2019 British Rally Championship

Posted: April 13, 2019 2:51 PM - 2120 Hits

2019 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship

Peugeot UK Supports British Rally Championship Juniors with prize fund

Posted: April 13, 2019 2:51 PM

PEUGEOT UK, with the support of PEUGEOT SPORT and TOTAL, have offered a prize fund totalling £24,000 for competitors who drive a PEUGEOT 208 R2 in the Junior British Rally Championship (JBRC) in 2019.

The prize fund will be available to any registered crew in the JBRC driving one of the brand’s iconic 208 examples and will be awarded based on their performance in the series.

There will also be the opportunity for the top PEUGEOT crew in the series to tackle Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship at the end of the season thanks to a free entry to Wales Rally GB.

PEUGEOT UK has secured the support of PEUGEOT SPORT and TOTAL for its drivers which means there will be £4,000 per event up for grabs. The first 208 R2 JBRC registered contender to finish on each rally will receive an impressive £2,500, with £1,000 awarded to second place and £500 to third.

The Junior BRC is one of the most hotly contested championships in Europe and is open to competitors under 26 years of age. Centred around the 2-wheel-drive R2 category, it is the internationally recognised class for the development of young drivers which PEUGEOT SPORT has fully supported since its inception.

Talented youngsters will tackle six rounds of the Championship in a bid to win a stake of the prize fund on offer, but will have to endure some of the biggest challenges in rallying during the season.

The Cambrian Rally kicks off proceedings in just over a week’s time, taking in the forests around the Llandudno base in North Wales. Made famous by the WRC round Wales Rally GB, the muddy and treacherous gravel surface will be the test of many talented drivers.

The series then shifts onto asphalt and a trip to Ireland for the West Cork Rally in March. This iconic event takes place on the closed public roads around Cork, testing skill and bravery to the limit. The Pirelli International Rally brings crews back to gravel and the Kielder Forest in north-west England for a one-day blast in April.

The Ypres Rally offers a trip into mainland Europe during June where the JBRC is a guest series in Belgium, meeting some of the best drivers in the world on the notorious closed public roads around Ypres.

The Ulster Rally keeps with the asphalt theme in August, taking in classic Northern Ireland roads around the Antrim rally base. The season finale heads into Scotland and back onto gravel for the Galloway Hills Rally which sees the super-fast gravel stages near Castle Douglas being utilised in the championship swansong.

At the time of writing, six PEUGEOT SPORT 208 R2 crews had signalled their intention to contest this year’s Junior BRC. To support the contenders in the championship, distributors ‘Race and Rally’ will provide on-event back up for crews competing in the French manufacturer's cars.

Raymond Moore, Director of the PEUGEOT SPORT distributor in the UK is delighted with the partnership with PEUGEOT UK and TOTAL and the incentives on offer to the Junior BRC crews.

“The Junior BRC is always one of the closest fought categories in rallying and certainly the breeding ground for future talent,” says Moore.

“The PEUGEOT 208 R2 has been at the forefront of Junior rallying for many years and retains its stature as one of the of the leading marquees in the series. The prize is fantastic news for our Juniors and I suspect it will bring out some fierce battles to be the winning PEUGEOT. We are delighted to be able to offer our Juniors a prize fund this season and I must extend huge thanks to PEUGEOT UK and TOTAL for their support.

PEUGEOT is the reigning Junior title holder, thanks to Norwegian pilot Steve Rokland last season, and with the level of drivers and co-drivers we have in 2019, it will certainly be interesting to see if we retain that title this time around.”

M-SPORT, EDWARDS AND LAFFEY CONTINUE WINNING BRITISH RALLY PARTNERSHIP

Posted: January 22, 2019 2:38 PM

M-Sport has retained the winning partnership of Matt Edwards and Alex Laffey ahead of the 2019 British Rally Championship.

Last year saw Edwards deliver a third successive title for the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5, and the Cumbrian squad have no desire to relinquish their home-soil crown this year.

