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STEVE BROWN


PRESS RELEASE: 24th October 2018

Brown produces class act at the Hemicuda Rally
Brown secures top result in Belgium behind the wheel of his Nissan Micra Kit Car


Steve Brown made his trip back to Belgium a worthwhile one, by storming to a Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) class win and taking his Nissan Micra Kit Car to 34th overall from a start position of 112 at the Hemicuda Rally last weekend (21st October).

The Rochdale driver overcame a significant power deficit to his class rivals, to finish the tough closed-road event sixth in class 3F. His result also secured him maximum points in the FIRC M2B category and third two-wheel-drive machine home, meaning he now heads into the final round of the series in second spot.

Brown has enjoyed a busy fortnight of competitive action having piloted a Bellerby RX BMW Mini Cooper to third spot in the BTRDA Clubmans Championship “B Final” at Blyton Park Race Circuit the previous weekend. His guest appearance in the series was the second of his career, arranged by sponsors Fuchs Lubricants and 710 Oils.

But he wouldn’t have time to enjoy his circuit success as he headed across to mainland Europe to resume his FIRC campaign in the popular Nissan. Co-driven by Paul Stringer, Brown has not been able to secure the use of the Micra on all rounds of the season due to much-needed upgrades to the car taking longer than expected.

However, the penultimate round of the FIRC offered the chance to use the car with most of the changes undertaken and he would head to the Kortrijk based event in West Flanders with the intention of pushing the Kit Car harder than usual to test if the upgrades have been successful.

Starting well over 100th on the road, Brown would endure difficult conditions thanks to the gravel being pulled out onto the road by the front-running crews, but he showed no sign of that being an issue from the off, putting the Nissan well inside the top 50 on the opening test, the longest of the event.

As the stages passed, the confidence in the car grew and Brown would be trading stage times with others in the hotly contested 3F class. Despite still giving away significant horsepower to the leaders, the stage times tumbled. The occasional off-road excursion would be a testament to how hard he was pushing the Micra but after nine special stages and almost 100km of driving, Brown secured his best result of the season.

“I`m thrilled with this result and it really is a great feeling to have finally found my feet with the Micra, it’s been a long labour of love recently,” said Brown.

“It was a difficult rally and running down the order didn’t really help out stage times against other guys in the class but we persevered and I so pleased with the pace we managed to set. It was a pretty much trouble free run too which is encouraging. I also know there is more to come from the car and me so it's certainly given me a real confidence boost heading into the final round next month. It’s great to be back!”

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.



PRESS RELEASE: 5th September 2018

Brown bags Mini class win in Belgium

Nissan Kit Car driver Steve Brown made the switch to his Historic specification Mini Cooper at the Conxion Omloop van Vlaanderen Rally a successful one last weekend, by steering the classic machine to a class win at the Belgian event (31st August / 1st September).

Despite usually being seen behind the wheel of his unique Nissan, the Rochdale driver bagged an impressive Open Category victory on only his second overseas event in the Mini. With regular co-driver Paul Stringer unavailable, Welshman Arwel Jenkins stepped into the co-driver’s seat and the newly formed duo managed to overcome some issues along the way, earning them second Mini home in the HRCR Mini Cup and 43rd overall.

Brown has had a sporadic year of competitive rallying so far, with outings in the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC), mixed with one-off drives in the Mini Cup in the UK. With his usual Kit-Car unable to make the start of the season in Belgium, Brown found himself using the Mintex backed Mini for Rallye Salamandre in April. Sadly, that outing ended in retirement with transmission failure, but just days later, the 29-year-old secured a class podium at the Dixies Historic Challenge in Wales.

The Mini hasn’t had an outing in Brown’s hands since then, and he would head back across the English Channel to join the Mini Cup for its overseas event. The rally would be split over two days from the event base in Roeselare, with 18 special stages and around 200km of competitive driving ahead. To add another dimension to the rally, three stages would be tackled under the cover of darkness on the Friday night.

Settling back into the Mini would understandably take a few stages but Brown guided the Mini throughout the opening leg to end the day in second in the Cup standings, a mere two seconds in front of his nearest rival in third. Saturday provided the longest leg of the event and the first loop of stages did not start well for Brown.

