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Pirelli International Rally / Tour of Cumbria - 23-24 Apr 10

Posted: April 29, 2010 11:59 AM - 11093 Hits

Round 2 - 2010 British Rally Championship
Round 2 - 2010 MSA ANCRO Gravel Rally Championship
Round 2 - 2010 MSA British Historic Rally Championship
Round 2 - 2010 UK Evolution Challenge

  • Evans/Patterson take last stage Victory!

Photo: Rallybrc.co.uk

Smith breaks Fiesta SportChallenge Duck

Posted: April 28, 2010 12:25 PM

Silsden based Damien Smith, 28 and co-driver Frazer Hutchinson broke their winning duck on the third round of the 2010 Kick Energy Fiesta SportChallenge (FSC) championship, the Pirelli Challenge Rally. The Cumbrian event ran over the final five stages of the Pirelli International Rally all of which took place in the famous Kielder forest, the largest man made forest in Europe. The rally provided another close event for the Fiesta SportChallenge crews with battles all the way down the field.

The event opened with the eleven and half mile Roughside stage. First into the stage was championship leader Jonny Cunningham, 26 from Galway and co-driver Richard Millener. Disaster struck for the championship leaders in the first stage when they lost one and a half minutes after having to stop to fix a broken gear linkage. It was round one runner up; Damien Smith who posted the fastest time over the opening test in the Skipton Ford backed Fiesta ST. 22 seconds behind Smith was Ruthin based John Pritchard, and co-driver Chris Williams. Richard Parry-Jones and Sara Price third fastest through the Roughside stage in their Gwyndaf Evans Motors prepared ST. 20-year-old Alex Laffey, from Market Harborough and new co-driver Peter Martin were next up 22seconds behind Parry-Jones. Behind Laffey, 18 year old Jamie Brown and co-driver Craig Burgess led home Dan O’Brien, 17, from St Albans and Will Rogers by just four seconds.

SS2 saw the FSC crews tackle the famous Pundershaw stage, which has featured on Rally GB in the past. Cunningham and Millener posted the fastest time on the stage and start their recovery charge after the troubles of stage one and climb from seventh to fifth in the FSC standings. Smith maintained his lead finishing second on the stage just five seconds behind the championship leader but more importantly 17 seconds in front of Pritchard to increase his lead to almost 40 seconds as the crews returned to service. Laffey took advantage of a spin for Parry-Jones to claim the fourth fastest time and climb to third overall just ahead of Parry-Jones and the recovering Cunningham.

Cunningham continued his recovery on SS3, The Craggs, winning the stage by just two seconds from Smith and jumped to third overall, just 30 seconds behind second placed Pritchard with two stages remaining. Pritchard was third on the stage ahead of Parry-Jones and Laffey who once again switched positions. Parry-Jones posted a time one second quicker than Laffey to overcome the youngsters advantage and hold fourth by just half a second. Dan O’Brien passed Jamie Brown for sixth on stage three after the latter had dramas with an engine mount during service and was forced to check out late.

SS4 The Forks saw Cunningham’s recovery charge end. After stopping to check for damage prior the stage, the crew forgot to fasten the bonnet pins, this caused the bonnet to open in the stage forcing Cunningham to stop and costing him over 45 seconds in the process. Damien Smith was once again the fastest the FSC runner and also scored the fastest overall time on the Pirelli Challenge Rally. John Pritchard was second on the penultimate stage to reinforce his second place in the FSC event. Richard Parry-Jones and Sara Price, from Abermaw were third to increase their advantage over Alex Laffey and Peter Martin in fourth to just over a second. The pair could barely be separated for the whole event and with one stage remaining the final place on the podium was still all to play for. Cunningham and Millener dropped to fifth after their latest drama and were just three and a half seconds behind Laffey heading into the final stage. Jamie Brown was also clawing back time to Dan O’Brien ahead and posted a time three seconds quicker than the 17-year-old on the penultimate stage.

With a lead of over a minute going into the final stage Smith had every reason to take it steady through the final stage and cruise to victory. Cunningham posted his third fastest time stage time of the event on final stage, leaving the Galway man to rue what might have been had it not been for the drama’s he encountered. Smith was just one second behind Cunningham through the final stage to take his maiden FSC victory. Smith was delighted to put the nightmare of the previous event behind and get his championship challenge back on course. John Pritchard and Chris Williams claimed second on the event in the Co.Part Finder back Fiesta ST. Pritchard has been the model of consistency since his return to competition, finishing on the podium in every FSC event so far this year. A late check in for Richard Parry-Jones at final time control promoted championship leader Jonny Cunningham to third to claim the final place on the FSC podium and promote Alex Laffey to fourth on his debut with new co-driver Peter Martin. Dan O’Brien and Will Rogers were a comfortable sixth in the Willow Plant Hire back ST after Jamie Brown and Craig Burgess finally succumbed to the engine mount problems their service crew had worked to rectify at service.

The Kick Energy Fiesta SportChallenge crew’s head into Scotland next for round four of the 2010 championship with a change of surface to tarmac for the Jim Clark Challenge Rally. Cunningham and Millener still lead the way six points ahead of Pritchard and Williams with Parry-Jones and Price in third. Damien Smith and Frazer Hutchinson will be out to carry on the momentum they gained in Carlisle and further close the gap to the championship leaders.

Fiesta SportChallenge Winner Damien Smith said:
“We are absolutely ecstatic to win the Fiesta SportChallenge event after the gearbox problems in North Wales. We can’t wait to get back out there on the Jim Clark in five weeks time. I’d like to thank the Sykespeed Skipton Ford Rally Team for looking after me and the car all weekend.”

Highs and High Drama Mark Donnelly on Pirelli International Rally!

Posted: April 28, 2010 12:05 PM

For Mark Donnelly, last weekend’s Pirelli International Rally fell on his 19th birthday, and once again the young Omagh driver showed tremendous speed for his youthful age on the fast, dusty forest roads in the Cumbrian Kielder forest complex. Having won the opening round of the Citroen Racing Trophy (CRT) UK and second round of the CRT Ireland, Mark and co-driver Paddy Robinson entered the weekend’s event in confident mood, but misfortune was to strike even before they got to the first of Friday evenings special stages.
“On the road section out to the first stage, suddenly there was water coming inside the car and leaking out of the engine bay, so we pulled over straight away. A water hose had come off, and it was very difficult to get at to put it back on. We arrived at the first stage 13 minutes late, picking up a two minute penalty, but we were lucky, another two minutes later and we would have been out of the rally!”

To add to the woes on the Friday night stages in forests, they had to cruise through the first test, with the car low on water and were now running second last car on the road. On stage 2, the Fiesta starting in front of them punctured and the C2’s progress was stymied in the choking dust, costing Mark a further minute. On the third and final night stage, the unusually named Black Shed 1, the car now had a full quantity of water and a clean run netted them fastest CRT time, a good end to a difficult first night for the team. At this stage Mark found himself 3 minutes 20 seconds behind C2 leader Richard Sykes, a position that seemed insurmountable.

The second day brought the meat of the event however, with eight forestry stages in the fast, heavily cambered Kielder tracks, the infamous ditches waiting to catch the unwary, but Mark kept the C2 between the ditches all day, and once again showed his pace.
“I woke up on Saturday and I felt good about the stages ahead. I decided to see what I could get out of this rally, and really we went for a big push all day. It was paying off as by the start of the last stage we were up to second Citroen just over a minute behind Robert Barrable.”
Indeed having been over three minutes down after their previous evening’s episodes, Mark had made up significant time, despite severe tyre wear at times on the stages, but there was one last drama in store.

“Going into the last stage, we had second hand tyres on the front as we had gone through our allocated tyres, and at that stage we knew we weren’t going to catch Robert, so we were happy to ease it through. Unfortunately though we got a mile into the stage, and we felt we had a puncture. We had no option but to stop and change, so it dropped us almost 4 minutes.”
Nevertheless Mark and Paddy still claimed 17th overall, 5th in Group R, 4th Citroen C2 R2 Max home, netting them 2000€ from Citroen Racing.

The C2 is now being re-prepared by Robbie McGurk of Motor Sport Service for this weekend’s Killarney International, the third round of the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland series, a tight time schedule for the car and for student Mark.

“I have a wee exam on Thursday morning, so I’ll be straight down the road then to Killarney to start my recce. It’s not ideal but hopefully we can get our notes done correctly and I’m looking forward to the stages in Killarney, as they are usually very good flowing roads.”

Mark has set some fast times before in Killarney in his ST Fiesta, but this year he has significant opposition in the Citroen Racing Trophy and will be aiming to improve on his current second position in the series this weekend. For anyone wishing to keep track of this young up and coming rally driver’s progress, check out the new website, www.markdonnellyrallying.com

Citroën Racing Trophy - Barrable emerges victorious from the Pirelli Rally dust

Posted: April 28, 2010 12:03 PM

Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly held their nerve on the Pirelli International Rally this weekend to take victory on the second round of the Citroën Racing Trophy and with it move to the top of the one-make championship table.

Their victory was by no means a foregone conclusion though, as the conditions on the opening Friday evening stages were very difficult. It was not volcanic dust that hung heavy between the Kershope trees, but dust from passing rally cars after a long dry period in the forests. Visibility was extremely poor but Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor obviously had their pacenotes spot on, emerging from the first stage with an eleven second lead.

Australian Molly Taylor had reigning Citroën champion Phil Clarke to guide her through the gloom and they stopped the clocks next, ahead of Luke Pinder and Peter Scott who were about to run into trouble on stage two.

Their subsequent electrical problem was sufficient to drop them well down the time sheets for the remainder of the event, but championship leaders Mark Donnelly and Paddy Robinson’s problems were concentrated at each end of the rally, starting even before the first stage.

They had a water pipe come loose on the road section from the start in Carlisle, forcing them to incur time penalties when they stopped to fix the problem at the roadside.  The engine temperature continue to give rise for concern, dropping them time on the first two tests, until by Friday’s final stage the cooling system was repaired, allowing them to post their first fastest stage time.

Sykes and Taylor had held position on stage two, but a fastest time from Barrable allowed him to edge closer and when Taylor beached her car on a bank in the dreadful visibility of stage three, the Irishman was within seven seconds of leader Sykes.

Donnelly was also on a charge, setting the first of eight fastest times, while elsewhere Joseph McGonigle and Nialll Burns were having a less than perfect event, having made their own pacenotes on gravel for the first time and running last Citroën in the worst of the dust.

Saturday morning saw another fine day in the more open Kielder stages, with a slight breeze to help clear the way. Donnelly continued his fight-back, while overnight leaders Sykes and Taylor were the first to exit the fray. The rear end of the car stepped out on loose gravel dragging it into the ditch and ultimately rolling out of contention. Both crew members were unhurt, but Sykes adds another zero score to the table with two thirds of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship season gone.

Aside from clipping a rock on Saturday’s opening stage, Barrable and Connelly had no problems and could now cruise to the end, managing a gap to Pinder and Scott of just over a minute.

Meanwhile Donnelly had plans to elevate himself from fourth and had leap-frogged both McGonigle and the still struggling Pinder to lie second with two stages remaining. A final stage puncture robbed the crew of any hope of maintaining the championship lead though, losing five minutes and three places in twelve miles.

Taylor set some excellent stage times throughout the rally, taking half a dozen second fastest times, finishing with a flourish on the final stage by beating Pinder by twenty seconds.  Sadly, having used Super Rally to re-start on Saturday meant all the hard work was negated by the accompanying ten minute penalty, without which she could have finished ahead of the eventual winners. Another crew who, without problems, could easily have won the event were Donnelly and Robinson who eventually finished fourth.

McGonigle and Burns were surprised but pleased to finish third, admitting that they had made some silly mistakes towards the end of the event. Pinder and Scott limped to the finish in second, the starter motor eventually giving up the ghost to add to their misfire and electrical cut-outs.

Ifs and buts aside, the worthy winners Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly took the top step of the podium at the early evening Carlisle Racecourse finish, the maximum points haul moving the three points clear of Donnelly/Robinson at the head of the leaderboard.

The next event, the Jim Clark International Rally takes the crews to asphalt, although several drivers are planning to contest the next round of the Irish Citroën Racing Trophy, the Killarney Rally next weekend.

