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2017 British Rally Championship
Posted: March 15, 2017 8:37 AM - 3688 Hits
Rally star Pryce aims for British and world glory in 2017
Posted: March 15, 2017 8:37 AM
Welsh rally star Osian Pryce will chase this year's Prestone British Rally Championship (BRC) title as well as glory on the world stage in his biggest and most exciting programme ever.
Osian will drive an Alphera-Hills Ford-backed Ford Fiesta R5 in the BRC, starting with this week's Border Counties Rally in Scotland.
In addition to his seven-round British commitment, Pryce will tackle three rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in a Ford Fiesta R5 prepared by two-time world champion squad M-Sport.
Pryce's entry at Rally Poland and Rally Finland comes courtesy of winning last year's Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, the WRC-based one-make series for world rallying's most promising young drivers.
"This is my biggest year ever," said Pryce, 24, "it's what I've been working towards since I started in the sport at the age of 16.
"The Prestone British Rally Championship is unfinished business for me. I competed against Britain's best for three years; I finished third in the first season and second in the next two. I've got the chance to close the BRC out now and that's really important for me."
The BRC has moved on since Pryce last competed at the highest level of British rallying. The series is now dominated by high-tech, four-wheel-drive turbo-charged R5 category rally cars, cutting edge machinery designed to get the best out of the drivers while offering fans the best show on earth. And there will be plenty of competition for Osian and co-driver Dale Furniss.
"The BRC is going to be a huge battle this year," said Pryce. "There are a lot of drivers in different cars and all of them are capable of scoring well and challenging for the title. More importantly, a lot of the guys did the series last year and banked plenty of data from the rallies.
"I guess we come to the championship as underdogs; we've got less experience of the R5 car than most and we've been away from the BRC for a couple of years. Take this week's Border Counties [Rally] as an example, I've never driven these Tweed Valley stages before. But I'm not worried about that. Dale and I will just get on with what we're doing."
Osian's BRC is supported by Alphera and Hills Ford, with the Fiesta R5 prepared by Spencer Sport.
"I've got a lot to thank Alphera and Hills Ford for," said Pryce. "I'm looking forward to putting together a campaign which will repay their faith in Dale and I. As for Spencer Sport, they're ideally placed to be running a car in the BRC; they have great knowledge of the rallies, the conditions and the set-up needed to get the most out of me and the Fiesta."
Ten rallies at the highest domestic and world level of rallying represents the perfect year for Pryce.
"Apart from a full World Rally Championship campaign, this is about the perfect season," he said. "The amount of time I'm going to be spending in the Ford Fiesta R5 will be invaluable this year and combining the BRC and WRC is a fantastic solution for us."
Pryce's first two WRC outings of the season will be backed by DMACK and M-Sport, while he returns to the Alphera/Hills Ford Fiesta R5 for his home WRC round, October's Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.
Pryce's programme was tailored following an invaluable morning spent at M-Sport's Dovenby Hall headquarters in Cumbria, where he met with former British Rally Champion and now head of M-Sport's vast world championship effort Malcolm Wilson OBE.
"The time I spent with Malcolm was so, so useful," said Pryce. "We talked through everything and it became clear where my priorities lay: I want to win the BRC, but Poland and Finland give me the chance to get out at the highest level, driving for the team which is leading the World Rally Championship. That's an unbelievable opportunity and one I want to make the most of. The priority will be to learn as much as we can during Poland and Finland and then have a big WRC attack when we come home to Wales for Rally GB."
The first of Osian's perfect 10 comes in the Scottish Borders on Friday (March 17).
Osian Pryce Q&A
Starting with the Border Counties, how concerned are you that you've never competed there before?
OP: "I'm genuinely not worried about that. At the end of the day we'll get the same two-pass recce as everybody else and what follows is a stretch of road to drive as quickly as possible along. That's all there is to it, no need to overcomplicate it or over-think it."
How did the deal with Hills Ford come along?
OP: "I was doing some tutoring with Will Hill, he's the son of Tim Hill, one of the owners of Hills Ford. I got talking to them and we did a deal for last year's Wales Rally GB. That was all a bit of a rush job and I don't think anybody felt we did the best job possible - so the agreement carried over to the British Rally Championship. Hills Ford has been fantastic, not least because of their help in DDFT (Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy) last year, but this year, they're bringing Alphera, the team's principal backer with them."
Hills Ford, haven't we heard of them in rallying before?
OP: "Absolutely, but you might better remember them as Brooklyn Ford. This was the team that was running guys like Gwyndaf Evans and Phil Collins in the British Rally Championship in the late Eighties."
Who will be your biggest rival this year?
OP: "That's a tricky one, there are so many good drivers out there to choose from. I guess Keith [Cronin] is probably the one, he's got good speed and a championship-winning pedigree."
You'll be in the dark for the start of the season, quite literally. The first two stages of the 2017 Prestone British Rally Championship are a brace of nighttime runs through the Craik stage. Looking forward to that?
OP: "Absolutely. I love driving in the dark. I've done a bit of it on Rally GB and some other events. It's a great part of the challenge and, as long as we've got the right lights on and they're all set-up well, I love it - it's such a sensory thing when you're going 100mph between the trees in the pitch black!"
This year's BRC goes to the world-famous Ypres Rally this year. Have you been there before?
OP: "I haven't done Ypres before, so I'm really looking forward to it. By that point we will have had a few events in the car, so we should be more familiar with the Fiesta, the team and everything. I've heard so many stories about that rally, it'll be fantastic to get out there and see what it's all about. It'll also be nice to be heading south, having driven up the M6 for the first three rounds of the BRC!"
