on debut to take overall victory

Matthew Cathcart is an 18-year-old from Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh, and this weekend he made his stage rally debut on the Sunset Rally in Northern Ireland in a Prodrive Impreza N12b. He is the brother of the highly-talented Richard Cathcart, and it was his brother’s car that he took charge of for the event partnered by co-driver Martin Brady from Co Meath, who has guided Richard to much success in recent years. Little was reasonably expected of Matthew given it was his first event on pacenotes, first on gravel, first in a 4wd car. His only other competitive outing was in a small airfield event in a Ford Fiesta ST.

However Matthew took it all in his stride over the four demanding gravel stages, two of which were run in darkness. Not even an intercom failure on Stage One could dent his natural composure and car control and he stormed the field to complete the four forest stages and take a 3 second win over local drivers Johnny McKenna in a Mitsubishi Evo, who in turn was just ahead on the podium of car preparation supremo Derek McGeehan in his Corolla WRC.

A fairy tale debut in anyone’s reckoning, Matthew was surprised and satisfied with his debut pace against the experienced field, a first win is always the most special for a driver but a win on a debut is even more remarkable and memorable . Co-driver Martin Brady commented, “Matt drove brilliantly tonight, a real natural and I know with mileage and experience we can get even faster.”

Cathcart and Brady now hope to tackle some more rallies this season in the Impreza prepared by DGM of Carryduff, and perhaps continue this impressive form.

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