A flapping bonnet would eventually be the least of his concerns as the exhaust departed company with the Mini after grounding out on one of the many ditch-lined stages. Luckily the unit remained on its mountings enough for Brown to pop the unit in the boot, successfully reattaching the silencer at the service halt.

With his early scare overcome, Brown knuckled down over the remaining stages of the day to bring the Mini home in a class winning position.

“I`m really delighted with this result,” said Brown on the finish ramp.

“It’s a long and tough rally but we overcame our early issues and had a great time. This Mini is so very different to the Micra and I do find the pressure is off a little when you drive this car. Its just lets me enjoy the stunning roads out here whilst still having that competitiveness with the Mini Cup guys. It's only my third rally in the Mini so to beat some ‘old hands’ over here is quite an achievement. Doing the FIRC will have helped of course but it’s certainly made it all worthwhile. Thanks must also go to Arwel for stepping into the passenger seat for Paul. It’s been a blast”.

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 7th August 2018

Brown back on top in Belgium


Steve Brown enjoyed a successful return to the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) last weekend by taking his unique Nissan Micra Kit Car to a class win and third in the FIRC two-wheel-drive category at the Les Boucles Chevrotines in Belgium (4/5 August).

The Rochdale driver overcame searing heat both in and out of the car to bring his Nissan home in 17th overall, despite being the first fully competitive outing for the machine after a 12-month break which saw the Micra undergo a significant overhaul. Guided by Paul Stringer in the co-drivers seat, their result on the South West Belgium roads marks a return to form for the car after dominating the FIRC class 3F in 2016 prior to its rebuild.

Sporadic outings during the opening half of the season have not helped Brown’s championship aspirations but with the Nissan not available due to ongoing works, he had set a target to return the car to compete in the Summer.

A run on the Rallye Festival Transmiera in Spain in April was bolstered by June’s Rallye Van Wervick in Belgium which highlighted some additional changes required to attempt to bridge the power deficit in the class. Browns Nissan carries a lowly 1300cc engine with his rivals powering away in 1600cc variants so a trip to Tommy Field Race engines in the downtime offered the opportunity to address the balance for the weekend ahead.

Despite being only one other contender in the event category, Brown would have to work hard over the 12 stages to stay ahead of the more powerful machine. Opting to focus on ensuring the Nissan was back to it’s best, he elected to drive his own rally and after the opening loop of stages on Sunday morning, was soon back in the groove.

As the stages passed, the heat began to intensify and the ambient temperatures would head towards 30 degrees. But inside the Micra, it was much hotter thanks to the exhaust being in close proximity to the chassis and not only would Brown have to battle with the stages, but he would also need to find the additional stamina to complete the event. With over 115km of special tests to contend with and no single stage shorter than 9km, a long day behind the wheel would be the result.

But Brown kept his cool as much as possible to cross the finish ramp on Sunday evening with a class win and a confidence that the Micra’s developments have been a success.

“It’s been a long time coming but its great to be back in the Micra when it's performing as well as this and to take the class win in the process is the icing on the cake this weekend,” said Brown at the finish.

“It’s a shame there wasn’t more competition but we were really focusing on making sure the changes we made to the car since our last outing had worked and I'm pleased to say that they certainly have. Everything feels really good with the car but the searing heat was something else today. It was like a sauna in there and being such a long day and long stages really tested my physical strength today.”

Brown also scored valuable FIRC points for his campaign which has seen him miss a handful of events at the start of the season.

“It would have been nice to really focus on the FIRC class 3F title this year but that just wasn’t possible. That said, we will still continue to rack up the points whilst we can and having the Nissan back to do that is fantastic. We are certainly looking forward to the next one and see what we can do when both the car and I am back on form”.

His next outing will see a shift to the historic specification Questmead – Mintex Mini Cooper for the Tour of Flanders Rally at the end of the month back in Belgium.

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 12th June 2018

Encouraging result for Brown’s Belgian return

Steve Brown secured another solid finish for his newly developed Nissan Micra Kit Car last weekend, taking eighth in class 3F and valuable championship points at Rally van Wervik (8/9th June) in Belgium.

The Rochdale driver would make the trip across the English Channel to contest the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) qualifier in only the second event for the crowd-pleasing machine this season.