You're going to be running on DMACK tyres in the WRC, what about the BRC?
OP: "Yes, we'll be using DMACKs all year. It makes a lot of sense for me to get used to the DMACKs in the BRC, so we're fully up to speed for the world championship events. I worked closely with DMACK last season and it's a great opportunity for me to continue a relationship with a young and dynamic company like DMACK."
What about the WRC rounds, how much are you looking forward to them?
OP: "Massively! I've done Poland a couple of times and run well there - we were leading the class on both occasions before we had mechanical trouble - third time lucky this year! Poland's a great place, it's so quick. What's really good is that it comes in the middle of three back-to-back events, so we start there absolutely match-fit."
OP: "Finland's just huge. There's lots made about Finland being rallying's spiritual home, but until you get there and fly a car flat-out through the air on the Ouninpohja stage, you just can't believe how true that really is! This will be one of the highlights of the year as well as a gilt-edged opportunity to work with M-Sport."
Finally, what about Wales?
OP: "There's no place like home! When I was talking to Malcolm Wilson, he looked at our programme and highlighted the opportunity we had in Wales. Like he said, we come home on the back of nine rallies at a really high level. We'll come home right on the boil and hopefully on the back of a very successful season. This year's Wales Rally GB could be the icing on our cake!"
Devine/Moriarty to join Junior BRC in a Ford Fiesta R2T
Posted: March 8, 2017 10:47 AM
Irishman Callum Devine will contest the Junior BRC after penning a deal with MH Motorsport to run in a turbo-charged Ford Fiesta R2T with Keith Moriarty calling the notes for the young-gun.
The regaining Irish Tarmac Junior Champion and Celtic 2WD Champion used an Opel ADAM R2 in the BRC4 category in 2016, claiming the class win on home soil last August on the Ulster Rally. The 22-year-old was looking to progress his rallying career and Britain's premier rallying series was his calling.
"Last year we did the Irish Tarmac Championship and I wanted to progress on gravel and the BRC seemed the natural progression for that. Last year the series looked fantastic and it's going to be the same again this year and I think it will be even more competitive and I am keen to get at it."
Devine got his first taste of his new machine at a MH Motorsport group test last week weekend, and the Irish star is raring to go with his new project.
"After my test at the weekend I was very impressed with the Fiesta, it feels like a proper car and feels big and sturdy and very stable. I took a bit of time to get used to a turbo but it's all learning. MH Motorsport is a good set-up. They are really organised and to have a good test before the first round was a real bonus."
Callum joins an all-star line-up at MH Motorsport with the Tarmac ace being joined by Oscar Solberg in a sister Ford.
"I think it's great to have Oscar [Solberg] as a team mate. He is a really nice guy and I hope to get a few tips off him about the gravel and maybe he wants some about Tarmac, or maybe he doesn't! It will be good to work with someone and compare set-ups and data to drive the team forward."
Devine may have limited experience on the loose, but Callum has an ace up his sleeve. His asphalt skills are unquestionable and a visit to the infamous Ypres last year will surely be invaluable in his BRC campaign.
"I did Ypres last year in the Opel and had a huge amount of fun. We had a bit of bad luck and got stuck, but we managed to get going again. It's a real specialist event and I look forward to the fight in the Juniors but it will be interesting to see the guys in BRC1 against the top crews from Belgium.
Ahead of the new year, a relaxed, yet determined Devine was eager to get going and mix it with the other Junior runners and prove his worth.
"I have no experience in a front-wheel-drive turbo car so on the first few rallies we want to go there, get our notes right and put some points on the board. I don't know where we will be, but I hope to be on the pace when the helmet goes on. When we get to the Tarmac rounds, we are going to give it all we have got."
Further prize fund from Peugeot Sport for Junior BRC drivers
Posted: March 8, 2017 10:31 AM
The Prestone MSA British Rally Championship in conjunction with UK and Ireland Peugeot Sport distributor, Race and Rally, is delighted to announce a 10,000 Euro prize fund for drivers running Peugeot 208 R2s in the Junior BRC in 2017.
Race and Rally will be offering full technical support plus a substantial parts and components service at all seven rounds in 2017. Further strengthening its commitment to Britain's premier rallying series, the company will be offering highly sought-after prizes for each rally in the action-packed British Championship.
The highest placed Peugeot 208 R2 driver in the Junior BRC on each rally will receive a 1,000 Euro parts voucher while the first Peugeot driver home in the final championship standings will bag a 3,000 Euro parts voucher prize. Coupled with the STG30,000 fund for the overall Junior BRC champion - this strengthens the substantial prize fund for any driver looking to progress onto the international stage.
BRC Championship Manager, Iain Campbell, welcomed the commitment from Race and Rally and Peugeot Sport.
"We are hugely excited to welcome the involvement of Peugeot Sport and Race and Rally to the BRC in 2017. The support, service and back-up will be vital to our competitors and the parts vouchers are real campaign-enhancing prizes.
"The Junior BRC is a fantastic proving ground for young crews with last year's champion, Robert Duggan, stepping up to the Junior World Championship. This year's STG30,000 cash prize is a real incentive to help crews progress their careers further and that will be boosted by this announcement.
"We already have four Peugeot 208 R2 crews registered this year and the 10,000 Euro parts fund will hopefully entice more 208 R2 drivers to come and take on some of the world's best asphalt and gravel stages."