Dominating the championship with inspired performances on both gravel and asphalt, Edwards was very much the man to beat in 2018 and will be looking to further perfect his performance in 2019.

Joined by new co-driver Patrick Walsh, Edwards starts his championship defence at next month’s Cambrian Rally and will be looking for a strong opening result at his home event.

Last year also proved something of a breakthrough for Laffey who delivered a sensational one-two finish for the Fiesta when securing second place in the drivers’ championship.

Clinching his maiden podium as well as his first fastest stage time on gravel at last year’s Wales Rally GB, the Scotsman is keen to continue his development and challenge for further podiums this year.

Joined by experienced co-driver and fellow countryman Stuart Loudon, the pairing are perfectly placed to continue their progression and make further strides in 2019.

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“The British Rally Championship has always been close to my heart, and it’s great to continue our winning partnership with Matt and Alex this year. They both delivered breakthrough performances last year, and are both hungry for more so I’m excited to see what they can do in 2019.

“The Fiesta has won the past three British Rally Championships – with Elfyn Evans in 2016, Keith Cronin in 2017 and of course with Matt last year. Our goal is to maintain the crown for a fourth season and the team will work their hardest to ensure Matt and Alex have everything they need to succeed.”

Bilham lands “career-defining” R5 drive with Greenlight Sports and Entertainment in 2019

Posted: January 22, 2019 9:58 AM

Bingley rally driver Sam Bilham will embark on the biggest challenge of his motorsport career after securing a deal to drive a Greenlight Sports and Entertainment Ford Fiesta R5 for the 2019 season.

The 22-year-old will receive backing from the sports and marketing agency to tackle the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series which offers seven all-gravel rounds across the UK. Bilham will use four-wheel-drive machinery for the very first time on the opening round, the Cambrian Rally in February.

Bilham has long been regarded as one of the most progressive rally drivers in the country, following the motorsport career ladder to the letter. His first taste of driving a rally car came at the tender age of just ten years old before embarking on his first full season in the Junior 1000 championship.

After becoming a member of the MSA Academy for aspiring youngsters, he continued to build experience in the sport, becoming BTRDA Junior Champion and MSA RSF Young Driver of the Year. Winning the MSA English Rally Championship in 2016 helped him to become the 2300 Club John Easson Award Winner, before winning the Fiesta ST Trophy in 2017.

Sporadic outings hampered his progress in 2018 but he was handed a lifeline by Greenlight Sports and Entertainment, The Swift Group and ME Rallysport when he was offered a Ford Fiesta R2 for the Nicky Grist Stages. Despite his inexperience in the potent R2 machine, second in class was the reward which led to a second event in the car, Wales Rally GB in October.

In one of the most ground-breaking drives of the event, Bilham stormed to ninth overall, first two-wheel-drive and a class win, taking fastest time on 13 out of the events 14 special stages. It was this performance that led to Greenlight Sports and Entertainment’s Managing Director Guy Smith and Chairman of the Swift Group Peter Smith, offering Bilham a season-long campaign in the firm’s state of the art Ford Fiesta R5.

Both Guy and Peter are no strangers to the world of motorsport with Guy having contested the prestigious 24 Le Mans with Team Bentley, and Peter a regular sight on stage events across the UK in various machines. Their vast experience in the sport meant they could see Bilham’s potential which led to supporting the Yorkshireman in 2018.

“We are in a very lucky position to be able to support progressive young drivers in rallying and Sam stood out as someone we would like to help last season,” said Guy.

“He drove our Fiesta R2 on the Nicky Grist and was immediately on the pace despite his lack of seat time so I thought he certainly had the potential for the future. We were able to repeat the outing at Wales Rally GB and were rewarded with a sensational result against some much more powerful machinery. It made sense to continue the relationship in 2019 and we believe that getting Sam into the Fiesta R5 is the right thing for his career right now. It’s a great partnership and we are looking forward to seeing how he develops during the season”.