With the aim firmly to gain a foothold on the scoreboard after a faltered start in the series, Brown duly delivered and brought the Micra home fourth in the two wheel drive standings to finally get his assault underway. He was partnered by regular co-driver Paul Stringer for the event.

Sporadic outings in the FIRC last season ensured that Brown has never beaten his impressive results during his 2016 campaign which saw a one hundred per cent finishing record, class podiums and an overall two-wheel drive win behind the wheel of the Micra.

This year has also seen a less than ideal start, thanks to delays in the Micra being ready for the first and second rounds, meaning a switch to a Historic specification Mini would be his only option to compete in the series.

That would end in retirement, but it did allow the final modifications to be carried out to the Kit Car before an outing in Spain, at the invite-only Rallye Festival Transmiera in May. The event marked the 2018 debut for the car after almost 12 months of engine and suspension development and was ideal to shakedown the car due to its non-competitive format.

Brown would head back to Belgium in the Micra for the first time since 2016 for the closed-public road event and it was a welcome return for both him and the Nissan. Despite its earlier Spanish outing, last weekend would be the first at full competitive speeds and he would nurse the car through the 12 stages of the event which totalled almost 100km.

As the stages passed, Brown’s confidence increased and after the opening loop, began to creep inside the top ten class positions. Filled with more powerful and modern R2 specification cars, the class would be one of the most hotly contested in the event and he would keep his cool to finish in eighth from an original 21 starters.

He was elated to reach the finish of the notoriously tricky event.

“It feels really good to be back here in Belgium but more importantly, it feels great to be back with the Kit Car,” said Brown at the finish.

“We came here with the aim of really getting some decent championship points on the board but also to shakedown the car having never really driven it in anger properly. I’m very mindful that we are still in the development phase with it and there is still work to do, but I'm really impressed with the changes we have made so far. I`ll be honest, it wasn’t trouble free but to finish eighth in that class, surrounded by British Championship Juniors with a lot more brake horsepower than us is really encouraging.

The weekend certainly exceeded my expectations so now we know what we need to do to make the next step with the car and hopefully, we can do that before the next round that I can contest which will now be in August”.

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.


PRESS RELEASE: 4th June 2018

Brown takes revamped Nissan Kit Car to Wervik

The iconic Nissan Kit Car, driven by Steve Brown is back in action in Belgium this weekend

The striking Nissan Micra Kit Car of Steve Brown will be heading across the English Channel this week, as the Rochdale driver aims to get valuable points on the board in the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) at Rally van Wervik (8/9th June).

Brown endured a testing start to his 2018 campaign after the popular Nissan was side-lined just days before the start of Rallye Salamandre earlier in the year, forcing him to revert to a Historic specification Mini Cooper for the event. Transmission failure on the third test thwarted his efforts to secure points for his assault on the Challenge.

Now, he will finally get to use the potent machine on the closed public roads in Belgium and resume his campaign on the hotly contested class 3F battle. He will be co-driven by Paul Stringer.

Despite the Micra not being ready for the start of the season, Brown has still enjoyed success behind the wheel. A podium result in the Mini on the HRCR Mini Sport Cup - Dixies Historic Challenge just a week after his first foray to Belgium in 2018 saw an upturn in fortune for the Questmead Director which was soon followed by a trip to the prestigious Rallye Festival Transmiera in Spain.

The invite-only event would mark the first competitive outing for the Nissan Micra Kit Car in over a year as he mothballed the unique model to carry out essential upgrades to the power plant and suspension. Intermittent outings in 2017 behind the wheel of a Honda Civic and Mitsubishi Evo IX proved to be less fruitful although a podium on his Rallycross debut was a highlight.

The return of the Nissan in Spain ensured that any teething problems would be ironed out as he resumes his FIRC assault in Wervik.

“The Micra is a great tool for the unique Belgian roads and It will be fantastic to finally get back over there and compete against everyone in the series and sample those stages once again,” says Brown.

“Rallye Festival Transmiera was a perfect shakedown for the car as it was much less competitive than it will be in Belgium and that allowed us to find out what we needed to change for future events. It was the first outing for the car in well over a year so to finish that rally without too many issues is encouraging. It feels awesome to drive so I`m hopeful for a decent class result this weekend."

