MEIRION Evans is aiming to continue his good start to the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship next weekend when he contests the West Cork Rally (March 14-15) in the Scan Station-backed Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

It will only be the second time that the 24-year old from Llanwrda has contested the event.

Last year, an early fuel pump problem with his Hyundai i20 R5 forced him to superally, where he went on to set some excellent stage times with a flying and trouble-free run on day two.

Meirion will also benefit from some West Cork winning advice from his father Melvyn Evans, who won the event in 2002 and 2006, driving a Ford Escort WRC and a Subaru Impreza WRC respectively.

Co-driven by St Asaph-born Jonathan Jackson, Meirion gave his new Michelin-shod Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 an impressive debut on the opening round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, finishing fourth on last month’s Galway International Rally.

A notoriously wet, slippery and tricky event, Meirion considers that to be one of his best performances of his career so far, which bodes well for next weekend’s event in County Cork.

Meirion said: “The West Cork Rally is one of the rallies I’d like to win the most – not just because it’s such a long and challenging event, but because my father has won it twice.

"That was back in 2002 and 2006, driving an Escort WRC and Subaru Impreza WRC.

"He still remembers sections of the route, and his experience and knowledge of the surface and levels of grip in the ever-changing weather conditions are a great help.

"His advice has certainly speeded up my learning process, particularly in Ireland, there’s no question about that.

"But, of course, it’s down to me when I’m behind the steering wheel, and I have to prepare and drive the very best I can in a modern Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, which is obviously completely different to an almost 20-year old World Rally Car!"

He added: “I did the West Cork for the first time last year.

"Unfortunately, we had to superally after our Hyundai i20 R5 stopped with a fuel pump problem early on the first day.

"After we restarted we set some good stage times, so we’ll head into this year’s event with a lot of optimism – especially coming straight after a good run in Galway in the new car.

"With the British Rally Championship joining the Irish Tarmac Championship in West Cork, there is a fantastic entry and even getting anywhere near the podium is going to be extremely difficult.

"We’re going to give it our very best shot, stick to our rally plan and see what happens. Hopefully, we’ll have a good run and bag some more Irish Tarmac points.”

The Cork Motor Club-organised Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally takes place over St Patrick’s weekend, with two long days of competition.

There are 14 stages, totalling 140 miles (225km), and they contain some of Ireland’s most iconic stages, including The Ring, Sam’s Cross and Ardfield.

As the event is a round of both the Irish Tarmac and British Rally Championships, over 150 entries have been received, with a large number of R5 spec cars battling for victory.