Hone Relishing R5 Opportunity

Jordan Hone has described the prospect of making his R5 debut as “a dream come true” as he prepares for Cork 20 this weekend.

The Junior British Championship regular gained the drive in a Ford Fiesta R5 as a result of finishing runner-up in the 2018 Billy Coleman Award.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to compete in an R5 car,” says Hone. “It’s all a bit surreal to be honest but now that I have got the chance, I hope to grab it with both hands and learn as much as I can from the experience.”

Hone R5 Test

It has been a busy year for the 23-year-old as he juggled his JBRC campaign with a successful final-year studying Mechanical Engineering. Hone has worked hard to organise the R5 drive and the timing of Cork 20 ensured it didn’t take his attention away from the JBRC. This has allowed Hone to fully focus on his R5 debut since the Galloway Hills Rally two weeks ago.

“Whenever the opportunity was first discussed, I was determined to get into the R5 for a round of the [Irish] Tarmac Championship because of the amount of competition and entries it has had this year.

“My aim is to try my best to go out and enjoy the experience. Stepping up to an R5 car is going to be difficult enough this weekend with the changeable conditions and grip, so I’m going to avoid putting any more pressure on myself.

“Ultimately I would like to be there or thereabouts – that’s why we go rallying, but achieving a result this weekend is not as important to me as experiencing every kilometre possible in the car.

“I feel all the preparation we’ve done leading up to the rally has been good and should stand us in good stead to help achieve our goals.”

It is two years since Hone has driven a four-wheel-drive car, having switched to his Opel Adam R2 in 2018 after topping the Irish Forestry Championship’s Group N category onboard a Mitsubishi Evo IV in 2017.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into a four-wheel-drive car again. I feel that stepping up from an R2 car to an R5 car is a natural progression and a positive step in my development.

“It’s very different to an R2 car with the speed being the obvious one, but everything is a step-up. In terms of handling and brakes, it’s unbelievable how well it can work.

“It’ll be a matter of adjusting myself and my approach to get the best from it all, which I feel will come over the course of the two days in the car.”

Hone will have a familiar face beside him as he tackles the Cork roads in the Fiesta R5. His father, Paul, will return to the co-driver’s seat having sat beside his son many times before.

“We had a good recce making notes for the rally, the stages go from being very technical to very fast with a lot going on in them. That will make it a lot more challenging while I’m getting to grips with the new car but it’ll be good to experience the car in all kinds of scenarios.

“Those stages will give me a better representation of the car as a whole, which should help us in the future.”

The Motorsport Ireland Rally Driver Academy has given Hone a chance to taste R5 action throughout the year. Its latest event in September coincided nicely with Hone’s Cork 20 preparation. Callum Devine, who will start first on the road in Cork, was drafted in to give the academy members some guidance and advice as they tested the PCRS Hyundai i20 R5.

“As you can imagine, having Callum in the car was great fun and we both had a good laugh in the car.

“Joking aside, he had some really good advice that has helped in preparing for the rally and I’ve no doubt it’ll help during the rally too.

“But the most important bit of advice he gave me was to go out and enjoy the experience!”

Jordan left the following message to everyone who has helped him achieve his dream drive in Cork this weekend.

“This opportunity has only been possible thanks to a lot of people pulling together to help us out. Motorsport Ireland, the Billy Coleman Award, MI Rally Academy, PCRS Rallysport, Michelin Motorsport, Sean McHugh and John Coyne have all played a part.

“I also can’t forget my own sponsors, Premier Car Parts, Rallyhire, TOC Utilities and Curley Cars for putting me in a position to get nominated for the Billy Coleman Award in 2018 which resulted in this prize drive.

“It really is a golden opportunity that I’m so thankful for and I fully intend to make the most of the experience and build upon it for the future.”