Garry Jennings will return with a new car when rallying eventually gets back under way.

The Kesh driver has struck a deal to secure an ex-Alastair Fisher Ford Fiesta R5 Evo 2 after making the decision to switch from his Subaru.

His hopes of a quick debut in the car have been dashed with ongoing Covid restrictions meaning rallying action remains prohibited, and he admits he is frustrated at his inability to get his new car out onto the stages.

“I bought the car in November to get out in it, but haven’t had a chance to go anywhere,” he said.

“I was hoping to have a pile of rallying done by Christmas or January, but I haven’t turned a wheel.

“The wife and I went up the road and back down again the day it arrived, and I couldn’t believe the power and the brakes. I had thought by the chat there was no power in them, but I couldn’t believe the power.

“She felt so nimble and the balance was unreal. I couldn’t believe the brakes, either, and that wasn’t doing any rallying, just going up the road.”

The former Irish Tarmac Champion had opted to move on from the faithful Subaru that has served him well and carried him to numerous International rally wins, in the hope he could contest a Northern Ireland-based round of the World Rally Championship in 2021.

With the WRC calendar set to be finalised at the end of last year, it seemed as though Rally GB – traditionally based in Wales – was set for a shift across the Irish Sea.

It would have marked the first return to the province of the world’s top drivers since the 2009 Rally Ireland event, but at the last minute Covid-related problems led to the decision that Rally GB would not run at all in 2021.

Hope still remains high that the Northern Ireland-based event will be delayed a year rather than cancelled, and that would give Garry his opportunity in 2022.

“My idea was that this Rally Ireland was coming. I knew the deal was 95 per cent done, and I thought they would have got it over the line, and my thinking was that if I wanted to do it, then I would need an R5 car,” he explained.

“It is right-hand drive and I was going to go out and do a bit of testing and a couple of rallies, and then convert it to left-hand drive and see what I think. I was really looking forward to it.

“We were mad to get out and mess about in it, and if I liked it we could upgrade it for one of the newer cars for Rally Ireland, but it just hasn’t materialised.

“Hopefully soon we will be able to get going and get some proper testing and some seat time.”

The return date of rallying in Ireland still remains unknown, with the 2022 Irish Tarmac Championship already cancelled, and it is now more than a year since Jennings was last in action – but when competitors do finally return to action, they can expect to be facing a renewed challenge from a familiar face.