You can watch coverage of the Citroën Racing Trophy UK as well as a preview of the next round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship on Sky Sports in the week preceding the event (28th & 29th May)
 
Citroën Racing Trophy Pirelli International Rally final results
Pos Driver Co-driver Nat Total Prize
1 Robert Barrable Damien Connolly IRL/IRL 1:40:15.6 €4,000
2 Luke Pinder Peter Scott GB/GB 1:41:21.2 €3,000
3 Joe McGonigle Niall Burns IRL/IRL 1:42:24.3 €2,500
4 Mark Donnelly Paddy Robinson GB/IRL 1:44:53.1 €2,000
5 Molly Taylor Phil Clarke AUS/GB 1:48:41.5 €1,000
Richard Sykes Simon Taylor GB/GB DNF
 

JRM secures first British Rally Championship victory

Posted: April 28, 2010 11:53 AM

Driving the JRM Evolution X to victory in this weekend’s Pirelli International Rally, Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Chris Patterson provided JRM with its very first British Rally Championship win, a result the team has been aiming to achieve.

JRM team mates Daniel Sigurdarson and his sister and co-driver Asta Siguradardottir also had a successful event, bringing their Evo X home fourth overall and second in the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the one-make series for Group N Lancers which is supported by JRM.

Based at Carlisle Racecourse, the Pirelli International Rally – round two of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship - featured 100 competitive miles in Kielder Forest, with three stages held in the dark on Friday evening and a further nine between 7.00am and 7.00 pm on Saturday. Adding to the challenge of the infamous Northumberland forest was the result of the recent dry spell, which meant that the dust generated by cars traversing the loose gravel roads was to cause visibility problems for the drivers.

Last year’s winner of this event and current British Rally Champion Keith Cronin was the first to leave the start line, a factor that was to be a big advantage in the conditions, as following cars would have to contend with the dust hanging in the air. The first of Friday evening’s stages saw Evans record the second fastest time, just 3.7 adrift of Cronin. But it was on SS2 that conditions worsened, Evans reporting that the visibility was so poor he had to stop on the straights.

As cars returned to Carlisle for the overnight halt, Evans found he was 24 seconds down on the leader, with Craig Breen in a Fiesta S2000 a further 18 seconds behind in third.

Without the need to use lights and with a breeze helping clear the dust clouds, conditions improved for Saturday’s stages. Throughout the day Cronin, Evans and Breen posted a series of times that were only separated by a few seconds, which meant that the top three positions remained unchanged.

With stage nine cancelled because of local PR problems, time sheets showed that with the final loop of three stages to go, there was only 25 seconds between the leading trio. With his car running perfectly, Evans knew he could push for the lead, but he was well aware that one mistake in Kielder forest could mean anything from an off to a puncture.

As he lined up to start the last stage there was still 17 seconds between him and the leader, with Breen now closed to just four seconds behind. But, with the finish almost in his sights, Cronin collected a puncture, the disintegrating rubber damaging his Subaru’s wiring loom and consequently stopping his car just 200 yards from the flying finish.

Breen also suffered a puncture in the final stage and, although making it to the finish, he lost nearly three minutes. The misfortunes of the others around him meant that Evans exited the 12th and final stage with a lead of two minutes 33 seconds, the outcome providing the Welshman with his first British Championship victory since 1998 and JRM its first outright BRC win - a result that had previously eluded the team.

Sigurdarson was also enjoying a trouble-free event and, although being slowed by the dust and catching other cars that were experiencing problems, he was delighted to end the event fourth overall, his best British Rally Championship result to date. Therefore, with its cars finishing in first and fourth places, JRM scored maximum points in the British Team’s Championship and now lies joint-first in the standings.

In the Driver’s Championship, the weekend’s results see Sigurdarson move up to second and Evans in joint-fifth place.

Team Quotes

Gwyndaf Evans
“Winning a round of the British Rally Championship has never been easy and therefore I’m really pleased to have done it this weekend, not just for me but for the whole team. I know it means a lot to them as they have worked very hard to develop the Evo X to where it is now. It ran perfectly throughout the event so we have achieved what we set out to. Keith (Cronin) drove well again and proved he is a great competitor, but as we all know, bad luck can strike at any time in this sport.”

John Barnes – JRM Operations Manager
“I am both delighted and relieved. We have been looking for this win for some time and it’s great to finally get it under our belts. With just one stage to go I didn't think we were going to do it, but in rallying it’s not over until it’s over and we couldn't believe it when we heard Gwyndaf had come out on top. With the luck we’ve been having recently it’s usually the other way round! This result is a real shot in the arm for the team and proves that the car can be both competitive and reliable.”

Fiesta SportTrophy (FST) UK - EVANS tames Killer Kielder

Posted: April 28, 2010 11:39 AM

Championship leader Elfyn Evans made it three wins from three events in the 2010 Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy (FST) UK championship on the Pirelli International Rally, 23-24 April 2010. The Cumbrian event proved to be a race of attrition as the challenging stages claimed the scalp of many competitors across the field.

The event started with three stages in Kershope forest on the evening of Friday 23 April. The dry/still conditions and fading light made the opening stages extra treacherous as the lingering dust from the leading cars reduced the crew's visibility to just a few feet. 21-year-old Welshman Evans and co-driver Andrew Edwards opened their account with the fastest FST time through stage one. Next up was 22-year-old John Boyd and co-driver Craig Wallace. The Scottish pair posted the second fastest time just over six seconds behind Evans and showed a significantly improved pace on the opening stage of the third round of the championship. Third on stage one was series returnee Matthew Cathcart in his Fiesta R2. Cathcart had been forced to miss Round 2 of the championship and was keen to get his championship charge back on track with new co-driver Calvin Cooledge alongside. Just six seconds covered third to sixth positions in the FST event, Tom Watson and new co-driver Arwel Jenkins taking fourth just ahead of John MacCrone, whose Fiesta R2 had only just been repaired following an accident on an event the previous week. Peter Taylor and Andy Richardson was sixth in their Fiesta R2 just three tenths of a second behind the similar machine of MacCrone.

The lingering dust was such an issue on SS1 that the crews were given extended intervals at the start of SS2, with two minutes between each of them. Evans was once again the man to beat on SS2, taking his run to eleven consecutive FSTUK stage victories. John Boyd continued to show improved pace with a time just 14seconds behind the Welshman over the twelve-mile stage. 20-year-old Scotsman and co-driver Stuart Loudon were next up a further six seconds behind Boyd and climb to third in the FST standings. Matthew Cathcart was next through the stage with the fourth fastest time in the Paul Benn Motorsport prepared Fiesta R2 closely followed by 18-year-old Peter Taylor, from Jedburgh, and Andy Richardson, who had produced their own pacenotes for the first time on this event. Tom Watson was the first FST casualty of the FST crews, after sliding off the road in the dust and was unable to get going again. Watson would re-start the second day thanks to the super-rally regulations.

Evans' impressive unbroken run of FST stage victories came to an end on SS3, where he was forced to settle for third. Ahead of him were two flying Scotsmen, John MacCrone and John Boyd. MacCrone had shown some serious pace on his series debut at the Bulldog International Rally and scored his debut stage victory on the Pirelli International Rally. Despite finishing second in North Wales, Boyd hadn't been happy with his own performance and was looking for some improvement this time round. That improvement was evident for all to see at the Carlisle Racecourse Rally HQ, as he was much closer to the outright pace. Behind Evans in fourth was Cathcart with Taylor fifth himself just over ten seconds behind the FST leader.

Making a guest appearance in the M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta R2 was former double JWRC Champion Per Gunnar Andersson and co-driver Anders Fredriksson. The 30-year-old Swede returned to the Racecourse service area in lead of the R2 class by 37seconds, on his debut in the car and held ninth overall on the event. Evans led the FST regulars at the end of day one, with Boyd second, 20 seconds behind. MacCrone held third a further 20seconds behind with Cathcart fourth and youngster Peter Taylor fifth. The crews had all reported the conditions to be extremely treacherous in the first loop of stages with visibility down to a few feet in places. Even with the extended two-minute gaps some of the crews had been forced to stop and wait for the dust to settle before continuing, costing them valuable time.

Bright sunlight and dry conditions graced the crews as they left Rally HQ The morning would see the crews repeat the first three stages before heading to Kielder for five stages around the famous Cumbrian Forest. After sliding off the road on SS2 Tom Watson re-joined the action and with three quarters of the event still remaining had a good chance of picking up good championship points as well as some prize money should any of the front runners fall by the wayside. Evans and Edwards quickly set about making sure that MacCrone wouldn't enjoy a similar run of stage victories as they had done and set the fastest FST time improving on their previous evening's effort by some 30seconds. Disaster struck for Boyd and Wallace on SS4, a rear stub pin failure whilst flat out in fifth gear pitched them into a roll and destroyed their Fiesta ST. The pair emerged unscathed from the incident but were clearly gutted having shown good pace in the early stages of the event. Boyd's retirement promoted MacCrone and Loudon to second in their Rally Team Scotland prepared R2, and they posted the third fastest time on SS4. Between the Welshman and the Scotsman was an Irishman, Matthew Cathcart and Calvin Cooledge making a good start to day two with the second fastest FST time for SS4. Fourth was Taylor, whose confidence was continuing to build on his first event using his own pacenotes, just three tenths of a second ahead of the re-starting Tom Watson.

Evans really put the hammer down on SS5, Glen Dhu 2, improving by over a minute on his time from the previous evening in his Gwyndaf Evans Motors prepared Fiesta ST. but also stretching his FST lead by 26 seconds, to one-minute 20seconds ahead of John MacCrone who was second on the stage. Cathcart and Cooledge dropped out of third position on the event on SS5 after a impact with a rock dragged out by a fellow competitor put a hole in the sump and starved the engine of oil. That promoted Taylor and Richardson onto the podium and Tom Watson into fourth, making his restart on day two all the more worthwhile.

Evans was once again quickest on the final stage in Kershope forest, Black Shed 2, posting a time ten seconds ahead of Peter Taylor in his Border Caravans backed Fiesta R2. Watson third fastest on the stage in his Nicky Grist Motorsport backed Fiesta ST a further seven seconds behind Taylor. It was John MacCrone who suffered misfortune on SS6, two punctures towards the end of the stage costing him over 30seconds.

MacCrone wasn't the only victim in SS6, guest driver PG Andersson retired from the event after crashing heavily, caught out on his first visit to the Kielder forest complex.

As the four remaining FSTUK crews returned to service after the mornings stages Evans held the lead by just over two minutes from John MacCrone with Peter Taylor third and the recovering Tom Watson fourth. Despite the dust still lingering visibility was significantly better than the previous evening and the remaining crews were happy with their morning's efforts despite one or two problems.

The afternoon's stages all took place around Europe's largest man made forest, the famous Kielder forest. Evans was again fastest FST runner through the Roughside stage posting a time 45seconds ahead of second placed Peter Taylor. MacCrone suffered his third puncture of the event dropping more time to leader Evans, who was now almost five minutes ahead. Tom Watson once again suffered misfortune, this time a roll causing his second retirement in as many FST events, a bitter disappointment for Watson who had worked hard to get to the event despite problems.

That left just three FST runners in the Pirelli International Rally, with Evans holding a comfortable lead over MacCrone who in turn had a comfortable lead over Taylor in third. However just a few miles into SS8, John MacCrone suffered his second roll in as many weeks forcing him out of the event and causing significant damage to the car leaving Rally Team Scotland with more work to do to repair the Fiesta R2. MacCrone's off left Evans and Taylor to uphold FST honours.

With just three stages remaining both Evans and Taylor knew all they had to do was keep the car on the road to each make significant gains in their championship challenges. With that in mind both Evans and Taylor drove steadily through stages ten, eleven and twelve to make it to the finish of the event with no dramas. Evans was happy to maintain his 100% record in the 2010 Fiesta SportTrophy UK Championship and extend his championship lead to 27 points over John Boyd. Taylor was equally happy having completed the event without any of the problems that have dogged him in previous rounds and having gained invaluable experience in making his own pacenotes. Taylor leaps from sixth to third in the championship standings, just a single point behind John Boyd.

