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BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP


 

2017 MSA British Rally Championship
1 Border Counties Rally 17 - 18 Mar
2 Pirelli International Rally 29 - 30 Apr
3 RSAC Scottish Rally 19 - 20 May
4 Kenotek Ypres Rally 23 - 24 Jun
5 Nicky Grist Stages 8 - 9 Jul
6 Ulster Rally 18 - 19 Aug
7 Rally Isle of Man 14 - 16 Sep

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 19 August 2017

Cronin commands Ulster Rally to set-up BRC title showdown

Three-time BRC champion Keith Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin claimed victory on round six of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship – the John Mulholland Ulster Rally (18/19 August). The Irish pairing took their second win of the season in their M-Sport–prepared Ford Fiesta R5 to set-up an exciting title fight ahead of the season curtain call on the Isle of Man.

Finishing second on the Ulster Rally was Swedish sensation Fredrik Ahlin and his Norwegian co-driver Torstein Eriksen in their Skoda Fabia R5. The result was their best finish on a Tarmac event as they maintain their championship lead ahead of the end of season crescendo with Cronin and Galvin. Rounding out the BRC podium was local crew Marty McCormack and navigator David Moynihan (Fabia R5) who clinched their third rostrum of the season.

The legendary Ulster Rally was to provide two days of enthralling action around Derry/Londonderry. Crews were waved off into the event by the mayor of the city, Maolíosa McHugh under the shadow of the Guildhall. Over 130 miles of slippery, bumpy and narrow Tarmac lanes faced the British Rally Championship crews – providing a heart-pumping spectacle as the championship fight took another step forward to its end of season showdown.

Torrential rain showers added an exciting extra ingredient into the opening days proceedings before wet, but drying stages played host to the second and final day of action.

Sailing across the rain-soaked stages were Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin in their DMACK-supported Ford Fiesta R5. Cronin and Galvin are the regaining Irish Tarmac Champions and used all of their knowledge to set the fastest stage time on the opening test, before breaking away from the pack on the subsequent stages. Despite a puncture scare early on Saturday morning, the M-Sport crew never looked back and held the top spot throughout the 14 times stages to take their second BRC win – backing up their dominant Ypres victory in June.

Keeping them honest across the two-day event was the Welsh crew of Osian Pryce and Dale Funrniss. The Ford Fiesta R5 partnership held onto Cronin’s coattails and at the overnight halt had brought the gap-down to a mere 1.1 seconds going into the second day. Unfortunately for Osian and Dale, history repeated itself and the fuel-pump on the Fiesta packed-up once again – replicating the retirement from the Nicky Grist Stages – round five of the BRC.

Fredrik Ahlin and Torstein Eriksen had enjoyed a ding-dong battle with Pryce all event long and once the Welshman dropped from the leaderboard, Fredrik was the only man left to challenge an on form Cronin. Setting top three stage times all weekend, Ahlin had declared himself an all round driver after a strong display on the Irish Tarmac. Second place in Ulster puts the championship power in his hands and is ready to fight Cronin on the Isle of Man for the title.

Jonny Greer has had a disappointing season by his high standards and elected to not score BRC points on the Ulster Rally. The Northern Irishman went in search of an outright podium and a win in the Irish Tarmac Championship. Deciding to use unhomologated tyres to allow him to fight for Irish supremacy, this made him ineligible for BRC championship points.

With Greer not scoring, up stepped Marty McCormack and navigator David Moynihan. The Irish crew rolled their Kumho-shod Skoda in dramatic style in Ypres and hired a Fiesta R5 to keep their championship aspirations alive. Back in the Fabia and McCormack was back to his brilliant best, threading the Czech machine through the narrow lanes to land his third podium of the season and putting himself in contention for a top three in the championship standings.

Irishman Desi Henry made a welcome return to the series after electing to miss the Nicky Grist Stages as he too rolled his Fabia R5 in Ypres. Along with Liam Moyinhan the pair threw everything at the rally to try and return to the rostrum but this time they had to settle for a respectable fourth in their Michelin-shod Skoda.

Alex Laffey was eager to bounce back after a retirement on the Nicky Grist Stages. Bounce back he did, as he and co-driver Patrick Walsh survived the two-day encounter to bring home their Pirelli-supported Fiesta R5 into fifth place and in the process has helped M-Sport close the gap to rivals CA1 Sport in the teams’ standings.

Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod were due to make it five tyre manufacturers in the top six but the Hankook Ford Fiesta R5 driver had to retire on the second day due to a broken throttle cable which had caused havoc all weekend – denying the Welsh pair their third podium on the bounce.

Prestone MSA British Rally Championship Standings (Drivers) after round six

1. Fredrik Ahlin – 106
2. Keith Cronin – 74
3. Osian Pryce – 66
4. Martin McCormack – 57
5. Matt Edwards – 54
6. Rhys Yates – 46
7. Jamie Anderson – 39
8. David Bogie – 37
9. Desi Henry – 24
10. Tom Cave – 2*

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 30 June 2017

Local hero Osian Pryce leads British Rally Championship as title race speeds into Wales

The Prestone MSA British Rally Championship races into the second half of the season with Wales the next stop on the action-packed calendar. Next weekend the demanding Nicky Grist Stages (8/9 July) will play host to round five of Britain’s premier rallying series.

Where are we going? – Round 5 – Nicky Grist Stages

The Builth Wells-based event will welcome the fastest rallying crews in the country to some of the finest stages in British rallying. The action commences with a Ceremonial Start in Builth Wells town centre on Saturday morning before a day-long battle on eight gravel tests previously used on Wales Rally GB.

An overnight service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground will then see teams’ engineers and mechanics have just two and a half hours to transform their state-of-the-art rallying machines from gravel spitting monsters to Tarmac-hugging race cars for the second day of action.

Having had their cars switched from gravel to asphalt specifications, crews will then speed over the Epynt Military Ranges. The famous ribbon of Tarmac will favour the brave as the rally could be won or lost on the legendary stages. After 117 grueling miles across the two days, the victors will spray the champagne back at Groe Park with the picturesque 18th-century bridge running over the River Wye providing the Ceremonial Finish backdrop on Sunday afternoon.

A strong crowd is expected across the weekend with highlights from the rally being broadcast around the world via Channel 4, BT Sport and Motorsport TV network shortly afterwards.

Last time out – Round 4 – Ypres Rally

The Prestone MSA British Rally Championship visited Ypres in northern Belgium for the first overseas round in the championship’s 59-year history and the event certainly didn’t disappoint.

Multiple BRC champion Keith Cronin took his first win of the season for M-Sport with fellow Irishman Mikie Galvin in the co-driver’s seat. The M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 pairing became the third different crew to win a round this season, thus putting their championship assault back on track.

Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod (Fiesta R5) kept their noses clean all weekend to become the seventh different crew on the rostrum this season, claiming second – their best ever result in the BRC, adding them to the title race. Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss had a difficult weekend as they struggled to find the set-up sweet spot with their Fiesta R5. Even so, Pryce and Furniss finished third on the Belgian event, shifting the balance of power to lead the championship heading to their home rally.

Fredrik Ahlin and Torstien Eriksen (Skoda Fabia R5) who won the first two rounds, retired on the opening day in Ypres. The Scandinavian pair restarted the second day and worked their way up to the order to take sixth in the BRC and with it a handful of points to keep their title tilt on track. Scottish Rally winner David Bogie with new co-driver Andrew Roughead crashed out of the event on the second stage and could sit out the next round while the Fabia R5 is repaired and returned to its former glory.

In the Prestone Motorsport News Junior BRC, Callum Devine and Keith Moriarty became the fourth different winners in the class for drivers under the age of 26 driving front-wheel-drive pocket-rockets. The Irish crew in their Opel ADAM R2 finished ahead of championship leaders William Creighton and Liam Regan while podium debutants James Williams and Dai Roberts took the final step and became the eighth different Junior crew to taste champagne in 2017.

In the other classes, Josh Cornwell/Richard Bliss (Ford Fiesta R2) dominated the Cadet Cup taking their fourth straight victory while John Morrison/Peter Carstairs (Mitsubishi Evo 6) stretched their Championship lead in the National Rally Cup. David and Matthew White (Fiesta R2) grabbed the lead in BRC4 after two days of grueling competition.

Local heroes – Drivers hoping to impress on home soil

Osian Pryce comes to his home event, the Nicky Grist Stages, as the overall championship leader. Pryce, who is dovetailing his BRC campaign with World Championship outings, sits pretty at the top of the championship table. The man from Machynlleth took his fourth consecutive podium and will be gunning for the top spot in front of his home fans. Continuing the local theme, Pryce’s team Spencer Sport from Ceredigion would love its man to better the outfit’s second place on last year’s event.