Raymond Moore from Race and Rally is excited to increase the company's role in the BRC.
"We have been involved in the BRC for many years through the Citro?n brand with its R3 products and more recently with its R5 cars and the Peugeot 208 R2. The 208 is the most successful R2 car with over 300 built and through the parts vouchers prize scheme, we wanted to help support those with the car and help the drivers build for the future.
"If we wind the clock back we have supported Kris Meeke, Marty McCormack and previous BRC champions Keith Cronin and Daniel McKenna to name but a few through the ranks. In 2017 we are expecting a really good fight in the Junior BRC and I think the Peugeot crews will be at the sharp end, challenging for the title.
"The PSA Group have always helped drivers through the formula. With Kris Meeke and Craig Breen at the top level, the UK and Ireland is where Citro?n and Peugeot are keenly looking for the next crop of rallying talent."
The action-packed Prestone MSA British Rally Championship takes in seven rounds across the British Isles with the exciting inclusion of Ypres Rally in Belgium offering a demanding mid-season challenge, and the first overseas round for the BRC.
Round one of the 2017 series gets underway in Jedburgh, Scotland with the Border Counties Rally on 17/18 March. Keep tabs on all the latest BRC developments by visiting www.msabrc.com or following us on social media: MSA British Rally Championship on Facebook, @MSA_BRC on Twitter and @MSABRC on Instagram using #BRC
CRONIN/GALVIN CONFIRM FULL BRC SEASON
Posted: February 28, 2017 3:03 PM
Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin are confirmed to contest this year's Prestone MSA British Rally Championship with M-Sport and the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta R5.
Contesting all seven events, Cronin's Fiesta will be clad with DMACK tyres which claimed the championship laurels last year and sport an M-Sport livery which draws inspiration from those made popular by Ott Tanak and Sebastien Ogier in the FIA World Rally Championship.
As a three-time British Rally Champion, Cronin knows what it takes to excel in what is fast becoming one of the best proving grounds for rallying's elite and will be keen to prove his potential as he makes his debut with the M-Sport team.
With more than 10 years of rallying experience under his belt, Cronin has contested a number of events and championships throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as impressing on the world stage.
Debuting in his homeland in 2006, it did not take long for the Irishman to become a regular podium contender and he claimed his first British Rally Championship title in 2009. That success was followed by two further British Championships in 2010 and 2012.
In 2013, he ventured to the world stage and instantly impressed in the WRC 3 category ? claiming victory at the event every driver wants to win, Neste Oil Rally Finland.
Returning to more familiar soil last year, Cronin was crowned Ireland's Tarmac Rally Champion and is now relishing the opportunity to compete for further success.
With no previous experience of M-Sport's acclaimed range of Ford Fiesta rally cars, Cronin took to the wheel for the Carrick-on-Suir Wm. Loughman Forestry Rally earlier this month and secured a fine third place on his debut with the car.
Gaining more experience of his new charge in the lead-up to the Border Counties Rally in mid-March, Cronin will also contest the Malcolm Wilson Rally so as to familiarise himself further with the Fiesta in anticipation of an exciting new chapter in his career.
With Ford having registered as a manufacturer for the national championship, Cronin will also have an opportunity to add to the Blue Oval's impressive rallying pedigree.
Keith Cronin said:
"I'm really looking forward to the season ahead and to be working with M-Sport as we chase success on the stages of the British Rally Championship. It's a fantastic series which has really come into its own recently and I can't wait to be back competing in the championship.
"I'm really excited about the Fiesta R5. I've not had a lot of seat time, but we'll get a couple of rallies under our belt before the start of the season and hopefully it won't take us long to find our feet.
"M-Sport are known for developing winning cars and my initial feeling has been good. The Fiesta is a great car to drive. It handles really well and I hope we'll be able to challenge for some top results this year.
"It's also great to have DMACK on board. Last year, they proved that their products are capable of winning rallies, and championships. The level of development that they are undertaking is really impressive, and it's great to be involved."
Gerard Quinn, Senior Manager at Ford Performance, said:
"Ford is the most successful manufacturer in the British Rally Championship taking the title no less than nineteen times so it is appropriate that one of the championships most successful drivers, Keith Cronin, will return to the series in a Ford Fiesta R5 in 2017.
"He has won the title on three occasions, the last back in 2012, and is the current Irish Tarmac Champion so he has got the tenacity and professionalism required to win a challenging championship such as this.
"I am proud that a fellow Cork resident will be competing in one of the most prestigious championships in rallying today. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Ford in Ireland and Henry's ancestral home is also in West Cork so it is fitting that a driver from the locality will be defending Ford honours in the British Rally Championship this year."
Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport Managing Director, said:
"The British Rally Championship has always been a cornerstone of the rallying community both nationally and internationally. Having won the title with Elfyn Evans last year, it was important for us to continue our support of the series and I think we have another exciting season ahead of us.
"Once again, Ford will be competing for the manufacturer title and M-Sport will also register in the teams' championship. We know that the Fiesta provides a competitive package, and we'll be looking to prove that once again by competing for some top results throughout the season."
British Rally Championship ready for second coming
Posted: February 22, 2017 6:40 AM
With just five weeks until the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally (17-18 March) blasts off in the famous forests around Jedburgh in south-east Scotland, the countdown to the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship has begun.
Building on the many notable successes of last season's relaunched series, the 2017 title race will be decided over seven challenging rounds in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Belgium, before culminating on the season's final encounter on the Isle of Man in September.