The 2010 Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy championship heads north of the border into Scotland next for round four, the Jim Clark International Rally that takes place on 28-29 May. Evans will be hoping to further extend his championship lead whilst local's John Boyd and John MacCrone will be hoping to build on their strong showings prior to retiring on this event.

Fiesta SportTrophy Winner Elfyn Evans said:
"The lingering dust made the stages on Friday evening very tricky and we were happy just to get through those. After that it was a case of keeping out of trouble and making it to the finish. It's shame that Boyd dropped out early on, as it had been shaping up to be a good fight." Callum Craw

BHRC report, round two: Pirelli Historic Rally

Posted: April 28, 2010 11:38 AM

It was a day of drama and surprises and survival in Kielder Forest on Saturday (26 April) for the second round of the Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic rally Championship, the Pirelli Historic Rally.
Will Onions and Dave Williams took their maiden victory in category three, after Bulldog Rally winner Nick Elliott rolled his Escort on the third stage. In category two Peter Smith and Russ Langthorne (Porsche 911) were the surprise winners after the top three all went off on the final stage in Bewshaugh. Meanwhile, Graham Waite and Gill Cotton (Volvo Amazon) regained the lead in category one on the last stage, after Jonathan Gale’s Sunbeam Tiger seemed set for victory.

  Category 1
Gale and James Whitaker were hoping for a repeat of their Bulldog victory and made a late tyre change before embarking on the first loop of two stages. They lost out to Waite/ Cotton through the 11.6-mile Roughside stage, but turned the deficit into a 9.2s advantage by the time they arrived back at Carlisle racecourse for service. “We went for harder tyres and they were almost shredded. It was a good choice though and I drove conservatively. It was narrow, fast and easy to get dragged into the ditches,” said Gale. Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) was the first casualty. “It was a square right and I got into a tank slapper, nearly going off the edge and rolling. Then I caught a tree stump and bent a TCA and got a rear puncture which left it crabbing left through the second stage,” said Dessie. Waite had been delayed in Nutt’s dust and was still a comfortable second, from Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill (Sunbeam Imp Sport). Nutt arrived at service in fifth behind Philip and Barbara Smith’s Porsche, having lost over five minutes. Nick Pinkett/Jonathan Lodge (Saab 96 V4) also had an off in stage one. “We were 10 miles in and had fuel a problem. I reached down for the second fuel pump switch and went off,” said Pinkett. He kept going but Paul Mankin and Desmond Bell had gone out with a rod through their Lotus Cortina’s block and Mike Barratt/Joanne Watson joined them after they went into a ditch when the Sunbeam Stiletto jumped out of gear.
Gale had managed to build his lead to 14.9s over the next two stages, but his struggle for grip proved decisive. “We hit the logs at the flying finish on stage three and I drove as hard as I could on the last one. I was on the limit and couldn’t do any more,” he explained. But it was still not enough as Waite sailed through the final Bewshaugh stage to claim victory by 11.8s.
“I was nearly dragged into a ditch on the third stage too as I was occasionally a bit too fast into some of the corners,” said the victorious Waite. Smith was 'driving to survive' in third and took class B5, while Nutt managed to claw back to fourth overall after Taylor had a puncture on the last stage.
“There was nothing I could do really, but push on in case anyone had a problem,” said Nutt. “I went into a ditch on stage three and then on the last we had a puncture, stopped to change it and then my navigator had to chase the wheel as it rolled away,” Taylor added. Pinkett’s Saab completed the finishers.

  Category 2
Having missed out on their anticipated duel on the Bulldog Rally due to an early retirement, David Stokes and Guy Weaver (Escort Mk1) gained the upperhand on rivals Jeremy Easson and Alun Cook from the start. After the opener in Roughside Stokes had pulled out a 5.9s lead, only to be matched by Easson on the next two runs. It was up to seven seconds on the penultimate stage before Kielder’s reputation came to the fore in a big way. The 12.2 miles Bewshaugh stage turned the leader board upside down by not only claiming Stokes and Easson in ditches, but Tim Mason/Graham Wild (Porsche 911) too. Mason had survived an earlier scare too when he came across a deer on stage.
“It didn’t seem to know where it was going either,” he said.
With the top three all out, it was a surprise victory for Smith/Langthorne Porsche 911.
“That’s my first win since I came back into rallying and we didn’t have a problem all day,” he said. Andrew Siddall and Colin Thompson were just as surprised to find themselves in third and winners of class C3. “I think I was probably about 5mph too slow into every corner and just trying to stay on. But we had a scare too up a firebreak on the last stage,” said Siddall. Chris Brown/Liz Jordan had a trouble free run in their Escort Mk1, delighted with third overall and class C5 honours. Vince Bristow and Tim Sayer (Escort Mk1) dominated class C2;
“We had problems and vibration on the last stage though,” said Bristow. Nigel Godden/Ian Orford (Escort Mk1) managed to have three offs on the second stage but still held onto second in class, with Gary Orton/Mike Morgan third after an early roll.
Drew Wylie and Neil Ewing collected second in C3 once the driver had woken up, but they had a determined James Slaughter/Phil Peak (Escort Mk1) chasing them at the finish after a first stage ditch excursion. Chris Nixon and Baz Green were second in C5 in their Escort Mk1.  

Category 3
Fresh from their Bulldog Rally victory Nick Elliott and Dave Price were determined to make the finish in Carlisle, after being stranded in the forest for six hours after retiring on last year's events.
It all started s well with Elliott’s Escort Mk2 3.4s up on Julian Reynolds/Ian Oakey at service, after the first two stages.
“I didn’t expect to be at the front, as I had kept it fairly straight as it was so slippery,” said Elliott. “I lost a couple of seconds on stage two when I stalled under braking,” Reynolds replied.
Although Onions and Williams were third, they had clutch problems, while youngsters Ryan Barrett/Kevin Bowcott and Connor Corkill/Rob Fagg were also in contention. Barrett changed a gearbox in service after it kept jumping out and Corkill ripped his exhaust off on logs on the opening run. But Darren Moon and Chris Parsons didn’t even make service, after their Escort had terminal clutch problems after only one stage.
Elliott’s rally ended dramatically on the first stage after service, when he clipped a log pile and rolled. Reynolds became the new leader, but with two stages remaining Onions shot ahead to secure his maiden victory.
“No dramas at all,” concluded Onions. “I was a bit annoyed not to win but second is Ok,” added Reynolds.
Both Barrett and Corkill became victims of the last stage too. Corkill retired with gearbox problems and Barrett dropped to 12th with a puncture.  Class D3 winners Richard Lane and Frank Richer finally secured third in category three in their Escort MK2.
“It was some skill and a lot of luck,” said Lane.
Gareth Lloyd and Ryland James were disappointed to be pipped by Lane, after starting the stage almost five seconds ahead.
“We just lost time in the dust,” said Lloyd. Phil Squires/Kevin Owens and Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks (Escort Mk2) completed the top six, while in the classes Pat Anderson/Rob Brook (Talbot Sunbeam) went unopposed in D2, while Wayne Bonser/Richard Aston and Baz Jordan/Jonathan Gratton-Smith (Escort Mk2s) were both well adrift of Lane in taking second and third in D3.
Rob Smith/Shaun O’Gorman recovered from a broken wheel on the first stage, after clipping a rock, to take their Vauxhall Chevette to victory in D4, with Steve Magson/Geoff Atkinson (Opel Ascona) struggling to the end after cutting out on the final stages.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK - Jonny Greer makes it two out of two.

Posted: April 28, 2010 11:12 AM

Jonny Greer and co-driver Dai Roberts recorded their second Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge win of the season on this weekend’s Pirelli International Rally, round two of the official series for Group N Lancers and the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship. With their performance also seeing them finish in second place overall, they now lead both the Evolution Challenge and the British Championship.

Based at Carlisle Racecourse, at which the start, finish and service area were located, the competitive element of the rally took place entirely within Kielder Forest. Starting on Friday evening, the route saw three stages ran in the dark with a further nine during the course of Saturday, the total of which provided 100 miles of dry and dusty gravel roads.

For two teams, the dramas began even before the rally started, East African crew Peter Horsey and Moses Matovu unable to get to the event due to last week’s closure of European airspace. A similar fate almost befell Icelandic crew Daniel Sigurdarson and his sister and co-driver Asta Sigurdardottir, who managed to jump onto a plane as soon as the airspace opened.

Once again, the fastest Evolution Challenge crew in the early stages were Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy. Even with their intercom playing up in SS1, a rear puncture in SS2 and hearing a strange noise coming from the front of their car in SS3, they pulled out a lead of 26-seconds in the Evo Challenge by the time cars returned to Carlisle for the overnight halt.

And, as if night stages in Kielder Forest were not enough to deal with, competitors reported that they were having to slow down on the straight because of dust from previous cars that was hanging in the windless air. In second place and having been affected by the poor visibility, Sigurdarson/Sigurdardottir we heard to say they were concerned that they had brought the volcanic ash clouds with them!

Third place were Greer/Roberts, who lost fifth gear six miles before the end of SS3 and were worried that things would get worse. However, they were able to make it back to the service park where the gearbox was changing in readiness for the following day.

Owen Murphy/James O’Brien were pleased to be in fourth place, but frustrated that their car’s engine was down on power, a mapping issue causing them to lose time. Their situation was compounded by an unusually low seeding that meant they were catching the cars ahead of them and having to slow down because of the dust.

However, things were even worse for David Bogie/Kevin Rae. With their car back to 100% following its loss of power on round one, all was going well until they hit a rock on stage two, which pushed the sump guard into the radiator. A few miles later the 2008 Evolution Challenge Champion saw steam coming from the front of his car and, realising what had happened, nursed it to the end of the stage. But with the head gasket now blown, the Scot’s rally was over.

During the first loop of stages on Saturday morning, Fisher/Kennedy extended their lead. But on SS7, history from round one repeated itself when a problem with the car’s transmission brought their rally to an abrupt halt. Another frustrating end to an excellent drive.

Slowed when they caught other competitors who were having problems, Sigurdarson/Sigurdardottir were being reeled in by Greer/Roberts, who’s car now had its full complement of gears and, when Fisher/Kennedy retired, it was Greer/Roberts that emerged from stage seven in the lead.

As cars entered the final service halt of the day, Murphy/O’Brien reported that their engine had started to lose even more power, added to which, it was making some strange noises. Not ones to give up easily they decided to continue and, as it turned out, they were very pleased they did, making it back to Carlisle to claim a well-deserved third in the Evolution Challenge and a fifth place overall.

With the leaders now over half-a-minute ahead of the Icelandic siblings before the final trio of stages, it was only a problem that would see the positions change. But a faultless drive over the final loop meant that Greer/Roberts were to cross the line one-minute 15 seconds ahead of Sigurdarson/Sigurdadottir, their strategy of keeping out of trouble paying off.

And, as others around them fell foul of punctures or problems, they also finished in an impressive second place overall, a result which means they not only top the Evolution Challenge standings, but the British Rally Championship as well.

“This is a great result for us”, said Greer. “For a moment I was worried if we would make it on Friday evening when we the gearbox problem, but other than that the car ran perfectly. With the surface really punishing the tyres and others having problems in the closing stages, all we had to do was keep away from punctures and maintain a good pace, so things couldn't have worked out better for us.”

The third round of both the Evolution Challenge and the British Championship sees the surface change to asphalt, when the crews tackle the lanes of Berwickshire and the Jim Clark Rally, which takes place on 29th & 30th May.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

For the first time this season the winner of the Evolution Challenge in the UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions. Added to this, the winning driver in the UK will be a guaranteed nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK - Round 2 results
1 Jonny Greer (Carryduff)/Dai Roberts (Carmarthen) 1:30:31.2
2 Daniel Sigurdarson (Iceland)/Asta Sigurdardottir (Iceland) 1:31:46.1
3 Owen Murphy (Cork)/James O’Brien (Cork) 1:33:33.4
 
Retirements
SS2 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Radiator
SS7 Alastair Fisher (Trillick)/Rory Kennedy (Letterkenny) Transmission

Challenging weekend for Cunningham and Millener

Posted: April 27, 2010 2:01 PM

The weekend saw challenging conditions for Jonathan Cunningham (26) from County Galway but now living in Workington and navigator Richard Millener (26) from Workington, UK. Cunningham who currently leads the UK Fiesta SportChallenge (FSC) series run by M-Sport undertook two high class rally events in two days, taking in the Pirelli Rally in Carlisle on Saturday followed by the Monaghan Stages rally in Ireland on Sunday. After high hopes for two top podium positions, it was just not to be as the crew settled for 3rd in the FSC on the Pirelli rally after troubles hit the crew and then Cunningham failed to finish the Irish event after a gearbox failure put an end to his hectic weekend.