"Thinking back to 2016 when we contested the championship, we had a one hundred per cent finishing record and won the two-wheel drive category on the final round so I know that both the car and I am capable” he continues.

“That was a good year for us in the car and that was despite being well down on power compared to other class contenders. I’ll also be looking to make sure we get a good finish after our first-round non-score but either way, it will be a long awaited return back to Belgium with the Micra”.

The event offers around 60 miles of special stages from its Wervik base on 8th/9th June.

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.

 

PRESS RELEASE: 1st May 2018

Epynt podium sets Brown up for Spanish rally invitation

Just days after retiring with transmission failure from Rallye Salamandre in Belgium, Steve Brown ensured his season was back on track by securing a class podium at last weekend’s HRCR Mini Sport Cup - Dixies Historic Challenge (29th April).

Brown and co-driver Paul Stringer would quickly adapt to the classic Mini across the notorious Epynt Military Ranges and secured an impressive second place in class MC4 against many more seasoned competitors in the category. Brown’s success at the weekend comes with perfect timing as the 29 year old will now prepare to head to Spain to tackle the Rallye Festival Transmiera on 10th-12th May.

In a troubled start to 2018, the Rochdale based driver was due to head across the channel at the beginning of the month to kick-start his 2018 Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) campaign in his familiar Nissan Micra Kit Car. But at the last minute, he was forced to swap to a Historic Mini due to the Nissan not being ready in time.

All his efforts were in vein however as gearbox failure on the third stage side-lined the Mini and it would be a race against time to ensure the car could compete in Wales last weekend. Luckily, the issue was fixed during the week and Brown could head to the ranges near Llandovery with the hopes of securing a finish and gaining valuable experience in the car ahead of further outings later in the year.

The Historic-specification Mini would provide a very different viewpoint to the event for Brown, having previously contested events at the venue in his Micra as part of the National Asphalt Championship in 2016. But he would not be fazed by the change of power, handling and braking, battling hard all day long to take second place in the hotly-contested Mini class.

To add to the weekend, Brown also elected to play his “Joker card” meaning his result bags one and half times the points allocated for the championship and he was pleased to finally get a finish for the car.

“It’s a totally different beast to drive and I really have had to change my driving style and approach to the whole event” said Brown.

“So to come away from my first full rally in the car with a class podium is really encouraging. I will admit I do have a lot more to learn about driving the Mini, I’m pretty sure there are places that I could make up time on my rivals but for now I`m happy to have taken my first rally finish of the season with an award. The competition was excellent too and with 20 or so other Mini’s competing in the Cup, the camaraderie was fantastic”.

Brown will not have time relish his success for too long, as he heads for northern Spain in a week’s time to contest the invite-only Rallye Festival Transmiera. This time, Brown will be taking the Nissan Kit Car to Europe and is excited at the prospect of competing in the country for the first time. Over 160 cars will be tackling the closed road event in the North East of Spain.

“It’s a real honour to be invited over to tackle the rally and it looks like it’s an amazing event” he says.

“To be honest its very humbling when you see some of the names on the entry list and to line up alongside legends such as Juha Kankkunen is pretty special. There will be no heroics from me as the car will still be very fresh but of course we want to put on a show for the crowd and the atmosphere there will be unbeatable. I don’t think I’ve looked forward to a rally so much in ages!”

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 25th April 2018

Mini adventure ends in retirement for Brown in Belgium

Rapid Nissan Micra Kit Car pilot Steve Brown was forced to make a last minute switch to a Historic specification Mini Cooper last week, just days ahead of his trip to Rallye Salamandre in Belgium (22nd April).

The Rochdale rally driver was due to use the Nissan to kick off his second assault in as many years on the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC), but less than a week before he was due to leave, Brown was informed the car would not be ready in time and he was faced with the possibility of not competing at all.

Luckily, Brown had a backup plan and would head across the channel to compete in the popular event behind the wheel of the Fuchs, Questmead and Mintex supported classic Mini. Sadly despite his best efforts on the Belgian closed roads, Brown was forced to retire on the third test with gearbox failure.

The 29-year-old had a sporadic season in 2017 with outings in Belgium and the UK behind the wheel of a Honda Civic and Mitsubishi Evo IX whilst the Micra Kit Car undergoes essential development work which has taken longer than expected. Brown was nevertheless looking forward to the rally having taken third in class on the event last year.

