ARNOLD Lutton’s first Circuit of Ireland Rally experience turned into a dream debut last weekend as the Portadown driver won the 1400 class.
Lutton and John Henderson teamed up to tackle the two-day test in a borrowed Nissan Micra and finished in the honours thanks to consistent results.
“To be honest, I didn’t know too much about it until someone came up and told me to go to the rostrum,” said Lutton. “I was just enjoying the fact that I had achieved the goal of finishing when, within the space of a minute, I was celebrating a class win.
“I owe a big debt of thanks to John, plus Matthew Mason and Simon Brennan for support in the service team.
“Having that back-up helped me relax and not get caught up in the occasion too much.
“I have been a fan of this rally for about 25 years but was never involved competitively until now.
“It is only when you are in the driver’s seat that you can really appreciate the scale of the event.
“I have only ever really done single-day meetings so adjusting to the night stages was a fresh experience.
“It was amazing to see so many people turn out to support the rally and even having spectators clicking away with cameras was something different.
“Although quite a few failed to finish my class, I am just delighted to have a trophy from my first international event.
“My own car was not ready so I hired one from Raymond Mason.
“However, I hope to have mine available for the Ulster Rally.”