The first event of the weekend, the Pirelli Challenge rally was the third round of the Fiesta one make rally series as well as the second round of the British Rally Championship Challenge series. After winning the first two rounds of the FSC the Cumbrian duo were really hoping for a third win in a row. The stages were located in the famous “Killer Kielder” forest complex where the treacherous high speed corners and famous large ditches either side of the stages often cause carnage with the competing crews! As Cunningham and Millener started stage one they were instantly in trouble when the gear change cables came loose during the stage which left the pairing stuck in third gear. Due to the length and the high average speed of the stage they decided to stop to fix the problem, dropping over a minute and a half to their main rivals, a bitter blow on only the first stage of the event. With the problem now fixed the second stage of the event saw the crew back up to speed setting fourth fastest stage time and looking to claw back as much of the deficit as possible over the remainder of the day.

After a short service halt at Carlisle racecourse and fitting two brand new Pirelli tyres to give the crew all the advantages possible they headed out for the final three stages. The first of the afternoon loop saw the pairing set third overall fastest time and fastest Fiesta time, despite a big moment during the stage where a high speed right hand bend over a blind crest saw the Fiesta ST drift into a famous Kielder ditch and strike a pile of logs which luckily bounced them back onto the road. After getting to the end of the stage both Cunningham and Millener were amazed they got away with the scare, but at the same time were happy they were making good in roads on the time they lost in the morning and finishing second in the Fiesta Challenge was still a real possibility.

Before starting the penultimate stage Cunningham checked over the car for damage after the incident with the log pile but the car seemed to be undamaged, however disaster was again soon to strike again. With a rush to make the time control for the next stage the bonnet pins were left undone and on only the first corner the bonnet flipped up and smashed the Fiesta ST windscreen forcing the pairing to stop in stage for the second time during the event. Having lost concentration and more time they dropped more valuable time to all the FSC crews and fell to fifth FSC crew overall.

With only one stage remaining the aim was now purely to have a clean run and get a finish along with some all important championship points. However, to the crews surprise a third quickest stage time and again fastest FST time would see the pairing leapfrog up the results to third FSC overall and eighth overall in the BRC Challenge, a great positive result after the problems suffered during the day. The result also sees both Cunningham and Millener retain the lead of the FSC drivers and co-drivers series.

As soon as the event had finished Cunningham jetted home to Ireland to compete in the Monaghan Stages Junior Rally where he would continue his Dunlop Junior Championship campaign. Cunningham was joined by his brother for the event as navigator and the pairing set third fastest time on stage one followed by fourth fastest on Stage two, the times were made even more impressive because Cunningham was unable to compete on the event recce as it was the same day as the Pirelli Rally. Stage three saw the Honda Civic being driven to the limit and a great stage time was to follow but on a long straight whilst trying to select fourth gear the gearbox cried enough causing instant retirement for the talented Irishman.

It was a bitter blow after the problems faced on Saturday; however Cunningham knows he has to look at the positives from the two events - without the problems at the Pirelli rally he would have been fighting for a third FSC win and on the Sunday his times would have been good enough to get him on the podium.

Cunningham and Millener will next be in action in four weeks time on the Jim Clark Challenge Rally where the FSC and BRC Challenge series switch to asphalt for the famous event based in the Borders region of the UK.

Driver Jonathan Cunningham said:
“It was an awesome experience competing on two events in two days but a real shame the results didn’t quite go to plan. The Pirelli was an incredible event as the stages are so fast and technical but two small annoying problems ruined our chances of winning, but fair play to Damien [Smith] he drove really well and deserved the win. The event in Monaghan was very disappointing as I felt my times were improving on every stage, but I have to stay positive and now I am looking to the next event, the Jim Clark and hope to get back to winning ways at this event.”

UK Navigator Richard Millener said:
“It was a shame that we could not make it three wins in a row but luck was just not with us this weekend! We are happy with our pace when we had a clean run through the stages. We still have a lot of work to do though to catch Julian [Wilkes] in the BRC Challenge standings but we hope the switch to asphalt for the next event will be better for us as it is Jonny’s preferred surface, but we shall find out at the end of May!”

Transmission Trouble stops Alastair Fisher’s Pirelli International Charge

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:54 PM

The Pirelli International Rally, based in Carlisle, round two of the 2010 British Rally Championship, presented a tough challenge for the crews, with three night stages in the famous Kielder Forest complex on the Friday night, and a further nine stages before the event finished on Saturday afternoon. Sadly for young Alastair Fisher and his co-driver the experienced Rory Kennedy, their Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9 only took them to the start line of stage 7, before mechanical failure forced their retirement. However before this the MSA Rally Elite member was once again up near the front of Britain’s premier rally series.

The rally started well for Alastair with third fastest time on the first Newcastleton stage, though a niggling problem with the intercom caused a few concerns on the second stage.
“There was quite a lot of dust on the stages, and the intercom was cutting in and out at times, so it was difficult to hear Rory, but we were still second fastest. On the next stage however we were travelling along a straight and we thought a back wheel had come off! What actually happened was that a tyre had just blown out, and we dropped 30 seconds putting us 5th overnight. That puncture in a way took us out of the battle with Craig Breen.”
Indeed Alastair ended the leg eight seconds behind Dave Weston Jnr’s Subaru, but he started day two on a real charge.

“On the first loop of Saturday morning we were second and third fastest on the stages, and we took 36 seconds from Dave Weston on those tests, which moved us up to fourth. I was very happy with the car, the set up felt perfect, and I feel we have made a real step up from last year.”
By stage 6 Alastair was 27.6 seconds behind third placed Craig Breen, and 25 seconds ahead of Dave Weston Jnr, but there was to be an unpleasant surprise in store as he rolled up towards the start line of stage 7-Roughside.
“As we edged forward to the start line of stage 7, the car just locked solid, and we couldn’t move. We eventually had to get towed off the start line with a Land Rover, and it freed up for a moment only to lock solid again. At the moment the car is being checked and we think the problem could be in the front transmission.”

It was the second unfortunate retirement for Alastair in the British Rally Championship this season, with the next round on tarmac in May on the Jim Clark International in Scotland.
“It’s not ideal to have no points on the board after two rounds, but there are others who have dropped scores. There is still a possible ninety points to be scored from four remaining rounds with three of those rounds on tarmac hopefully we can resurrect our BRC season. It would be nice to go to the Jim Clark and try and get a podium to boost the confidence again. We seem to be having better luck on the Irish Tarmac Championship this year! ”

The third round of the Irish Tarmac Championship is this weekend on the Killarney International.
“We are lying second overall in the championship and leading Group N, so hopefully we can maintain this strong position.”
After his superb Circuit of Ireland drive it will be interesting to see how the team fare out in Killarney

Jonny Greer Moves into British Rally Championship Lead!

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:43 PM

For Carryduff’s Jonny Greer, after two rounds of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) he’s in a dream position, as the leader of Britain’s premier rally series.
“I wasn’t really expecting to be in this position, but it’s a nice position to be in for sure” quipped the young engineer, who works in the family David Greer Motorsport business, preparing top class rally machines.

After a fifth place on round one, the Bulldog Rally, Jonny and Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts eventual superb second overall finish on the weekend’s Pirelli International Rally, gives them a promising six point advantage in the BRC. Coupled to this the result also clinched Jonny his second victory on the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, and he also leads this one make series. Like many on the tough Kielder forest stages of the Pirelli International he battled through a few problems, but the DGM run Lancer Evo 9 survived the rigours of the two day International to record a second place overall finish behind British rally legend Gwyndaf Evans.

“The first night was tricky. There was a lot of dust hanging, and we were about tenth on the road, so it was thick in places. Actually the first night wasn’t so easy, we had a worrying noise in the back of the car on the second stage, which turned out thankfully to be just a jammed stone, but on the third test we dropped 10-15 seconds with a broken gearbox. The team did a great job and changed the box in less than the 40 minutes allowed at the night-time service, so we were ready to go on Saturday.”

At the end of the first night Jonny and Dai lay 7th overall, just ahead of former British Champion Mark Higgins, and behind Evo Challenge rival, Norwegian Daniel Sigguarson, Alastair Fisher and fourth placed Dave Weston Jnr who was 40 seconds in front.
“It was a case of starting all over again on Saturday, and our aim was to have a go at catching up with Dave Weston. We had some good times, and had the gap down to 17 seconds going into the last loop, before Dave went off the road on the first stage of the last loop. The car was going well. We had done a wee test before hand and played with the centre diff and we have been working on our suspension, so we were happy with the car.”

By stage 10 with just two more to go the Carryduff Forklift Lancer lay fourth overall, just over 2 minutes behind rally leader Keith Cronin, but the last stage was to provide a couple of dramas.

“Really we were in no man’s land at that stage. The three guys ahead of us were still battling a bit to see who could win the rally, but I was just glad we weren’t heading into that last stage having to race to the end, as it was by far the roughest stage of the rally, and an easy one to get punctures on. We got a bit of a shock however to see rally leader Keith Cronin parked off the road, and realised we had moved up to third, then when we got to the end of the stage, we took a second glance at the timing board. Craig Breen had dropped a lot of time with a puncture and we realised that we had taken second place! It was quite unexpected and unexpected that we are actually leading the BRC at this stage!”
A fast clean and tidy drive had ensured that Jonny kept free of punctures and he scored his highest BRC finish in second place, a great result for the hard working DGM team.

The next round of the BRC is the tarmac Jim Clark Rally, but at the moment Jonny is busy in the work shop preparing his BOTT Equipment backed Lancer Evo 9 for this weekend’s Killarney Rally of the Lakes.
“We are now changing everything into tarmac specification before Killarney, and it will help as a test before the Jim Clark. I’m looking forward to doing the event, especially driving stages like Molls Gap, and we are also registered for the Irish Tarmac Championship.”

Preparation of rally cars also has to be a useful skill for any rally championship leader to have.
“I enjoy working on the cars, and for sure it gives you a better knowledge of how the car works, and if something’s wrong it helps to pin-point where the problem is.”

With Keith Cronin’s superb victory on the BRC in 2009, it’s fitting that another Irish driver is now leading this high profile rally series, and the amiable Carryduff driver aims to try his utmost to hold onto that coveted position.

Craig Breen - Dust and Drama on Second Round of British Rally Championship

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:39 PM

Craig Breen’s preparation for the second round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Pirelli International Rally was to travel to Istanbul over a week ago for World Rally Turkey, after three days of tough competition he was faced with a seventy hour bus journey back to the UK arriving in Carlisle just in time for the start of the rally. Three stages made up a packed Friday evening schedule and after a few hours sleep nine stages followed on Saturday, all based in the Kielder Forest Complex. Lying in third place with a deficit of thirty two second at the over night halt on Friday evening Breen set about his task by recording six fastest stage times over Saturdays stages. Going into the final stage Breen was twenty two seconds down on rally leader Keith Cronin but only four away from Gwyndaf Evans in second. Breen’s brave fight for victory was thwarted four kilometres into that final stage when his Kick Energy Ford Fiesta S2000 suffered its first puncture of the event. The Waterford driver was able to complete stage but lost over two and a half minutes dropping him behind Johnny Greer and claim albeit third overall. At the finish Breen was frustrated and disappointed with the drama that unfolded on the final test “I gave it my all during today’s stages and going into the final stage we decided to just go all out. My car never missed a beat all day and all through the event has been very good on tyres but we also new that the previous to stages took their toll. I gutted to end the event like this but we now have points on the board and with Keith’s (Cronin) exit on the last stage it opens up the championship again”.