It wasn’t an easy start to event for Brown and co-driver Paul Stringer however. A torrential thunderstorm during the opening stage would make the going treacherous for the classic machine, but a failed wiper linkage made matters worse, leaving Brown to tip-toe through the test. Predictably perhaps, steamed windows would hamper any progress on the second stage and the third saw the Mini retire from the event with transmission woes.

“After all the hard work and last minute rushing around to get the Mini here, it’s a bitter blow to have only completed three stages” said Brown.

“But despite the issues it was great fun and the Mini was popular with the spectator that’s for sure. I was just getting into my stride too, it’s a completely different animal to the Nissan but I really enjoyed the stages we did do”.

There will be no rest for the team as they will now head for Wales at the weekend to tackle the second round of the HRCR Mini Sport Cup across Epynt Military Ranges at the Dixies Historic Challenge on Sunday (29th April).

“It will be a very tight turn around but we think we can get it fixed and back on the road in time” says Brown.

“I really do enjoy Epynt and we always did pretty well there when we competed in the National Asphalt Championship in the Micra so this will be an awesome experience in the Mini. It’s really great fun to drive and competing against so many other Minis creates a great atmosphere and sight in the service area. It will be a bit slower than I`m used to but I`ll be trying just as hard that’s for sure”.

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.


 

PRESS RELEASE: 18th February 2018

Brown brings back Micra for packed rally season


Rochdale rally driver Steve Brown will aim to put the disappointment of last season behind him as he plans to return to the sport with an interesting mix of events and cars for his 2018 campaign.

After a turbulent and rather sporadic year which saw him take to the wheel of a Honda Civic and Mitsubishi Lancer, Brown will embark on an assault on the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) in his popular Nissan Micra Kit Car which has undergone a series of development work during 2017.

His season in Belgium will be complemented with selected outings back in the UK, contesting the HRCR Mini Sport Cup, behind the wheel of a Mintex supported classic Mini. If his year was not looking packed enough, Brown has also been invited to compete in the Rallye Festival Trasmiera with the Micra which takes place near the Spanish city of Santander.

The 29-year-old Questmead Sales Engineer is well known for his impressive results in the Nissan and has taken several class titles in the National Asphalt Championship and FIRC podium positions. With a desire to further develop the under powered Micra after 2016, Brown was offered the loan of a more powerful Honda Civic but his season was cut short due to mechanical issues. Aside from sporadic outings in the Mitsubishi, a full championship assault has not been forthcoming.

Now, Brown will look to consolidate last year’s misfortunes and ensure he makes the most out of the season ahead. His first outing will be at the opening round of the FIRC in April, Rallye Salamandre where he will return to the event in which he claimed a class 3F podium in 2017; at the wheel of his old, borrowed Nissan Micra.

After the Rallye Festival Trasmiera, Brown will resume his FIRC championship aspirations at the ORC Canal Rally in May and is keen to get the season underway in the popular Micra Kit Car.

“It really felt like I couldn’t do anything right last season and we had some really wicked bad luck,” says Brown.

“I knew I had to develop the Micra Kit Car further but didn’t want to take a whole year out so was grateful for the support I got from people who loaned me cars to enable me to compete, but we just couldn’t pull it all together and not doing a full championship wasn’t much fun. So now the Micra is back on the road I`ll be heading back to Belgium and see what we can do with chasing down the two-wheel drive and class honours. We will mix that with the invitational outing in Spain which I`m really looking forward to. It's going to be a fun year I hope!”


As well as competing in the Micra, Brown will also try his hand at Historic rallying, with selected events in the Questmead owned Mini Cooper starting with the Tour of Flanders in August. He will then make his first UK outing at the Cheviot Rally across Otterburn in the North East at the end of the year in the machine.

“It will be a different animal all together but thanks to changing cars so much last year I have learnt to adapt to that and I`m really looking forward to the close competition in the Mini Cup,” he says.

“They are great fun to drive and despite only having two outings, I won't be there just to make up the numbers. Historic rallying is certainly very buoyant at the moment so it will be fantastic to be part of that. It will be a good mix of events too, both in Belgium and back home so I think it will round off the year nicely. It's going to be a busy one!”

 

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk.

Brown is supported in 2017 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.