Matt Edwards from Colwyn Bay wrapped up the BRC2 category on the event in 2016 in his Mitsubishi Evo9. A year on, Edwards returns to his home round with a top-flight four-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta R5 and will be eager to move up the championship order from his current position of fifth and stand on the podium once again.

Although not from Wales, two drivers to watch out for on the Nicky Grist Stages are Jamie Anderson and Rhys Yates driving Ford Fiesta R5’s. Anderson from Leicestershire goes well on the Welsh stages and a former Mid Wales Stages and Severn Valley Rally winner took a BRC career best fourth in Ypres and will be hunting his maiden podium in Britain’s premier rallying series.

Yates is also man on a mission after a fine fifth in Belgium. The driver from Derbyshire is eager to progress and better his seventh overall on last years event. The young-gun is accomplished on both surfaces and could spring a surprise to help move him from eighth in the series standings.

In the Prestone Motorsport News Junior BRC two young Welsh charges will be seeking success on their home patch. James Williams from Newcastle Emlyn in his Ford Fiesta R2T rides on a crest of a wave after his Belgian class podium –hopefully the first of many for the Spencer Sport driver. Fighting tooth and nail for Welsh supremacy will be Meirion Evans in his Peugeot 208 R2. The Lampeter-based driver has two podiums under his belt already this season and will throw everything at the event to secure his first win.

World Mountain Bike Champion Gee Atherton returns to Britain’s premier rallying series after a three round absence due to an injury experienced in his two-wheeled day job. The man from north Wales campaigns his Ford Fiesta R2T in BRC4 and will want to wrestle the championship lead back from rival David White.

For more information on the Nicky Grist Stages visit www.nickygriststages.co.uk

 

PRESS RELEASE: 18th March 2017

Ice cool Ahlin takes top spot on the Borders

Fredrik Ahlin and co-driver Torstein Eriksen won the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally, the curtain-raising round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship this weekend (17/18 March). The Swedish/Norwegian pairing came out on top after nine hard-fought stages to open Britain’s premier rallying series.
The 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship has been one of the most eagerly-anticipated seasons in recent memory, with a star-studded entry list descending on the Scottish border town of Jedburgh for the first round. Nine speed tests and more than 55 slippery miles awaited for the 33 registered crews, all of whom were ready to fight for supremacy on the gravel stages of southern Scotland.

On Friday evening, a large crowd gathered for the Ceremonial Start in the heart of Jedburgh. To get the proceedings underway, cars were waved off by double British Touring Car Champion John Cleland, at the foot of the dramatic 12thcentury Jedburgh Abbey. Rally goers were treated to a feast of entertainment – with the Prestone Rally Simulator testing spectators’ skills behind the wheel – and to bring the evening to a close, a spectacular firework display lit up the Jedburgh sky. BRC crews then travelled to the forest to tackle two adrenaline-fuelled, heart-pumping night stages. You can’t win the event on the first night, but drivers were eager to throw down their marker, as time was to be had for the brave.

Bravest on stage one were local stars David Bogie and Kevin Rae in their Skoda Fabia R5, as the all-Scottish crew took the spoils with a chasing pack in hot pursuit. Tom Cave and James Morgan were the model of consistency in their Ford Fiesta R5, notching up two second-fastest times on Friday evening to grab a slender 2.8-second lead at the overnight halt. Ahlin and Eriksen held third as they got to grips with their new Fabia R5 in the darkness of Craik. Triple BRC Champion Keith Cronin with Mikie Galvin alongside stole the march on stage two to hold fourth overall going into the second day.

Wet and slippery conditions in the forests around Jedburgh played host to Saturday’s action, with seven tricky stages waiting to catch out the unwary. The lead of the rally changed hands no fewer than five times throughout the event and out to grab it for good was Ahlin, who woke up in determined mood. The Swedish sensation was 5.3 seconds clear on the first stage of the day to snatch the advantage, before Cave wrestled it back on stage four.