There was some confusion about the times as they came in from stage one (Newcastleton 1) on Friday evening as the second round of the championship got under way north of host City Carlisle. First reports had reigning champion Keith Cronin stopping the clocks 53 seconds ahead of Gwyndaf Evan, with Alastair Fisher in third spot 1minute 1 second back. On the opening stage Craig and Gareth posted 8:19.3 and were in 7th place. Then as the cars entered stage two there were whispers that Cronin’s time from SS 1 was a minute incorrect, which would at that time look more accurate as from Fisher in third down to Dave Weston Jnr down in 10th there was only 10 seconds separating them. On to stage two and Cronin was fastest, Fisher was next with Craig beginning to get to grips with the S2000 and was third fastest through the test. Completing Friday evening’s stages was the first run over Black Shed 1, Cronin made it a hat trick of stage wins but the chasing pack began to raise their game. Evans in the EVO X was just 2 seconds away, with Craig 3.8. As Breen entered the service park for the over night halt he reported “My confidence was dented after the Circuit accident but the dust tonight was dangerous and difficult. Still, I’m very happy with my position. I’m driving conservatively and we’re going to change a few settings on the car for tomorrow morning rerun over those three stages”.

Saturday Morning dawned a new day and Breen sets the pace on the opening loop of three stages. Before the crews left the service park the competitors were informed that there respective times had been adjusted as Keith Cronin’s time from the first stage was 1 minute incorrect. The leader board reflecting the change and Craig was now just 32 seconds down. As he exited his service truck at Carlisle Racecourse Service Park before heading out to the first stage of the day he reported “I had a great sleep, my priority today is to put points on the board”.

On that first stage (Newcastleton 2) Breen was 1.9 seconds up on Gwyndaf Evans with rally leader Keith Cronin 2.4 down. On stage two and Cronin hits back but Breen was only .7 of a second slower, then on the third test in the mornings loop Breen took back another 7.8 seconds to leave him just 33 seconds off the lead. In Service Breen reported “I’m very satisfied with the morning’s work, Stage 4 was a good time but I could have been faster on stage 5 but got hampered again by trailing dust. Stage 6 where I picked up 3.5 on Evans and 7.8 on Cronin was another good time and I wasn’t pushing to hard”. He also went on to say “The dust is still a bit of a problem, some corners are very blind and in the high speed sections it’s very difficult to commit 100%. Overall I don’t think I was pushing that hard to top the time sheets. Everything is under control and I’m concentrating on getting to the finish”.

11.56 miles of Roughside (stage 7) and Craig punches in another fastest time, half a second better then Gwyndaf Evans with Keith Cronin a further 1.7s in arrears. During the stage we lost Alastair Fisher with transmission problems ending his rally. Fisher’s retirement elevated Dave Weston Jnr into fourth and following Evo Challenge leader Jonny Greer to fifth. In sixth were Daniel Sigurdarson and Asta Sigurdarottir in their Mitsubishi EVO X but the pair were over two and a half minutes off the pace. “Pundershaw”, stage eight was next and both Cronin and Evans complained of tyre wear, Cronin also suffered two over shoots. There were no problems for Breen as he stacked up yet another fastest time.
“The car feels like its about to have a moment all the time on the high speed sections, so I’m very pleased to still be setting fastest times”, was Breen’s statement at the end of the stage.

With the cancellation of SS 9 there was a gap before stage 10, as the tension began to rise the start of SS10 “The Craggs” was delayed by a car on the preceding historic rally crashed, stopping the stage, when the stage did get the safety approval to run the Kick Energy Fiesta S2000 was quickest by 1.3 seconds from Cronin, with Evans just .3 further back. Fourth place man Dave Weston Jnr suffered hard luck as his Subaru Impreza went off the road towards the end of the stage.
“As Breen wiped the sweat from his brow at the stage end he said “Wow that’s some pace, I’m pushing hard but the two boys’ are there with me all the way”.

All the attention then focused on the final stage, Cronin had the upper hand by virtue of his 17 second lead, but every competitor will you “the rally is not over until your through the final time control”, Cronin was the first of the top three to hit problems when he picked up yet another puncture, then half way through the stage Breen’s Fiesta S2000 also was hit by its first puncture of the event. As Cronin’s Impreza approached the last few metres of the rally it ground to a halt as a result of the offending puncture damaging the wiring loop. Breen did make the finish and scored his first points of the season but his puncture caused the loss of 2 and half minutes, he remained on the podium albeit behind Johnny Greer in third. Craig was very disappointed at the finish
"It was our first puncture of the event, It's hard to take, we pushed as hard as we could all day. There was times when we were nearly off the road. I'm happy with the podium place and to have our first points on the board but you always want to be on the top step".
Evans went on to win, his first on the event since 1998 when he was victorious in a two wheel drive Ibiza.

MILNER MASTERS PIRELLI TOUR OF CUMBRIA

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:35 PM

Former double British Champion Jonny Milner saw off the opposition with a superb victory on today's Pirelli Tour of Cumbria after a hectic day in a dry and dusty Kielder Forest which saw round two of the 2010 MSA Gravel Rally Championship take place.

Along with co driver Ian Windress, Milner's Toyota Corolla WRC emerged over a minute to the good ahead of the Hyundai Accent WRC of Stephen Petch and John Richardson with Charlie Payne and co driver Craig Thorley's Ford Focus WRC coming home in third place.

In fact Milner was never headed as he was fastest out of the blocks on the opening stage and doubled his one-second advantage over the Subaru WRC of former ANCRO Champions Roger Duckworth and Mark Broomfield to two seconds after the day's second stage in the Kielder complex.

At the first service Yorkshireman Milner held sway over Duckworth by five seconds with Petch and Payne battling just over half a minute down as they scrapped it out for the final podium place.

Milner continued to lead but on the next loop of stages, Duckworth suffered a puncture and dropped a minute but worse was to follow when he went off the road on the penultimate stage meaning his challenge was over and allowing Milner to take his first victory since the Manx International Rally in 2004.

As a result Petch moved into the runner-up spot and crossed the Carlisle finish line just over a minute down whereas Payne, in only his second drive in the Ford Focus WRC, finished third. The Mitsubishi of Kevin Rowledge and Paul Whittaker came home in fourth ahead of the Ford Escort of Matthew Robinson/Darren Brown with Subaru debutantes Darren Martin/Martin Steele claiming sixth.

Notable retirements included Tom Naughton/Horace Saville who went off the road on SS5 with Shelly Taunt/Julie Murphy suffering with suspension damage on the same stage. Alex Allingham/Bob Stokoe rolled their Subaru one stage later, as did Jamie Anderson and Mark Mason. Neville Jones/Ian Capewell went out on SS10 and Rob Cholmondeley/Dave Evans also retired their Escort.

A delighted Jonny Milner said at the Carlisle finish:
"At last I've won this rally and it's been a long time but the feeling's still good. The car has been faultless all day and Ian has done a great job on the notes. It's good to be leading the Championship and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series."

Milner leads the Championship going into the next round which is the Severn Valley National Rally on June 5th with Petch in second position and Payne in third.

TOP TEN FOR COOKSON ON PIRELLI RALLY

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:34 PM

Saltash rally driver Alan Cookson, along with co driver Julian Wilkinson from Tunbridge Wells, overcame a tough weekend to record a fine top ten finish on the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.

Contesting the Carlisle-based Pirelli International Rally, the pair overcame suspension problems and hanging dust on Friday night's three stages to hold 17th position at the overnight halt in their TEG Sport-prepared and Robert Wiseman Dairies-backed Subaru Impreza.

With adjustments made, Cookson attacked on the dry and dusty stages during Saturday morning to move up to 12th place at half distance but it all started coming together on the fast tracks of Kielder Forest during the afternoon which saw the 'cow liveried' car and its crew finally claim 8th place at the finish at Carlisle Racecourse.

Delighted with his first BRC finish following their retirement on last month's Bulldog International Rally of North Wales, Cookson said:
"You've got to love it when a plan comes together! It was a war of attrition today but we got it together after the nightmare we had last night. The car was superb and we ended up using our own pacenotes so I'm absolutely delighted. It certainly was worth the four new tyres we put on for the last loop of stages!"

Co driver Julian Wilkinson added:
"I'm delighted as it all came together and using our own pacenotes was good. The stages were good but the dust was bad in places. I've got to say hard luck to our TEG Sport team-mates Keith Cronin and Euan Thorburn, but it's good to salvage some pride for the TEG Sport Team so it's thanks to them and all our other sponsors also."

PIRELLI HEARTBREAK FOR TEG SPORT

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:33 PM

The Pirelli TEG Sport Rally Team suffered the cruellest of fortunes when defending British Rally Champion Keith Cronin was denied victory on the very last stage of the Pirelli International Rally based in Carlisle today.

Having won the opening round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship last month, Cronin and co driver Barry McNulty were hoping to make it two out of two and were in control after leading throughout the event but less than 200 metres from the end of the twelfth and final stage the Subaru ground to a halt after suffering a puncture which in turn damaged the wiring loom. Cronin gallantly got the car to the end of the stage but any hopes of victory, and with it maximum points, were shattered.

The Pirelli Star Driver from 2009 had set a scintillating pace from the start last night and held a 24-second advantage going into today's nine stages in Kielder Forest. From then on he maintained his lead despite a strong challenge from Welshman Gwyndaf Evans, and held a 17-second advantage going into the last stage, but to no avail as it turned out.

Pirelli TEG Sport team-mate Euan Thorburn and co driver Paul Beaton were also out of luck when after setting fifth fastest time on SS1, the Scotsman suffered a puncture on last night's second stage dropping ten minutes after stopping and changing the wheel in the dark.

Faced with a monumental battle during Saturday's nine stages, Thorburn bravely battled back into contention and at half distance was up to 22nd.

A concerted effort through the final three stages saw the former Scottish Champion claim 14th at the finish to salvage precious little consolation for the Carnforth-based team.

Keith Cronin:
"I knew I had to push because Gwyndaf was closing and when I punctured I knew I couldn't ease off and sadly it didn't work out for us. It's a very sad way to lose a rally by coming so close and I feel especially sorry for the team who have worked so hard this weekend. We'll put this disappointment behind us and now look forward to the rest of the season."

Euan Thorburn:
"I'm so disappointed. It was always about who was going to get punctures and who didn't and there's no way you can bounce back after losing so much time. We now need to focus on the rest of the season and I hope to put in a good performance on my home event, the Jim Clark Rally, next time out and in the meantime both myself and the team will be looking to get some extra practice in when we contest the Manx Rally in a couple of weeks time."

Stuart Newby, TEG Sport:
"What can I say? It's very disappointing. Keith was controlling the pace to maintain a gap and not do anything silly, but 'Killer Kielder' lives up to its name as 50% of the entry has been affected by punctures this weekend. It's just not been our weekend but looking at the stage times it proves that both Keith and Euan were on the pace so I guess we can take some positives from that."

Photos:

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:25 PM

Full Results

Posted: April 27, 2010 1:19 PM

1 Gwyndaf Evans/Chris Patterson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 1:27:58.0
2 Jonathan Greer/Dai Roberts (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 1:30:31.2
3 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000) 1:30:46.1
4 Daniel Sigurdarson/Asta Sigurdardottir (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 1:31:46.1
5 Owen Murphy/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 1:33:33.4
6 Jason Tauber Pritchard/Robbie Durant (Subaru Impreza N16) 1:33:42.6
7 Jarkko Nikara/Jarno Ottman (Renault Twingo R2) 1:35:02.0
8 Alan Cookson/Julian Wilkinson (Subaru Impreza N15) 1:36:56.0
9 Elfyn Evans/Andrew Edwards (Ford Fiesta ST) 1:37:08.9
10 Adam Gould/Craig Drew (Subaru Impreza N11) 1:37:50.3
Leaders After:
SS1-11 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15)
SS12 Gwyndaf Evans/Chris Patterson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X)

Stage Winners:
SS1 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15)
SS2 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15)
SS3 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15)
SS4 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000)
SS5 Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Subaru Impreza N15)
SS6 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000)
SS7 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000)
SS8 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000)
SS9 Stage Cancelled
SS10 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000)
SS11 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000)
SS12 Gwyndaf Evans/Chris Patterson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X)

Ash cloud delays Sky Sports’ BRC broadcast

Posted: April 22, 2010 9:08 PM

While air traffic has almost returned to normal following the eruption of the Icelandic volcano and subsequent ash cloud, Sky Sports TV coverage of the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship has been affected and will be broadcast on Tuesday evening rather than the normal Monday slot.