The Ford Fiesta R5 is a vastly different car to that of the R2 which Bilham used in Wales. The M-Sport built machine develops 285 brake horsepower via its turbocharged powerplant and is driven by all four wheels. Capable of winning events outright, Bilham is now armed with the most powerful car in his career and will make the leap to top-specification machinery in just a few weeks’ time.

“Its still sinking in to be honest,” said Bilham.

“It was such a tough year in 2018, sitting out on so many events was one of the hardest things I’ve done and I’ll forever be indebted to Greenlight, The Swift Group and Matt Edwards for offering me the opportunity to drive the R2. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would lead to a season-long drive in one of the most up to date rally cars of the modern era.”
But the youngster is aiming for a solid finish rather than podiums on his debut.

”This really is a career-defining moment for me and I`ll never get this opportunity again. But at the same time, I need to ensure I don’t put too much pressure on myself and go out there and just do my own thing. We won’t have much time to test beforehand so I`ll need to learn as I go but I mastered the R2 pretty quickly so with the huge experience of the people I have around me, I’m hoping the R5 will be very similar. I really can't put into words how grateful I am to Peter, Guy and Greenlight, I just hope I can return their trust in me this season.

The Cambrian Rally marks the opening round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series and takes place on the 15th February in Llandudno, North Wales.

Sam is supported by: Greenlight Sports & Entertainment, Swift Group, Pirelli, Calvert Construction Ltd, Speedline Corse, Morris Lubricants, Garage at Stanley Mills

World Championship prize for Fiesta runners in British Rally Championship

Posted: January 22, 2019 9:56 AM

The British Rally Championship, in partnership with M-Sport Poland and Pirelli, is offering the highest placed Fiesta R2T runner in the Junior BRC a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to step into the FIA Junior WRC Championship.

Britain’s premier rallying series is a well-known proving ground for rallying stars. Recent BRC graduates include Elfyn Evans, Jari-Matti Latvala, Kris Meeke and co-drivers Scott Martin and Sebastian Marshall all now fighting at the very top of the sport.

The latest career-progressing prize will be open to all Fiesta R2T drivers competing in the 2019 Junior BRC. The top driver after six rounds in an M-Sport, Pirelli-shod machine will receive a 30,000 Euro voucher from each company to put towards a full campaign in the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship (or similar M-Sport Poland – Pirelli series in the WRC), made payable on an event-by-event basis.

The same 60,000 Euro prize offering will continue into 2020 in the British Junior Championship. Next year, the exciting Junior series for drivers aged 26 and under will switch to a Pirelli-backed, one-make M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T competition, making it the perfect stepping stone to the WRC.

“We’re very pleased to be able to offer such a great incentive for young British drivers,” said Junior WRC Manager, Maciej Woda.

“M-Sport and Pirelli are both dedicated when it comes to creating opportunities for talented young drivers. And with similar schemes already confirmed in Finland, Estonia and Italy, it was important to introduce them here in the British Rally Championship – where so many great rally drivers started their careers.

“This year, we have also chosen Wales Rally GB as the final round of the FIA Junior WRC Championship – bringing the junior drivers to one of the world’s most iconic events whilst also allowing the young British drivers to judge their pace against those fighting for the FIA Junior WRC crown.”

“Pirelli has always had a philosophy of supporting young rally drivers, through schemes such as Pirelli Star Driver and WRC Academy in the past, so we’re delighted to be part of this latest initiative to help bring young drivers onto the world stage”. Mario Isola, head of car racing, Pirelli.

“We are very excited to be working with WRC giants M-Sport and Pirelli,” enthused BRC Manager Iain Campbell. “The BRC has long been the springboard for drivers and co-drivers to make that step-up to the higher echelons of the sport. As well as a secured spot on the 2020 JWRC entry list, we also understand the financial implications for young drivers trying to progress their careers and by working with M-Sport and Pirelli, the 60,000 Euro prize fund is another massive boost and will go a long way in giving the winner that helping hand.