Ahlin, however, was in emphatic form as he subsequently tallied two further stage wins to reclaim the overall lead. The Swede was flamboyant through the forestry tracks and cool, calm and collected out of the car. Ahlin last won a BRC round in May 2016, and hadn’t struck gold since. A new year, new car, new co-driver and new approach saw the driver from Karlstad come out fighting, taking the top step by a healthy 38.6 seconds at the close of play.

Six different drivers clinched a fastest stage time with Marty McCormack/David Moynihan in a Fabia R5 storming to the top of the timesheets on stage five before retiring a stage later after hitting a rock. That same rock claimed many victims, including podium-hunter Bogie, who similarly had to end his event early.

Cave was the only man left who could take the fight to Ahlin. The Welshman struggled running first on the road after the departed Bogie, as he cleared the mud and stones for competitors behind. Giving it all he could, Tom couldn’t catch Fredrik and maturely settled for second place while also playing his ‘Joker’ to earn an additional four points – positioning him perfectly for a 2017 title tilt. Cave will be swapping cars ahead of the next round as he brings the Hyundai i20 R5 into the BRC.

With Bogie retiring, up stepped Cronin and BRC returnee Osian Pryce, who had Dale Furniss calling the notes, in the scrap for the final podium spot. Former BRC rally-winner Pryce was straight back onto the pace on his return, showing his rivals a clean pair of boots on stage eight and enjoying an event-long duel with Cronin, with the Welshman ultimately gaining the upper hand over the Irishman. Cronin got his season off to a strong start, bagging fourth for the M-Sport BRC team while fellow Fiesta R5 driver Rhys Yates recorded his best BRC finish to-date, rounding out the top five with co-driver Carl Williamson.

In the Prestone Motorsport News Junior British Rally Championship, the action was fast and furious throughout with the latest crop of young talent putting on a brilliant display in their front-wheel drive machines.

The famous Solberg name immediately made an impact in the BRC, as Oscar Solberg and Patrik Barth claimed a hard-fought win on the Border Counties Rally in their Ford Fiesta R2T. Son of Henning and nephew of Petter, Oscar delivered a stellar run to take the championship lead as well as clinching the honour for fastest two-wheel drive car and a hard-earned outright BRC point.

Hot on the Scandinavian pairings’ heels were a brace of Peugeot 208 R2s. Making his BRC comeback was Irishman Dean Raftery and new co-driver Tom Woodburn. Having not been in competitive BRC action for a few years, Raftery quickly brushed off the cobwebs to settle into the overall mix from the outset, netting second in the standings.

Surprising many was young William Creighton in another Peugeot 208 R2. The Northern Irishman had only entered a handful of gravel rallies before making his BRC debut, and he put the cat well and truly amongst the pigeons. With Liam Regan expertly guiding, the pair chalked up the fastest time on the first stage to lead the rally before being overhauled by the more experienced gravel drivers.

The newly-formed Cadet Cup is the perfect springboard for competitors stepping up from clubman rallying competition into the BRC. Leading from flag to champagne were Josh Cornwell and Richard Bliss in their Ford Fiesta R2. Despite suffering lampod issues on the opening stage, the Surrey-based star took the first win of the season in convincing style, eking out a 2m47s lead going into the Ceremonial Finish in Jedburgh. Second home after a tough two-day event was Fergus Barlow in a similar Fiesta R2 with Max Freeman sitting alongside, while rounding out the Cadet podium was the crew from Harper Adams University. James McDiarmed, Max Haines-Messenger and the team only finished the car the day before the event, having built their Ford Fiesta National from scratch. They were delighted to round out the top three.

In BRC4, World Mountain Bike Champion Gee Atherton was experiencing the BRC for the first time. With Keaton Williams alongside, the Red Bull athlete grabbed the advantage from the off in his new Ford Fiesta R2T – putting his mud and dirt experience into practice to take the class win from David and Matthew White. The father and son partnership overcame gearbox gremlins on the first night to make it to the finish, gaining much needed mileage in their new Ford Fiesta R2 before their trip to Corsica to contest the French round of the FIA World Rally Championship next month.

Donnie Macdonald got his first taste of R5 rallying machinery in the BRC, with the Scotsman picking up from where he left off last season – top of the timesheets in the National Rally Cup, with Andrew Falconer calling the notes. Spencer Wilkinson and Glyn Thomas enjoyed their BRC experience in the iconic Subaru Impreza, with the duo claiming Production Cup victory at the end of the demanding two-day test.

 

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