The BRC programme production company Greenlight TV were covering the FIA GT1 race in Abu Dhabi where they were not only stranded by flight cancellations, but director Rob Hurdman was hospitalised following a high speed crash during the race.

Rob’s injuries were thankfully mainly confined to a broken nose, but concern over the lack of flights and personnel meant that Sky Sports agreed to broadcast the programme a day later than usual, allowing the short-staffed Greenlight TV  more time to edit the programme.

Coverage of the Pirelli International Rally will go out on Sky Sports 3 (& HD3) at 7pm on Tuesday 27th April, repeated on Wednesday 28th at 12am on the same channels.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Breen/Roberts make it to Carlisle for Pirelli

Posted: April 22, 2010 9:04 PM

Craig and Gareth have made it to Carlisle and will be on the start line tomorrow evening for the first stage of the Pirelli International, round two of the MSA British Rally Championship.
After a hectic weekend at WRC Rally Turkey the pair were faced with an expedition across Europe on Monday morning as travel chaos continued to rage with no flights over European Airspace and both were left to board an M-Sport bus and make a 70 hour trip by road. Now with only 24 hours before the start of the Carlisle based event Craig and Gareth took part in shakedown and will recce some of the stages this evening and complete their recce in the morning.

Speaking to Craig before he jumped into the Kick Energy Ford Fiesta he stated
"This is not the ideal build up I had envisaged but we're luck to be here at all. I have a weeks sleep to catch up on and there were times over the last few days when I taught I was on the Orient Express. I'm sure in time to come there will be a story or two to come from our trip but for now it's back to business".

Six of the best Citroëns in Cumbria

Posted: April 22, 2010 9:01 PM

Mark Donnelly and Paddy Robinson will be hoping to maintain momentum on the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship on this weekend’s Pirelli International Rally, where six crews will take part in the Citroën Racing Trophy UK.

The young Northern Irish driver won not only the opening round of the British series, but also leads the Citroën racing Trophy in Ireland, so must have a psychological advantage over his rivals ahead of the Cumbrian based event.

Second on the first round in Wales were Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly, but with a win on the opening Irish round, the County Dubliner must believe he can make it level pegging with a win apiece each side of the Irish Sea.

Unfortunately masses of experience and plenty of speed are countered by an equal amount of bad luck for Richard Sykes and Simon Taylor. The West Midlands one-make series veteran had a catastrophic engine failure on Rally North Wales, so will need a steady run to get some points on the board.

Luke Pinder and Peter Scott struggled to get to grips with their new steed back in March,. But the Yorkshireman ran well on a recent test event, finishing sixth overall on the Red Kite Stages last week, beating Sykes who was testing the new engine.

Australian Molly Taylor continues her own learning curve in the new car, continuing to benefit from guidance from reigning Citroën champion co-driver Phil Clarke. She admitted to being a bit rusty in Wales, but enjoys the Pirelli stages, having won the Rally 1 class there in 2009.

Joseph McGonigle is another Irishman trying his hand in a new Citroën with a new co-driver for 2010. They had a nightmare opening round and will want to at least complete the recce in Kielder, a luxury they missed out on in Wales after their recce car broke down.

Regardless of the winner on the Pirelli International Rally, the Citroën Racing Trophy protagonists are all keen to get their hands on a share of the €14,000 prize money on offer to the six drivers in Cumbria.

Swift Fins favourite, but Manxman ready to fight

Posted: April 21, 2010 1:29 PM

A dominant display of driving on the opening round of the 2010 Swift Sport Cup means that the favourite for victory on the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, the Pirelli International Rally, must be Finnish duo Mikko Pajunen and Janne Perälä.

However David Harrison and John Connor, the only other crew contesting the Suzuki based one-make championship, had a serious wake-up call in Wales in March and will certainly not want to be caught out again on the Cumbrian event.

There are still some difficulties for the Fins to overcome before the start in Carlisle on Friday though, the dust cloud from the erupting Icelandic volcano meaning a long drive and ferry crossing, as flights into UK air space remain disrupted.

However Manxman Harrison should have no such problems crossing the Irish Sea, so he and his Midlands-based co-driver will take advantage of a relaxed recce of the stages, both having contested the event in previous years. Like Harrison, Connor has made the step up from the BRC’s support series, the BRC Challenge combined youth and experience making a successful new partnership for 2010.

Pajunen and Perälä are contesting their first season in the UK, so each event is a new experience, but judging by their pace on Bulldog Rally North Wales, the Swifts will be worth watching in the forests of Kershope and Kielder on Friday and Saturday.

PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY
The Pirelli International Rally is based entirely at the Carlisle Racecourse from where it starts at 18.30, heading out for three stages in Kershope Forest. The event re-starts at 07.00 on Saturday with three loops of three stages, before returning to Carlisle for the ceremonial finish just before 19.00.

Fight Back Begins on Friday for Breen

Posted: April 21, 2010 10:34 AM

Twenty year old Craig Breen, had a full grasp of the Midas touch last season where everything turned to gold, that success even spilled into the start of this year with the euphoria that surrounded the launch of his new car and a 2nd overall finish on the Galway International Rally as he debuted the Kick Energy Ford Fiesta S2000, but retirement at the Bulldog and a subsequent accident on the Circuit of Ireland has left Craig watching from the sidelines as others picked up points. Next weekend the Fiesta S2000 will be in fight back mood as Craig and Gareth begin to put their season back on track. "This year was always going to be hard" states Craig "For me to achieve even half what I did last year was going to be next to impossible, but we are all very dedicated in the team and I remain fully focused, my trip to WRC Turkey is a great example of the ups and downs in rallying and how fast fortunes change. On Friday after completing day one, I was on the crest of a wave, leading the FSTi field and 19th overall but by Saturday evening I was sitting by the road side with only three wheels on the car. Then as the rally drew to a close on Sunday, I had recorded my highest overall World Rally result. This is just one example of how unforgiving rallying can be or on the other hand how rewarding it can. Every time I get behind the wheel I remind myself of how privileged I am”.

“It will be great to return to Carlisle. I have plenty of great memories from last season’s event. The Pirelli was my first win in the UK FST Championship, with the rally going down to the final stage where I set fastest time. We also went on to finish 10th overall and first 2WD home but the icing on the cake came when I was selected the Pirelli star driver”.

The rally will be located in Carlisle using the Kielder forest, the 2010 rally retains the popular Friday night and Saturday format with the 2010 event returning to the popular rally base at the prestigious Carlisle Racecourse.

A border city, and the most northerly in England, Carlisle predominantly spans the flood plain of the River Eden. Commercially, it is linked to the rest of England via the M6 motorway, and to the Scottish Lowlands via the A74 (M) and M74 motorways. Although a 20th century creation, the city traces its origins to a 1st-century Roman outpost associated with Hadrian's Wall. The Brythonic settlement that expanded from this outpost was destroyed by the Danes in 875. Thereafter the region formed part of the Southern Uplands of Scotland, until colonised under King William II of England in 1092. William II built Carlisle Castle, which houses a military museum. Carlisle Cathedral, founded in the 12th century, is one of the smallest in England.

JRM aims to put the record straight

Posted: April 21, 2010 10:32 AM

JRM are delighted to confirm that it will contest the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship on this weekend’s Pirelli International Rally, with Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Chris Patterson competing in the team’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

Having entered last month’s opening round, the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales, as a showcase event to promote its latest development Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, the JRM team came away disappointed following a gearbox issue which saw the car retire after the second stage.

“We have carried out a great deal of development with the Evo X over the past few months and, following an outright win in Finland in February, we know that it’s one of the most competitive R4 Class cars out there”, said JRM Operations Manager John Barnes. “We know that it is capable of winning a round of the BRC and therefore we are delighted to get another chance to prove it this weekend.”

Since the Bulldog Rally, the car has been re-prepared and put through its paces during a successful test in Hamsterly Forest, where Gwyndaf came away extremely happy with its performance:

“I still can’t believe that we had such bad luck last time out. I am therefore very pleased to have another opportunity to drive for the team. As I’ve said before, the JRM Evo X is the best Group N car I’ve ever driven, so if everything goes well, I’m confident we can get a top result and maybe even give the car its first win in the UK.”

Icelandic brother and sister Daniel Sigurdarson and Asta Sigurdardottir are scheduled to join JRM for the Pirelli Rally, but the recent volcanic eruption in their home country and the consequent closure of airspace is likely to mean that they will not be able to get to the UK. However, Daniel is not a driver that gives up easily and if there’s a chance of him and Asta coming over to compete and help to score points for JRM towards the British Team’s Championship, then he’ll take it.

Based at Carlisle Racecourse, the Pirelli International Rally features 12 special stages and 100 competitive miles in Keilder Forest. The event gets underway at 6.30 pm on Friday and sees three stages before the overnight halt, with the remaining nine stages taking place between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm on Saturday.

Double Header Weekend for Cunningham

Posted: April 21, 2010 8:04 AM

This coming weekend will see Jonathan Cunningham (26) from County Galway but now living in Workington, Cumbria take on two high class rally events in just one weekend. He will start by continuing his Fiesta SportChallenge trophy campaign at the Pirelli Rally based in the city of Carlisle, round three of the highly competitive one make series. The following day he will fly out to Ireland to compete in the Monaghan Junior Rally where he will compete on the next round of the Dunlop National Junior Rally championship.

The first event of the weekend, The Pirelli Challenge rally sees Cunningham reunite with his UK based co-driver Richard Millener (26) from Workington, UK. Millener had to miss out on the previous Irish Junior championship round Cunningham competed on only a fortnight ago but he will be back in the hot seat on this event to help the young Irishman try and make it three out of three wins in the UK Fiesta SportChallenge series. The pair currently top the points table, seven points ahead of Richard Parry Jones / Sara Price.

The Pirelli rally, based at Carlisle racecourse, sees the crews take in six fast and demanding stages within the infamous “Killer Kielder” forest complex, the largest man made forest in the whole of Europe. The forest which is renowned for its high speed stages will test Cunningham and Millener to the max as they try to continue to improve on their pace from the first two rounds of the season. The Pirelli rally also makes up the second round of the British Rally Championship Challenge series which Cunningham / Millener currently lie third overall. With the pairing aware they need to increase their speed out of the box from the start of the event to have any chance of taking victory hey will both be psyching themselves up before the event to get them into the zone! With the event also being on the duo’s home territory there will be extra incentives to do well and they hope to be able to return to Carlisle and spray the champagne at the end of a successful and exciting day. As soon as the event finishes, the weekend will only be half complete for Cunningham. He will leave the North of England behind to drive straight to Prestwick airport where he will fly to Dublin and make his way to his second rally of the weekend, the Monaghan Junior Rally.

This event sees a ten strong field of Junior rally championship entrants who will all be fighting for the overall win. Cunningham will hope that his competitive driving the day before will help him to be on the pace from the very first corner and with main championship rival Kevin O Connor sitting out the event the talented Irishman will be hopeful for a victory. The event will also see him switch cars from his Fiesta ST Gp.N car to his highly tuned Honda Civic.

For the Monaghan event Cunningham will have his brother Patrick navigate for him as Millener is unable to make the short journey over the water. The Junior championship event takes in four stages and Cunningham will hope to get to the finish on Sunday afternoon having made it two wins in two days and ending the weekend in spectacular fashion.

Driver Jonathan Cunningham said:
“I am really looking forward to this weekend. To compete in two events in two days will be a great challenge and I can’t wait for it. To win both events will be an incredibly difficult task but something I know I am capable of. I will be trying my hardest to drive to the best of my ability but I will have strong competition pushing me hard on both days.”

UK Navigator Richard Millener said:
“I really missed navigating on the last event Jonny competed on in Ireland but I just don’t have the budget to compete in both series at the moment, so I am really looking forward to getting back into the navigators seat at the Pirelli Rally. With it being the week of my birthday and effectively our home event I really hope we can make it three wins in a row. It will be an exciting yet challenging day and I am really can’t wait to get started.”

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK Preview

Posted: April 21, 2010 8:00 AM

Round two of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK is set to take place this weekend, the Pirelli International Rally hosting the second event in the tenth season of the official one-make series for Group N Lancer Evolutions, the rally also featuring the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.