This year's championship not only boasts an exciting new title partner in Prestone, one of the world's leading coolant/antifreeze brands, but will also crown a brand new champion whose name will be added to a roll of honour that includes a host of rally sport's top stars. Legends such as Roger Clark, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Pentii Airikkala, Jimmy McRae, Stig Blomqvist, Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Malcolm Wilson who are all past BRC champions.
Elfyn Evans claimed the title in 2016 and, like so many before him, the victorious Welshman has taken the platform of winning the British Rally Championship to launch himself back onto the FIA World Championship stage.
The BRC has always been hailed as the ultimate proving ground for future champions, with its unique mix of asphalt and gravel events and no national rally series can match the challenge, or boast such an impressive history as the BRC. Little wonder that the most ambitious rally drivers in Britain and across the world will be hoping to add their name to the coveted trophy come September.
This year's battle for overall supremacy begins in typically dramatic style. In just 35-days' time, the class of 2017 will kick off their ambitious campaigns outside Jedburgh's historic 12th Century Abbey. A Friday evening challenge offers two attention-grabbing special stages run in darkness ? an awe-inspiring start to what promises to be another outstanding and, in some cases, career-defining BRC season.
While the BRC's class structure provides categories and prizes for all-comers, the front-runners will come from the top category of high-tech, four-wheel-drive, turbocharged pocket-rockets. It's a flourishing category that has attracted huge interest from competitors, fans and manufacturers. Citroen, Ford, Peugeot, Proton and Skoda were all well represented in the 2016 BRC and, with other major brands such as Hyundai and Volkswagen now joining the R5 bandwagon, the competition is only going to get stronger and more exciting.
"2016 was just the start of a new era for the BRC," confirms Managing Director, Ben Taylor. "This year is going to take the UK's premier championship to another level. We have an exciting new sponsor, fabulous TV deals and a host of drivers throughout the classes who are going to do battle on great stages. Everyone is looking to up their game in 2017 ? events, teams, drivers, sponsors and of course us as championship organisers too. It's going to be a great year and we can't wait to get started."
A full entry list for next month's opening round of the 2017 Prestone British Rally Championship will be published in a month's time.
LAFFEY CONFIRMS FULL BRC SEASON WITH M-SPORT'S FORD FIESTA R5
Posted: February 22, 2017 6:30 AM
Alex Laffey and Dai Roberts will contest this year's MSA British Rally Championship with M-Sport's Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta R5. Contesting all seven events throughout the 2017 season, the pairing will look to continue their development in one of rallying's best proving grounds for up-and-coming talent.
Since starting his career with the Ford Fiesta ST in 2009, Laffey has been a regular on the British rally scene and has since progressed through the ranks with M-Sport's range of Ford Fiesta rally cars.
Securing his first outright victory at the 2014 edition of the Rally of the Midlands, Laffey is hungry for more and keen to make his mark on the national rally series.
Contesting the championship behind the wheel of the Fiesta R5 last year, Laffey went up against some of the biggest names in rallying ? in direct competition with the likes of Elfyn Evans who won three stages at the opening round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship.
Having regularly challenged for the top-ten positions, the Scotsman will be looking to be a regular points-scoring contender throughout this year's championship and is determined to further develop his skills with the aid of M-Sport's guidance and expertise.
Enjoying support from providers of high quality student accommodation, U-Student, as well as tyre giants Pirelli, the pairing will also proudly display their association with the Gareth Roberts Memorial Fund ? a charity in memory of co-driver Robert's late brother which is dedicated to supporting the rally community throughout the British Isles.
Both partners as well as the charity are proudly displayed on Laffey's eye-catching new livery which draws inspiration from his Scottish roots with a purple and lime-green tartan-enthused design.
To prepare for the season ahead, Laffey and Roberts will contest next month's Malcolm Wilson Rally which runs from M-Sport's hometown of Cockermouth. With 40 miles of stages through some of the most iconic forests in the English Lake District National Park, the event will provide the perfect test for the season ahead.
Alex Laffey said:
"Once again I am really excited to be working with M-Sport. I really enjoyed last year's championship and it is great to be coming back for another year. I really want to bring my pace on again this season, and working with M-Sport will provide the prefect platform for that. I am also really happy to have Dai [Roberts] on board calling the notes this season. He has a lot of experience and will make a great addition to the team."
Famous Five - Tyre War
Posted: February 16, 2017 2:07 PM
The 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship is set to be one of the most eagerly-anticipated and close-fought seasons in the championship's history. Not only will it be a battle between crews and marques - adding to the warfare are five tyre manufacturing giants who are all eager to lock horns across the seven-round series.
All classes in Britain's premier rallying series allow an open tyre choice for 2017, with crews being able to choose between the five registered tyre manufacturers - DMACK, Hankook, Kumho, Michelin and Pirelli.
The BRC is home to some of the most challenging stages in the world, with tough and demanding tests right across the British Isles. Tarmac, gravel, mud and even snow and ice were all present in 2016 with tyre choices playing an important part in the overall strategy in the fight for supremacy. A new challenge in the form of Ypres in northern Belgium will add another dimension to the exciting series, with the first overseas round for the BRC in several decades.
Introducing the contenders?
Defending BRC1 champion DMACK will be eager to defend its title in 2017. Rather than running its own team, the Carlisle firm has opted to spread its knowledge and support several teams this year in the pursuit of success in all classes.
Contact: Glenn Patterson - email@example.com
Hankook is the new kid on the BRC block in 2017. Reigning BRC2 Matt Edwards has already signalled his intent by becoming the first to register for the forthcoming season. The Fiesta R5 driver will be out to prove the South Korean marque can mix it with the best in the rallying world.