“We are pleased the relationship will also extend into the 2020 series where the Junior BRC will become, like the Junior WRC a one-make Fiesta category. This will enable drivers to get themselves up to speed with the latest products from the blue oval – making that step to the global series a seamless and less daunting transition.”

Registrations for the 2019 British Rally Championship are now open and entries for the season curtain raiser, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally (16 February), are now also open.

Exciting new 2019 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship calendar announced

Posted: September 12, 2018 4:46 PM

As the fast-paced 2018 series gears up for an exciting climax, the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) has today (12 September) confirmed its 2019 calendar.

In 2019, Britain’s top-tier rallying series will feature six rounds in six territories, with events across the UK in Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The series, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, will once again visit Belgium for the classic Ypres Rally and new for 2019 will see the BRC visit the Republic of Ireland with the West Cork Rally playing host to a BRC round for the very first time.

The new-look calendar will once again will offer crews a challenging, action-packed campaign with an equal split of asphalt and gravel rallies. Comprehensively promoted events encompassing some of the best stages in the UK and its neighbouring locales, will offer six unique challenges, varying in length, surface and format.

The Cambrian Rally is an exciting addition to the series, with iconic Dayinsure Wales Rally GB stages, as used in the World Championship, the scene for the first battle of the season. With unprecedented support from Conwy County Council, this British rallying favourite will form the curtain raiser in February next year.

The Welsh season opener will be backed up by fast and furious action on the iconic Cork roads. The Quality Hotel West Cork Rally will feature classic Irish stages for the best in the British Championship to go head-to-head with the Irish Tarmac Championship for an early season clash. This new geographical territory for the BRC will be a demanding test with 150 miles providing the second-round gauntlet.

A return to England will be in store for the drivers and co-drivers in April with a day-long sprint though the Kielder forest. A compact route, with 85 miles packed into a five-hour period, was universally praised in 2018 and will create a heart-pumping mid-season challenge.

After a short break, action resumes on the legendary Renties Ypres Rally in June as the BRC goes toe-to-toe with some of the best drivers in Europe at another rallying heartland. Coupled with the Belgian razzmatazz, it’s sure to provide an exciting second overseas excursion for the intrepid BRC crews.

The bumpy, challenging Irish roads make a return with the classic Ulster Rally playing host to the final Tarmac event of the year and the second encounter with the Irish series. Phenomenal stages including Tor Head, coupled with the unpredictable weather conditions, could play a decisive part in the fight for one of rallying’s most coveted crowns next season.

The series will then run to the hills with the forests of southern Scotland playing out the championship finale. The Galloway Hills Rally will utilise one of the largest forest estates in the UK and the forest tracks are a real favourite. Its location provides a short journey for the Irish competitors.

The range of events, surfaces and high rallying mileage further underlines the BRC’s standing as the world’s premier domestic rally championship.

BRC Championship Manager Iain Campbell

“The announcement of the calendar shows our commitment in listening to what our competitors want - furious competition from the start but not overly demanding in the amount of time away from work or home life. It also brings us into head-to-head competition with the Irish Tarmac Championship on two occasions and also with the Belgium Rally Championship in June. This lifts the pace of everyone, as we all want the bragging rights as winners on these rallies.

“We believe we have a series that matches peoples aspirations, budget and competitive desires to be the best and to be a British Rally Champion.”

Further initiatives regarding next season will be announced in due course, but in the meantime the 2018 championship continues in October with Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (4-7 October) as the crews tackle four days through the iconic Welsh forests.

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, Twitter and Instagram using #BRC

Championship Rounds

Posted: September 12, 2018 4:45 PM

  1. Cambrian Rally - (Sat) 16 Feb 19
  2. West Cork Rally - 16-17 Mar 19
  3. Pirelli International Rally - (Sat) 27 Apr 19
  4. Ypres Rally - 28-29 Jun 19
  5. Ulster Rally - 16-17 Aug 19
  6. Galloway Hills Rally - (Sat) 14 Sep 19

    Reserve Round – Wales Rally GB - Date TBC?
Calendar subject to approval by the MSA






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