Highest Evolution Challenge seeds are Alastair Fisher and co-driver Rory Kennedy who will be looking to make up for their disappointment in round one, the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales, when they retired whilst in a commanding lead after their car developed terminal transmission problems. Such was their pace last time out, they are also likely to be challenging for top British Rally Championship positions.

Having secured their maiden Evolution Challenge victory on round one, Jonny Greer/Dai Roberts currently lead the series and are aiming to maintain their position at the top of the points table with another good run this weekend. However, the crew immediately behind them, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, will be piling on the pressure and are likely to be on a charge after a frustrating run in round one, when their car appeared to be down on power.

A crew definitely looking for better fortunes after their visit to North Wales are Owen Murphy/James O’Brien, who made it no further than the first stage, when a gearbox and subsequent clutch problem forced them into retirement not far from the start.

Following recent volcanic events, it is highly unlikely that Icelandic brother and sister Daniel Sigurdarson/Asta Sigurdardottir will make it to the start line. Ironically able to leave their own country, they currently cannot fly into UK airspace, so they are standing by in the hope that the situation may improve during the next-24 hours.

The ash clouds over Europe have already forced East African crew Peter Horsey/Moses Matovu to withdraw their entry and any chance of improving on their fourth place last time out.  Added to this, series coordinator Simon Slade is also desitend to miss the event, having been stranded in Abu Dhabi following the opening round of the FAI GT1 World Championship at the Yas Marina Circuit last weekend.

Based at Carlisle Racecourse, the Pirelli International Rally features 12 special stages and 100 competitive miles in Keilder Forest. The event gets underway at 6.30 pm on Friday and sees three stages before the overnight halt, with the remaining nine stages taking place between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm on Saturday.

The 2010 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JRM, Cyprus Automobile Association, Fairways Mitsubishi, Speedline Corse wheels, Murray Motorsport, CL brake pads, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

For the first time this season the winner of the Evolution Challenge in the UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions. Added to this, the winning driver in the UK will be a guaranteed nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK - Round 2 entries
4 Alastair Fisher (Trillick)/Rory Kennedy (Letterkenny)
8 Jonny Greer (Carryduff)/Dai Roberts (Carmarthen)
9 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick)
10 Daniel Sigurdarson (Iceland)/Asta Sigurdardottir (Iceland)*
24 Owen Murphy (Cork)/James O’Brien (Cork)
25 Peter Horsey (Mombasa)/Moses Matovu (Kampala)*

* May not start due to closed airspace.

BHRC preview, round two: Pirelli Historic Rally

Posted: April 19, 2010 3:06 PM

The 2010 Dunlop/WONAGO.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship continues on Saturday 24 April with the Pirelli Historic Rally, the second of eight events in another epic season of historic rallying. An excellent field of nearly 60 cars, matching the 2009 entry despite the difficult economic situation, will deliver some superb action over classic stages in the mighty Kielder forest.

Category 1
Running first on the road will be the older cars from category one (pre '68) and heading the field away will be the Sunbeam Tiger of Jonathan Gale and James Whitaker, winners of the opening round in Wales a month ago. The sweeping Kielder roads should suit the Tiger well, although last year's rally didn't go so well for Gale after a trip into one of the notorious Kielder ditches.
Leading the challenge to the Tiger will be defending champions Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride in their Porsche 911 and they came out fighting on the Bulldog Rally. The Porsche led the Tiger in the early stages in Wales and will be chasing hard in Kielder.
The Volvo Amazon of Graham Waite and Gill Cotton is one of the most spectacular cars in the BHRC and they will be striving to match the pace of the Porsche as Waite throws the heavy Volvo around in style. Phil and Barbara Smith make a welcome return to rallying in their Porsche 911, a month after Phil raced the car at Silverstone.
Meanwhile, for Newcastle-based Paul Mankin and Desmond Bell (Lotus Cortina), this is their local event and they will be pitching for class B4 spoils as well as a place on the overall category one podium, while other cars to watch include the giant-killing Sunbeam Imp Sport of Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill, pacesetters in class B1.

Category 2
Category two, for the post-historic cars, will surely be a big fight between the Escort Mk1s of old rivals David Stokes and Jeremy Easson. The expected battle didn't happen on the opening round when the Escort of Stokes and Guy Weaver was sidelined by a blown core plug, so they will be very keen to get their championship bid started properly in Kielder. Easson and Alun Cook stormed to victory in Wales and will want to make that a double win this time around. In three events to date in his latest Escort Mk1, Easson has taken three wins, so he'll be out to make it four out of four.
Tim Mason and Graham Wild (from class C4 in their Porsche 911) will be chasing Easson and Stokes and have a strong record in Kielder. They started their campaign with a trouble free run in Wales last month. The similar Porsche 911 of Peter Smith and Russ Langthorne is showing ever-improving pace while Chris Browne and Liz Jordan bring their Escort Mk1 all the way from Kent for the chance to tackle Kielder.
The competition in the classes within category two will be as fierce as ever and it was Welsh crew Tim Jones and Don James who won C3 on the Bulldog in their Escort Mk1. Although they do not know these stages as well as the Welsh ones, they will be pacesetters, but Drew Wylie/tba and Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson will be strong contenders for the class.
In C2, the pace of Vince Bristow and Tim Sayer was mighty on the Bulldog as their Escort Mk1 was ahead of many more powerful cars until they spent two minutes in a ditch on the final stage. Rivals to Bristow include the Hillman Avenger of Gary and Jane Edgington.

Category 3
Once again, the contest for category three will be sensational. The Ford Escorts of Nick Elliott and Julian Reynolds should set the pace, but another 10 drivers will be chasing hard as the category enjoys its best field to date.
Elliott and Dave Price scored a stunning victory on the Bulldog Rally, powering their Escort Mk2 into the lead on the opening stage. However, they didn’t finish this event a year ago after a trip into a ditch and will want to make up for that disappointment this time around. Reynolds and Ian Oakey led the chase of Elliott in Wales and will be all out to turn the tables in Kielder.
Other front-runners in the fabulous field include Irish flyer Seamus O'Connell, teamed with Nigel Gardner, Will Onions/Dave Williams, Darren Moon/Chris Parsons and young Conor Corkill with Rob Fagg. Moon was a winner here a year ago, while Onions and Corkill are both getting quicker and quicker in their Escort Mk2s. The dark horse is Irish charger Ryan Barrett, however, who should be back in action after an accident on the opening stage of the Bulldog.
Class D4 is for the over 2-litre non-Escort BDGs and it is the Vauxhall Chevette of Rob Smith/Shaun O'Gorman that will take the fight to the Escort pack along with the Opel Ascona of Steve Magson and Geoff Atkinson.
In class D3, for the Pinto-powered Escort Mk2s, the car of Richard Lane and Frank Richer is the benchmark, but Welshmen David Lloyd-Roberts and Dei Jones are showing excellent pace. Barry Jordan, Wayne Bonser and Stephen Richards are all contenders for a place near the head of class D3.

MSA Gravel Rally Championship - ALL TO PLAY FOR IN KIELDER...

Posted: April 19, 2010 3:04 PM

Round two of the 2010 MSA Gravel Rally Championship sees many of the UK's leading rally drivers and their exotic, multi-million pound machinery making the trip to Carlisle in what is set to be a keenly contested affair.

This year sees the Pirelli Tour of Cumbria as the only chance the ANCRO competitors get to tackle the infamous Kielder Forest given the series has been scaled down from eight rounds to six this year, and as such the Jedburgh-based Border Counties Rally has been axed from the calendar.

Defending champions Marcus Dodd and co driver Andrew Bargery got their title defence underway in the best possible fashion with a seventh career win on Rallye Sunseeker back in February and the five times National champions will be hoping for another maximum points haul in their Hyundai Accent WRC in Cumbria, assuming they make the trip north as they have still to appear on the entry list!

Assuming they're on the start ramp, they'll be looking for a bit easier ride than the one experienced twelve months ago which saw one of the closest finishes in recent history as just ten seconds separated the leading three drivers. Back then, and despite a persistent gearbox problem, Dodd edged out local ace Paul Bird as well as another ex-champion Steve Perez to win by just 4.6 seconds.

Due to other commitments, neither Bird nor Perez will be joining Dodd potentially on the start line but there's plenty of competition nonetheless as former double British Champion Jonny Milner makes a welcome return to Kielder and along with co driver Ian Windress, they are hoping to mount a challenge for the title in the venerable Toyota Corolla WRC which, in Milner's very capable hands, will be more than a match for the more modern machinery. The quality continues to flow with former ANCRO Champions Roger Duckworth and Mark Broomfield in action in their Subaru WRC whereas the flamboyant Charlie Payne and co driver Craig Thorley will return to action in their recently acquired Ford Focus WRC06.

Top runners Tristan Pye/Stewart Merry (Subaru), Alex Allingham/Mark Glennerster (Subaru), and Kevin Rowledge/Paul Whittaker (Mitsubishi) will be at the cutting edge, as will the Mitsubishis of Nigel Seabold/Bob Stokoe, James Anderson/Mark Mason and Tom Naughton/Horace Saville.

The Subaru of Trevor Martin/Ray Cleghorn and Edmund Peel in his Audi Quattro will add to the spectacle and throw in the likes of Stephen Petch/John Richardson (Hyundai Accent WRC) as well as Ladies Champion Shelley Taunt/Julie Murphy (Subaru) and top Viking Ford Escort Challenge crew Robert Cholmondeley/Dave Evans and it's a mouth-watering prospect.

COOKSON LOOKS FOR KIELDER GLORY

Posted: April 19, 2010 2:52 PM

Saltash rally driver Alan Cookson and co driver Julian Wilkinson from Tunbridge Wells have reported that the Robert Wiseman Dairies-sponsored 'Friesian Speedster' is good to go for the second round of the Dulux Trade British Rally Championship when the Pirelli International Rally starts from Carlisle Racecourse this coming weekend (Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th April).

Following the promising feedback from the opening round of the BRC on the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales, the 'Mooo-rials' team and TEG Sport have carried out lots of work on the Subaru n15 in order to keep the cow liveried car ahead of its rivals on some of the best rally stages in the country.

The pair enjoyed the car so much on the first round where it performed faultlessly until a driveshaft broke on stage three so in a bid to get ahead, they have decided to do some mid season maintenance a little earlier than planned to stay on top of event reliability, including the fitting of a new turbo, four new drive shafts and a complete overhaul to the rear suspension set up on the car.

Alan said
"We really enjoyed the Bulldog in the new car and everything felt superb, it certainly did what we wanted it to and more. She was 'udderly' fantastic..! Therefore we have decided to carry out our mid season maintenance early, in the hope that our reliability is 100%. Our plan is to use this year as a bit of a learning curve before a full attack on the championship next year, whilst still trying to return good results for our sponsors and the team at the same time. After all, it's called 'Killer Kielder' for a reason, but hopefully we won't be falling victim to its reputation, certainly not on the reliability front anyway! We are really looking forward to the event now and also looking forward to having our main sponsor Robert Wiseman Dairies and their guests along to soak up the atmosphere of this great event and hopefully it will spur us on to a good result!"

Julian added
"We are really hoping we can move on again with our pacenotes on this event, it is a new discipline for myself and Alan to master and after a promising start on the Bulldog I'm sure we can move them forward even more which will hopefully deliver us even more pace on the Pirelli. The car was certainly delivering for us and clearly it has the potential to deliver us some good results so it's imperative we get our recce right for this one, especially with Kielder's notorious ditches there to catch us out at any time."

The Pirelli International Rally is based at the Carlisle Racecourse from where it starts at 18.30 on Friday, heading out for three stages in Kershope Forest. The event re-starts at 07.00 on Saturday with three loops of three stages, before returning to Carlisle for the ceremonial finish just before 19.00.

Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship Round 2 - Cronin leads the charge in Cumbria

Posted: April 19, 2010 2:45 PM

While reigning champion Keith Cronin leads the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship after one round, any one of around a dozen drivers could jostle him for podium position on the Pirelli International Rally next weekend.

The 2009 Pirelli Star Driver and new co-driver Barry McNulty have gelled with the Pirelli TEG Sport team well, managing some pre-season testing in the unfamiliar Subaru Impreza to lead the first round from the first stage. But the Kielder stages are ultra fast, arguably suiting the Mitsubishi Evo that some of their competition is driving.

