Jim Clark International Rally - 24-25 May 08

Posted: May 28, 2008 8:45 PM - 16024 Hits

Round 4 - 2008 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 2 - 2008 British Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2008 Scottish Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2008 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship

  • Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey Win 3rd Rally in a row

Photo: Roy Dempster

Greer Moves into 3rd in the BRC after Jim Clark Rally

Posted: May 28, 2008 8:45 PM

The two Day Jim Clark International took place over bank holiday weekend on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th, the event is the first in the British Championship Calendar to mix the Group N Format of the BRC with the mighty WRC Cars of the Irish Tarmac Championship Together.

The town of Kelso, Scotland played host to the crews over the weekend while they tackled 17 stages, 12 on Saturday and a further five on Sunday. Competitors faced a rude awakening on SS1 with the 16 Mile Abbey St.Bathans stage the longest of the rally.

Jonathan Greer, 19 From Northern Ireland who is Competing in his first ever British Rally Championship campaign was pleased with his 4th place finish on the Isle of Man a round of the Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge two weeks prior and looking forward to gauging his tarmac pace against Britain’s Elite.

At the end of leg one Jonny lay in 5th Place getting comfortable with the pace of the leaders on the first day afterwards admitting he was not 100% committed and confident in the car were he needed to be.

An overnight halt then was the perfect opportunity to re focus and attack Sundays stages which is exactly what the teenager went about doing setting impressive times with two fourth places and an excellent second fastest on the last stage of the rally.

Despite the hard charge on the final stages it was not enough to move Jonny up the rally leader board and he ended the rally in 5th position taking with him a generous haul of Championship points that sees him occupy 3rd in the UK’s premier championship after two rounds. He is also the youngest driver in the top ten places in the Championship. Jonny commented “It is quite unbelievable really to now lie 3rd in the Championship competing against the best in Britain. We just drove our own rally in some respects aiming for another strong finish to build our experience up so I am very pleased with 5th place and am looking forward to the Isle of Man”

The next round of the British Championship is the Rally show at Chatsworth on June 7th/8th which will be an interesting spectacle adding new dimension and appeal to the championship that has not been seen before. Free sessions will allow drivers to give members of the public a run round the classic castle venue that was a mainstay when Rally GB ran in the RAC format.

Proper Rally action in the BRC re commences in July after almost a two month lay off with the Isle of Man international rally 18th/19th July using the memorable tarmac roads the island has become famous for within the rallying community. The round also hosts the Irish Tarmac Championship and the top drivers in the UK and Ireland will do battle again.

Jonny’s next event will be the Severn Valley Rally Round for of the Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge this coming weekend (31st May)and the switch from tarmac to the welsh forests means the DGM preparation team face a long week ahead making sure the car is overhauled and immaculately presented.

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ATLAS-TEG SPORT RALLY TEAM

Posted: May 28, 2008 8:40 PM

Atlas TEG Sport driver Mark Higgins, navigated by Rory Kennedy, has won Round 2 of the British Rally Championship, using his TEG Sport prepared Subaru Impreza N 11, to good effect on the Jim Clark Rally – a massive event held over the closed public tarmac roads around Kelso, in the Borders region of Scotland.

Mark’s committed style of driving saw him take an early lead which took him past the carnage of other competitors. He was quoted as saying that “Atlas TEG Sport had provided him with a fantastic car”;

Mark returned to the overnight halt with an empty fire extinguisher, having stopped on a stage to help Phillip Morrow, whose Mitsubishi had caught fire.

On day two Mark said “The car felt nice this morning” and did well on the slightly foggy Bothwell Stage. Co-driver Rory Kennedy rolled his eyes heavenward and said “When it’s a long straight and you’re flat out and there’s a right 4 at the end, you’re thinking, where is it”!!!

Mark’s team mate, Wyn Humphreys - navigated by Rob Fagg – had a water leak from the radiator after a heavy landing on the Langton stage but after the Fogo stage the service crew replaced the radiator and Wyn continued to fight back up the leaderboard to 6th at the finish of the Rally.