Contact: Paul Dyas - firstname.lastname@example.org
Marty McCormack proved the capabilities of Kumho's products in 2016 aboard his Skoda Fabia S2000. McCormack has a new Fabia R5 and equipped with the finest products from Kumho, this partnership is expected to be at the sharp end from the start. Kumho also had title success in 2016, with Tony Simpson claiming the BRC4 category crown.
Contact: Steve Thompson - email@example.com
Michelin was one of the major forces in last season's BRC. The French brand notched up seven BRC podiums in the top flight, with Tom Cave and Desi Henry doing the honours in 2016. Cave would go on to finish second in the driver standings behind WRC star Elfyn Evans. Robert Blomberg flew the flag for the French firm in the National Rally Cup, with the Swede taking the title on the Isle of Man in his Michelin-shod Mitsubishi Mirage.
Contact: Tim Hoare - firstname.lastname@example.org
Pirelli enjoyed a fruitful campaign in 2016, with success at all levels in the BRC. The Italian marque took two BRC wins with Josh Moffett on the Tarmac of the Circuit of Ireland, while Fredrik Ahlin reigned supreme on the gravel of the Pirelli Carlisle. Pirelli rubber helped Jonny Greer to claim two podiums on his way to third in the BRC1 standings. Elsewhere, the firm guided Chris Wheeler and Tom Williams to BRC3 and BRC5 titles respectively.
Contact: Steve Harkness - email@example.com
"We are delighted to welcome five massive brands to the BRC in 2017," enthused Iain Campbell, BRC Championship Manager.
"DMACK, Hankook, Kumho, Michelin and Pirelli have all registered to become tyre suppliers this year and will be supporting every round of the series. The level of competition is going to be so high and the level of choice has blown everything wide open, providing another exciting element to the inter-class battles."
The wait is almost over. The 2017 season is set to blast off in Jedburgh on 17/18 March. Which tyre manufacturer will come out on top on the Border Counties Rally? Only time will tell.
NETWORK Q INCREASES ITS SUPPORT FOR BRITISH RALLYING
Posted: January 14, 2017 4:29 PM
Network Q is extending and expanding its long running and successful association with British rallying.
The renowned used Vauxhall brand announced today (Friday 13 January) that it has renewed its position as the official 'Preparation Partner' for Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, the UK's round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Furthermore, Network Q will be expanding its support for the sport in the UK by also becoming the official 'Preparation Partner' to the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship.
These two partnership deals tie into the company's ongoing 'Preparation is Everything' campaign, which is designed to highlight the extensive preparation process each Network Q vehicle undergoes before sale.
Network Q will supply 60 vehicles to help with the preparation of this year's Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October). A variety of vehicles will be used to set up the rally, from laying out the competitive special stages, to transporting vital timing equipment. Vehicles will be supplied to assist the smooth running of the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship at all seven rounds.
Derek Wilson, Network Q Operations Director, said:
"We are delighted to continue our long history of supporting rallying in the UK with our partnership with both the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship and the 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB this year. Our support will form part of the Network Q 'Preparation is Everything' campaign, designed to demonstrate how correct preparation is vitally important for optimal performance.
"Meticulous preparation remains at the heart of the Network Q proposition and we hope the support we provide will help to ensure the smooth running all the events this year."
Network Q was title sponsor of the International Rally of Great Britain for 10 years between 1993 and 2002. More recently, it sponsored the WRGB National Rally as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations in 2015 and last year became 'Preparation Partner' to the main World Championship event.
Ben Taylor, Managing Director of International Motor Sports Ltd, commented:
"Network Q has always appreciated the many benefits rallying has to offer and we are delighted that it is increasing its support for the sport in 2017.
"The vehicles provided by Network Q performed vital and valuable roles in the successful staging of last autumn's Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. Whether it is setting up a World Championship event or organising a major national championship, preparation is always key to having an event that runs like clockwork. The provision of these vehicles, though, really helps make these mammoth tasks a great deal more efficient."
M-SPORT SUPPORT ASPIRING AUTOMOTIVE STUDENTS
Posted: January 14, 2017 4:28 PM
M-Sport are teaming up with Harper Adams University this year as students contest the 2017 Junior British Rally Championship with the Ford Fiesta R2 National.
Following Harper Adam's inclusion of an Automotive Engineering course which further develops the university's expanding Engineering Department, exciting opportunities have arisen and the Shropshire-based students will become the first to field an independent team at national level.
Offering a unique opportunity en route to graduation, all positions within the Harper Adams Motorsport Team - from the driver to the service crew - will be filled by those studying for their degrees.
James McDiarmid (21, Automotive Engineering) will take up the driving duties alongside Max Haines-Messenger (21, Automotive Engineering) calling the notes.
McDiarmid has some rally experience having contested single venue events on both gravel and asphalt, but this year will pose a completely different challenge. The youngster has also had experience in the navigator's seat with a number of events in the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship which include four finishes at the Tour of Mull.
The post of Logistics Manager will be filled by Will Coldicott (21, Automotive Engineering) and the demands of engineering will fall to Dan Markham (21, Automotive Engineering). The service crew will comprise of first and second year students keen to further their practical skills.
Having taken delivery of M-Sport's Fiesta R2 National in mid-November, the team have been working hard alongside their studies to strip and prepare the car. Just before Christmas, the shell returned from the paint shop and is now in the process of a full rebuild before pre-season testing.