It is in the latest Evolution 10 variant Mitsubishi that 1996 British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans with co-driver Chris Patterson will mount a challenge to the young Irishmen, their JR Motorsports car’s transmission fully repaired after a galling first round retirement.

2009 multiple Fiesta SportTrophy champions Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts are also likely to be quick, but the Fiesta S2000 had fuel pressure problems in Wales while lying second, a fault that has now been resolved. The pair come fresh from Rally Turkey where they lay 19th at the end of the first day.

Inheriting Breen’s second place were Alastair Fisher and double BRC champion Rory Kennedy. But they also suffered transmission failure, so will look to maintain the excellent momentum from seven fastest stage times on the more recent Circuit of Ireland Rally where they finished third overall.

Cronin’s nearest points rivals Dave Weston Jnr and Ieuan Thomas are in an almost identical Subaru. With an outright win on the Border Counties Rally and second place on Rally North Wales the Ramsport pair is up for a fight and will want to at least repeat their podium experience.

A shock result for 2008 Pirelli Star Driver Adam Gould put him third in Wales, but it was an event done on a shoestring for the youngster. However the MSA Team UK member has just had some good news in the form of a £10,000 bursary, so he and Craig Drew have put in a last minute entry in their older Impreza.

Pirelli TEG Sport’s second crew Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton had a cracking start to the season, helping forge a lead in the MSA British Teams Rally Championship with a fourth place in Wales. Retirement on the Pirelli last year means that they have less experience of the stages though, so a good recce will be essential.

A late string of top three times in Wales by Jonny Greer and Dai Roberts in their Evo 9 must put them in the hunt for overall honours in Cumbria. The young driver was fifth here last year and fifth on round one, but with only a handful of weeks between events, their good pace near the finish should carry forward.

Rounding off the top ten are David Bogie/Kevin Rae and Daniel Sigurðarson/Ásta Sigurðardóttir, Bogie having taken third place in 2009, while former Icelandic Champion Sigurðarson has previous experience of the Carlisle-based event in his JR Motorsports team Mitsubishi.

Outside the top ten but certainly worthy of note in four wheel drive cars are former Citroën front-runner Jason Pritchard and African Pirelli Star Driver Peter Horsey. Pritchard improved on every stage in Wales while Kenyan Horsey will hope for a better weekend than this weekend’s Rally Turkey where his car was destroyed by fire.

RALLY 3
In the classes Elfyn Evans and Andrew Edwards will be hard to beat in R3, taking class victory on their Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship debut as well as beating the newer R2 Fiestas in the Fiesta SportTrophy. The Welsh youngster also leads the fight for the prestigious MSA British Teams Rally Championship ahead of Mark Donnelly.

RALLY 2
Class R2 will be hard to call though, as Finnish duo Jarkko Nikara/Petri Nikara were stunning on the Renault Clio R2’s UK debut, overcoming teething problems with the brand new car to even set a top en time on the final Welsh stage.

Citroën C2R2 Max pair Mark Donnelly and Paddy Robinson were the class of the class in Wales, taking victory in the Citroen Racing Trophy as well as R2, also adding a win on his Irish CRT debut a couple of weeks ago.

Despite not being registered for the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, WRC star PG Anderson will be out in a Fiesta R2 to battle it out with the rest, certain to impress in the new shape Fiesta.

RALLY 1
Another star to watch in the two wheel drive category will be Mikko Pajunen with co-driver Janne Perälä. The Finnish crew were a joy to watch in Wales, wringing every ounce out of the Suzuki to win the Swift Sport Cup and class R1 by a country mile.

PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY
The Pirelli International Rally is based entirely at the Carlisle Racecourse from where it starts at 18.30, heading out for three stages in Kershope Forest. The event re-starts at 07.00 on Saturday with three loops of three stages, before returning to Carlisle for the ceremonial finish just before 19.00.

PG Andersson to put Fiesta R2 through its paces at Pirelli Rally

Posted: April 19, 2010 2:30 PM

The border city of Carlisle plays host to Round 3 of the 2010 Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy UK (FST) and Fiesta SportChallenge (FSC) championships next weekend, 23-24 April. Former double FIA Junior World Rally Champion and works Suzuki driver Per Gunnar Andersson will join the 13 regular FST / FSC crews on the event. 30-year-old Andersson and co-driver Anders Fredriksson, both from Arjang in Sweden, will take part in the event in an M-Sport prepared and run Fiesta R2 in an effort to assess the potential of the new car. Andersson’s inclusion on the event will also give the FST crews the chance to see just what takes to compete against a WRC regular. Andersson usually competes in the FIA S-WRC for S2000 cars and has finished on the podium twice in 2010 including winning the opening round, Rally Sweden, in February.

Based at Carlisle Racecourse, the Pirelli Rally also marks the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) and the BRC Challenge (BRCC). The event takes in some of the most renowned stages in Northern England and Southern Scotland including Pundershaw, Sheperdshield and Newcastleton, all of which have featured on both Rally GB and the Roger Albert Clark Rally. The FST section competes alongside the BRC over the 100-stage mile Pirelli International Rally and kicks off with three twilight stages around the Newcastleton area on Friday 23 April. The first three stages are repeated on Saturday morning before the competitors head south for six stages around the Kielder forest area. The FSC event runs alongside the BRC Challenge on the Pirelli Challenge Rally and takes place over stages seven to twelve, around 50-stage miles, of the International event and includes both Pundershaw and Sheperdshield.

FST championship leader, 21 year old Elfyn Evans, from Machynlleth, heads to event on the crest of a wave having won both the opening FST rounds as well as Pirelli Star Driver nomination for the Bulldog Rally. Evans finished second on the Pirelli National Rally in 2008 and will be looking to go one better next weekend. Having been forced to miss Round 2 of the championship Matthew Cathcart makes a welcome return to the series, this time with new co-driver Calvin Cooledge alongside. Cathcart, 18 from Enniskillen finished just 18 seconds behind Evans on the season opener, the Malcolm Wilson Rally and his so far been the closest challenger to the flying Welshman. Cathcart will be looking for a strong result to get his championship challenge back on course.

23-year-old John Boyd, from West Linton and co-driver Craig Wallace leapt from fourth to second in the championship on the Bulldog International Rally thanks to a conservative drive to second. The Scottish pair will be hoping to maintain that momentum in Round 3 and re-enforce that position in the standings.

2009 Scottish Junior Champion John MacCrone, 20 from the Isle of Mull, and co-driver Stuart Louden made their championship debut on the Bulldog International Rally and posted some impressive times despite limited testing in the Rally Team Scotland prepared Fiesta R2. Their progress was hampered however by a puncture on Stage 2, which ultimately cost them over twelve minutes and with it any chance of victory. Tied with new boy MacCrone in fourth position in the standings is 19-year-old Welshman Tom Watson from Glanaman. Watson and co-driver Paul Morris put in a conservative drive to take home a good points haul with third on Round 1 of the championship, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, before a stray wheel cost them any chance of a good result on Round 2. Watson will be hoping to put his bad luck on Round 2 behind him and concentrate on closing the gap to those in front on the Pirelli.

Peter Taylor’s debut season in the FST has so far been plagued with bad luck. A misfire curtailed his progress on Round 1; despite the problems he kept the car on the road to eventually finish fifth and took home a prize cheque for his efforts. Round 2 saw Taylor and co-driver Andy Richardson once again suffer misfortune; a broken driveshaft on Stage 2 forced them out of the event on the spot. Since Round 2 Taylor has competed on the Charterhall Stages Rally to put some more miles on the car and get to the bottom of their teething troubles.

Current Kick Energy Fiesta SportChallenge championship leader Jonny Cunningham, 26, from Galway hasn’t had time to relax since round two of the championship. Cunningham got his Irish Junior Championship title bid underway on the Circuit of Kerry Rally on 11 April 2010. Cunningham switched from his regular Fiesta ST to a Honda Civic, prepared by his father’s Cunningham Motorsport operation, for the event and also switched co-drivers; with Brother Patrick sitting alongside. The pairing survived a spin and a puncture, whilst leading the Junior section of the rally to bring the car home in third. Cunningham will be back with UK co-driver Richard Millener when he crosses the start ramp in Carlisle and the pair will be hoping for more success on the Cumbrian event.

Richard Parry-Jones and Sara Price, from Abermaw enjoyed their best result since returning to competition on the Bulldog Challenge Rally to leap from fourth to second in the standings. Parry-Jones posted a string of impressive stage times on his home event and will be looking to build on that performance next weekend. Third in the FSC standings heading into the Pirelli Challenge Rally is another Welshman, John Pritchard, who has also returned to competition in 2010. Pritchard, from Ruthin, and co-driver Chris Williams have finished third on both FSC events so far and will be aiming to progress further up the podium on the Carlisle based event.

28-year-old Damien Smith, from Silsden in North Yorkshire, posted some impressive times on Round 1 of the 2010 FSC Championship, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, before eventually finishing second. Disaster struck Smith and co-driver Frazer Hutchinson on Round 2 however when transmission troubles forced them out of the event on the very first stage. The pair will be looking to bounce back on the fast, flowing Cumbrian stages next weekend. On both rounds of the 2010 FSC championship, 17 year old Dan O’Brien, from St Albans has made steady progress to gradually build up his pace and currently holds fourth in the standings. O’Brien and co-driver Will Rogers will be out to continue their steady progress this season and consolidate their position in the championship.

Another series debutant making steady progress in 2010 is 20-year-old Alex Laffey from Market Harborough. Laffey finished fifth on the opening round of the championship in March and was running well on Round 2 before an excursion into the trees cost him any chance of a result. Laffey will be partnered by a new co-driver on the Pirelli Challenge Rally, with the experienced Peter Martin taking over the passengers seat. 18-year-old Jamie Brown from Foulsham, Norfolk and co-driver Craig Burgess, currently hold joint fifth in the FSC standings with Laffey. Brown completed the Pirelli Challenge Rally in 2009 and should be well placed to improve on his current championship.

The Fiesta SportTrophy UK competitors will once again be eligible for the Pirelli Star Driver nomination and with the chance to go up against a WRC star the FST regulars will be hoping to give an impressive performance as they battle it out for the £1,850 prize fund.

FST UK Championship Leader Elfyn Evans said:
"We are obviously hoping for a similar result to the Bulldog, but the Pirelli stages are a lot less forgiving than those in North Wales so we will be out to drive neat and tidy whilst keeping the pace as high as we can."

FSC Championship Leader Jonny Cunningham said:
"I have a very busy weekend ahead, as I am also competing on Round 3 of the Irish Junior Championship, in Monaghan. My focus this weekend will be to keep the car on the road and consolidate my lead in the championship."

Double FIA J-WRC Champion Per Gunnar Andersson said:
The Pirelli International Rally will be my first event competing in both the Fiesta R2 and the Dulux Trade British Rally Championship. I am looking forward to competing with the Ford and to see how my pace is in a Front-Wheel-Drive car after two years. The BRC is a totally different challenge for me but the goal is, as always, to win."

Entry Lists Available:

Posted: April 19, 2010 2:29 PM

List of Entries Received:

Posted: April 7, 2010 4:11 PM

Available on the rally website:

Regulations available

Posted: March 22, 2010 12:22 PM

Rally Guide 1

Posted: January 22, 2010 3:58 PM

Rally Guide 1 is available on the event website under Competitors:

Carlisle 2010

Posted: January 22, 2010 3:57 PM

Over the years the Pirelli International Rally has become one of the countries classic events and the 2010 offering promises to be one of the best yet, offering competitors in the MSA British Rally Championship, and the thousands of enthusiasts who annually flock to Cumbria, a great weekends motorsport.

The rally will again be based in Carlisle with the Rally Headquartes including start and finish at Carlisle Racecourse where the state of the art Jubilee Grandstand will provide not only operational facilities but also restaurants, bars and fast food outlets for both crews and spectators.

The weekend will also feature the Pirelli Historic Rally, which will run in tandem with the International event and will be the second round of the highly popular Dunlop/ Gambia MSA Historic Rally Championship. Featuring such legendary makes from yesteryear as the Ford Escort BDA's, Opel Mantas, Talbot Sunbeams and Porsches, this event is a great favourite with rally spectators and a great spectacle.

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2010 12:01 AM

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