Known for fostering young talent, M-Sport are also proactive in furthering the careers of those who aspire to work behind the scenes. Introducing students to valued clients CA1 Sport and Autotek last year, the youngsters were able to gain first-hand experience of what to expect at the highest level of the British Rally Championship.
The Harper Adams Motorsport Team will be at the Autosport International Show in the UK this weekend. All those interested in discovering more about their programme should visit the team at stand 7110 or contact the university at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"We're delighted to be able to help the students of Harper Adams University with this unique and challenging new project. I met the students last year and was blown away by their passion, commitment and determination.
"They knew exactly what they wanted to do, and had a plan in place to make it happen. We're always looking to inspire the next generation, and this initiative does just that with a group of proactive and talented youngsters who have the aspiration and work ethic to match.
"It's something I respect tremendously, and we're proud to support their initiative."
Max Haines-Messenger, Harper Adams University student, said:
"We are very thankful to the entire M-Sport team. The support, time and trust that they have invested in us has been invaluable. Thanks to their generosity, we have spent the past year developing a wealth of knowledge and experience that will see us face this new challenge head-on.
"We must give a special thank-you to Malcolm for making it all possible. Now, we're looking forward to getting out on the stages and proving that his faith has been well-placed."
British Rally Championship welcomes Prestone as new title partner
Posted: January 12, 2017 3:42 PM
The MSA British Rally Championship is delighted to announce a new title partnership with Prestone, the number one antifreeze and coolant brand in the US. As a result, Britain's premier rallying series will be known as the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship.
Prestone products are a perfect match for the challenging conditions of the British Rally Championship as the brand ?Excels in Extremes'. Last year the BRC crews encountered the full range of extremes, from snow and ice, wind and rain to sun-kissed asphalt, as the drivers and co-drivers took on the gravel and mud-lined stages to do battle with each other against the clock.
The BRC is steeped in history, with 38 different champions on the winners' trophy since its inception in 1958. Legendary names such as McRae, Burns, Vatanen and Clark were joined by rising Welsh star Elfyn Evans in 2016 after a dominant display in the DMACK-backed Ford Fiesta R5.
With the new season fast approaching, anticipation is building. The action-packed seven-round series will once more cover the length and breadth of the British Isles, with stages in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. For the first time the BRC will venture overseas with the exciting inclusion of the Ypres Rally in Belgium in June.
Free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4 will once again beam dramatic on-board shots, picturesque aerial footage and heat-of-the-moment interviews from every round ? the coverage in 2016 reached more than 1 million people, captivating rally fans old and new.
"We are thrilled to welcome Prestone to the BRC as title partner," said Ben Taylor, Managing Director of championship organiser International Motor Sports. "To secure the backing of such a major brand is a huge endorsement of what we achieved last year and enables us to push forward with the development of the championship to make it even stronger in 2017. As a brand, there can be no better fit than with the sport of rallying ? testing man and machine against the elements and the clock. We look forward to working closely together to ensure that the BRC provides the perfect marketing platform throughout the year, building to a presence on Dayinsure Wales Rally GB in October where Prestone will also be an official supplier."
Head of Marketing for Prestone, Claire Fenton said:
"We are incredibly excited to be named as the title partner to the MSA British Rally Championship. The drivers and cars involved in the competition literally ?Excel in Extremes', just like Prestone, battling through the elements and pushing to the very limit. The conditions facing the British Rally Championship are exactly what Prestone has been designed and tested for, using engineered technology in the most challenging environments to protect the engine and perform in even the most extreme conditions.
"We can't wait to get involved in the action, out on the stages and under the bonnet of some of the world's most extreme rallying machines."
Round one of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship gets underway in Jedburgh, Scotland with the Border Counties Rally on 17/18 March. Keep tabs on all the latest BRC developments by visiting www.msabrc.com or following us on social media: MSA British Rally Championship on Facebook , @MSA_BRC on Twitter and @MSABRC on Instagram using #BRC
2017 Junior British Rally Champion set to scoop STG 30,000 cash prize
Posted: January 9, 2017 4:46 PM
The 2017 Junior British Rally Champion will take home a massive cash prize of STG 30,000 after a closed-season shake-up in the series' tyre regulations.
The organisers of the MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) are delighted to announce that, in response to competitor feedback from last year's extraordinarily competitive contest, the Junior BRC will adopt an open tyre format this year. This moves the Junior BRC into line with the rest of the championship and offers the champion a substantial cash prize worth STG 30,000 to put towards their 2018 career development.
Open to any driver under the age of 26 on 1/1/17, the Junior BRC will once again be a competitive proving ground for crews as they tackle some of the best forest stages and Tarmac tests in FIA-homologated R2 cars. BRC-registered crews will go head-to-head across the seven-round series, which takes in events in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales before the season finale on the Isle of Man. New for 2017 is the addition of the legendary Ypres Rally in Belgium; the first overseas round for Britain's premier rallying series.
Last year the junior series became the hottest place for young global rallying talent with drivers from Australia, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the UK battling it out over seven events in models from Ford, Renault and Vauxhall. 2016 champion Robert Duggan and co-driver Gerard Conway produced a stellar performance to claim a prize which could propel them onto the World Rally Championship stage.
BRC Championship Manager Iain Campbell is excited about the new format and is looking forward to another exciting chapter in the Junior BRC story.
"A year ago we set out to create a junior championship that would help the best young drivers progress their careers - and after a sensational 2016 season, we can say just that," he said. "Rob and Gerard were pushed hard by an array of talented crews, but they were worthy champions and will hopefully use the BRC as a springboard for their rallying careers.
"DMACK provided fantastic support last year to the whole championship, but particularly with the amazing prize that they put up for the Juniors. However, we have always believed that the entire BRC should be an open tyre format if possible, and we will build the prestige of the junior series with all the registered tyre companies committing to the championship rather than individual teams.
"The enquiries we have already had confirm that this is going to be another great year of competition in the Juniors. The winner will now have a pot of cash to take with them to their next challenge, while all the drivers and co-drivers in the Junior BRC will once again be supported in their development by having access to the coaches and tutors of the MSA Academy."
Round one of the MSA British Rally Championship gets underway in Jedburgh with the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally on 17/18 March.
Border Counties Rally to open 2017 BRC season
Posted: January 9, 2017 4:44 PM
The MSA British Rally Championship has announced a change to its 2017 calendar, with the season now starting with the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally on 17/18 March.
The Jedburgh-based event organised by the Harwick & Border Car Club and Whickham & District Motor Club becomes the curtain raiser for Britain's premier rallying series after last week's cancellation of the Mid Wales Stages.
The one-day shoot-out across the challenging gravel stages will offer BRC competitors a full day's action over the Scottish lowlands with the route passing through the Tweed Valley and Kielder. Jedburgh Town Hall will play host to Rally HQ, providing a central location for scrutineering, documentation and the Ceremonial Start and Finish while the Service Park will be based at the Newtown St Boswells Mart.
"After the disappointment of losing the Mid Wales Stages, we were delighted that the Border Counties came forward to host the opening round," said BRC Championship Manager Iain Campbell. "Putting the best of the BRC against the Scottish Championship competitors will offer a great challenge on stages once used in the World Rally Championship. The event organisers have been brilliant so far and we are already working hard with them to ensure that everything is in place for the opening round and there will be more announcements to come about the Border Counties in the next few days."
Registrations for the MSA British Rally Championship open at the Autosport International show and at www.msabrc.com on Thursday 12 January - the same day that a new title sponsor for the series will be announced. Entries for the first round of the 2017 BRC - the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally - will open on Wednesday 1 February.
Keep tabs on all the latest BRC developments by visiting www.msabrc.com or following us on social media: MSA British Rally Championship on Facebook, @MSA_BRC on Twitter and @MSABRC on Instagram using #BRC
BRC continues free-to-air coverage on Channel 4 in 2017
Posted: December 16, 2016 9:55 AM
The MSA British Rally Championship is delighted to announce its continued partnership with mainstream terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 for the 2017 season.
Building upon the successful relaunch of Britain's premier rallying series in 2016, Channel 4 will show a 30-minute highlights programme on the Saturday morning after each round next season, with a repeat broadcast the following week. The action will also be available to view on Channel 4's online catch-up service, All 4, shortly afterwards.
Channel 4's coverage reached more than 1,000,000 viewers during the 2016 series as World Rally Championship star Elfyn Evans battled his way to title success ? 20 years after his father Gwyndaf took the same accolade. Dramatic on-board shots, picturesque aerial footage and heat-of-the-moment interviews are woven into the stage-side action across the gravel and Tarmac tests ? captivating rally fans old and new.
"When we set out to revamp the BRC, we identified that free-to-air television coverage was one of the biggest priorities to help establish the credibility of the new championship," explained BRC Managing Director, Ben Taylor.
"We are delighted that the series has been well received in an encouraging first year and that has enabled us to extend our relationship with Channel 4. We have some exciting plans to develop the programme and build on the strong content that Hayfisher produced in 2016 to ensure that we reach wider audiences."
"2016 was a fantastic year and to see the BRC come back with such a bang was truly special," enthused Hayfisher Productions Director, Richard Hay. "Hayfisher Productions is delighted to once again be producing BRC shows for Channel 4. We loved making the programmes and what really struck me was the enthusiasm from my team, the BRC team and all of the crews to make the series great again ? it was infectious. Rallying in Britain continues to grow and we look forward to working with everyone again to grow the series further and bring the action to Channel 4 in 2017."
The seven-round series will once more cover the length and breadth of the British Isles in 2017, with rallies in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man as well as the exciting inclusion of the Ypres Rally in Belgium, the first overseas event in British Rally Championship history.
Calendar Updated - Date Change for Nicky Grist Stages
Posted: December 9, 2016 3:26 AM
Updated calendar below:
Back to the BRC: Marty McCormack moves to R5 mount
Posted: November 30, 2016 11:28 AM
Marty McCormack will return to the MSA British Rally Championship for a full campaign in a Tiger Risk Skoda Fabia R5 for the 2017 season.
The Northern Irishman impressed in his older S2000-specification Skoda Fabia this year, tackling four rounds in the naturally-aspirated machine. Having recently acquired an ex-Neil Simpson Fabia R5, McCormack enters his third year with the Czech manufacturer and hopes the turbo switch will provide him with the perfect platform for an assault on Britain's premier rallying series.
"Whilst watching Wales Rally GB, the Skodas looked very capable on the gravel and I was impressed with how they coped with the surface changes and the ruts," explained McCormack. "I had several options on the table but I really wanted to continue with the Skoda brand.
"The BRC is where I want to be. To have Ypres included is fantastic, and the atmosphere from the championship is better than say the ERC. The events are great and the bite-size formats are good logistically making it good fun, yet a cost-effective championship to go and do. The competition was so strong in 2016 and if you want to win you have to be at the top of your game."
Differential failure before the start of the Mid Wales Stages was a disappointing way to kick off last season, but the Ulster star shone on home soil, proving that in the right hands S2000 machinery can be a match for the R5 cars. Flying through the Tarmac lanes around Belfast, McCormack along with navigator David Moynihan led the event and enjoyed a day-long scrap with Fredrik Ahlin. All the good work was to be sadly undone by a fuel pump failure on the second day, however, putting an end to their giant-killing performance.
The 31-year-old bagged his first points on the Pirelli Carlisle Rally with a fine fifth, before repeating the feat on the Ulster Rally in August. Electing to play his 'Joker' on his home event, the Skoda driver doubled his points, elevating himself into the top ten in the overall standings in a superb ninth and ending the year as the highest-placed S2000 runner.
"2016 didn't get off to the best of starts. We thought we had the car all set up nicely, so to have the differential fail on the Mid Wales knocked us back slightly," recalled the Northern Irishman. "The Circuit was fantastic - the fast and open stages in the wet really created a level playing field and to lead the event was brilliant.
"To have fuel pump problems was hugely disappointing and our heads went down but after a solid finish on the Pirelli, I felt good again as we showed we have the speed despite being in an underpowered car. That was a massive disadvantage on the gravel especially.
"I thought we could do the same on the Ulster as we did on the Circuit but after the recce, the stages were a lot slower with more junctions so I just had to go and get a solid finish. It was from that moment I had to look at an R5 machine for next year."
McCormack will undertake a rigorous pre-season testing programme which will include several gravel events including the Llandudno-based Cambrian Rally as the Draperstown driver looks to get to grips with his new mount.
"It's hard to know at this stage as we don't know who will enter the series," he said, "but podiums are the minimum and after a round or two wins have to be the target. "
2017 MSA British Rally Championship calendar announced
Posted: August 10, 2016 7:40 AM
The MSA British Rally Championship today (10 August) confirmed its proposed calendar for the 2017 season. Building on the extraordinary success of its first season back, next year’s BRC will further underline its standing as the premier domestic rally championship in the world.
With seven rounds in six territories, the 2017 BRC will traverse the United Kingdom with two rounds in Wales and one each in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland – all of which featured on this year’s calendar. The season will again conclude with a double points rally on the Isle of Man, but the long Manx event will be split into two legs, with equal points awarded for each. In keeping with the BRC’s international pedigree, the championship will reach overseas audiences with a visit to the legendary Ypres Rally in June for the demanding asphalt roads of northern Belgium.
The BRC returned to action this year with a new format based around FIA homologated cars. No fewer than 23 R5 and S2000 vehicles registered for the series, as well as 16 Juniors in R2 machinery – making the British championship the sternest possible test for both aspiring young drivers and would-be WRC stars of the future. This year’s BRC champions will have earned their place in the history books alongside names such as Vatanen, Burns, McRae, Mikkola and Blomqvist.
As well as confirming the 2017 calendar, organisers have also revealed a change to the points system for next year. Points will be awarded after each event in line with the FIA’s current regulations – 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 – with the best seven scores from eight point scoring possibilities to count in the final reconciliation.
The BRC Joker that was introduced this year will remain in place, but will be worth fewer points. If a driver plays the joker and wins the event, they will receive an additional 5 points, if they come second they will receive 4 points, down to fifth place which will yield just one additional point.
IMS Managing Director Ben Taylor
“This has been an incredible first year for the championship. To have such a great response to the new BRC was overwhelming and I would like to thank everyone that has worked so hard to make the vision a reality. We know that we still have a lot of work to do and our aim is to build on what has been achieved so far in order to make the BRC better in every department.
“We have some exciting plans that should come to fruition in the next six months, but getting out the calendar in good time gives everyone the chance to make plans for next year.
“We were sorry to lose the Circuit, but I am absolutely delighted that we are able to add Ypres to the BRC calendar for next year. Not only is it an exciting prospect for the competitors who get to take on a legendary event, but for the BRC it demonstrates an increasingly international perspective as we strive to create the best possible series for drivers from around the world.”
BRC Championship Manager Iain Campbell
“For its first season, the BRC has been an amazing success; now we have to take it to the next level. We have all learned a huge amount in this first year, including the event organisers who have seen a pace at the front of the field that they have not had to contend with before.
“Having listened to the competitors, teams, events and sponsors, we have a clear understanding of what has worked well this year, but also the increasing expectations and requirements as the championship progresses.
“With the exception of the Circuit of Ireland which will not run next year, all the other events that supported the championship in its first year have been retained. Each of them represents a unique challenge and all have their own characteristics, so we will be looking to build on that and work with them next year to make them even stronger.”
Keep tabs on all the latest BRC developments by visiting www.msabrc.com or following us on social media: MSA British Rally Championship on Facebook and @MSA_BRC on Twitter using #BRC
Championship Rounds (Updated Rev 3)
Posted: August 10, 2016 7:37 AM
- Border Counties - (Sat) 18 Mar 17
- Pirelli Carlisle Rally, Carlisle - 29-30 Apr 17
- RSAC Scottish Rally, Dumfries - 19-20 May 17
- Ypres Rally, Ypres, Belgium - 23-24 Jun 17
- Nicky Grist Stages, Builth Wells - 8-9 Jul 17
- Ulster Rally, Derry/Londonderry - 18-19 Aug 17
- Rally Isle of Man, Douglas - 14-16 Sep 17
*Calendar subject to approval by the MSA