Mark’s win and Wyn’s 6th place promotes the Atlas TEG Sport team to 1st overall in the Team’s Championship.

Mark’s drive also netted a Group N win in the Global Irish Championship.

The next round of the British Rally Championship will be the International Rally Isle of Man, based in Douglas on 17th to 19th July.

BRC Review

Posted: May 27, 2008 1:15 PM

Mark Higgins and Rory Kennedy returned to winning ways on the Jim Clark Rally, the second round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship this weekend, their third BRC victory in as many years on the event.

The pair had a steady run after 2007 Champion and rival Guy Wilks retired on Saturday when his car caught fire, citing lack of concentration as the most difficult element of the event.

“It was quite hard work even though we had a decent lead,” said Higgins at the finish in Kelso, “I even had a few silly spins when the handbrake wasn’t working just right. But the car and Atlas TEG Sport team have done a great job and it puts us effectively on level points with Guy going to my home event on the Isle of Man.”

Drama unfolded behind them though; his brother’s Team TQ.com Subaru struggling with a differential problem on the final loop of stages

David Higgins and Ieuan Thomas eventually falling into the grasp of the hard charging Stuart Jones and Andy Bull. Higgins third place was, however enough to elevate him to the lead of the British series with two rounds gone.

Jones’ MG Super 2000 was a joy to hear on the fast tarmac stages and his stolen final stage second place puts the crew in an excellent second place in the Championship. He stated that the car “needed driving fast!”, something he proved he was capable of, matching his best result in the BRC, after finishing second on Rally GB in 2006.

A career best fourth was James Wozencroft who had a completely trouble free run, suffering a little with a lack of top speed in his older Subaru. He and Jonny Greer had a good battle towards the end of the event, Greer running out of stages to catch “Woz”, but finishing just 19 seconds down. Wyn Humphreys was a distant sixth after losing time with a broken radiator on Saturday. He managed to stem the flow slightly, even using a spectator’s flask to top up the radiator mid stage.

In the Team’s Championship, Atlas TEG Sport now leads from Team TQ.com, all four nominated drivers scoring points. Mitsubishi Motors UK is now third, Wilks having not scored and Morrow using Super Rally to score. The Revolution Wheels Rally Team had two finishers, although both Karl Simmons and Rob Swann had offs on Sunday afternoon, both at high speed, but Swann’s new Impreza rolled four times.

The classes were hard fought too, Rally 3 front-runner Brian O’Mahony’s Clio not re-starting after engine mount failure caused engine problems. The lead had swung to Fin McCaul, but he lost water, turbo boost and a huge chunk of time, handing the class award and the Diesel Cup to Steve and Tony Graham.

Their striking green Astra Diesel had run faultlessly until transmission problems on the very last stage of the event. The car stuck in first gear, then would not select first, meaning he had to nurse it round the tight hairpins and chicanes. The resulting slipping clutch added to the pairs concerns, but it made the ramp in sunny Kelso with plenty of crossed fingers and toes

Rally 2 was blitzed by Adam Gould /Seb Marshall whose Clio was another car without problems

The British Rally Elite member also took the nomination for the Jim Clark Rally Pirelli Star Driver. His excellent stage times put him not only top placed two wheel drive car, but seventh BRC finisher, just 30 seconds behind Humphreys. Alastair Fisher’s challenge faded when he rolled out of contention, while Kris Hall’s similar Fiesta struggled with fuel related problems, but finished third on his first ever International rally and first ever asphalt event.

Second in R2 and leading the Citroën C2R2 Cup was George Thomas and new co-driver Mark Ammonds. They struggled as the event went on with clutch problems, but Thomas was delighted to return to the BRC after missing the Pirelli

Matt Cotton/Anthony Godden’s trip from Cornwall was worth the effort after their huge shunt on the Pirelli. They took second place, Matt’ biggest battle was with himself, overcoming the memory of the end-over-end accident back in April. Third in the Citroëns were regulars Martin Roberts/Rich Mills, although they had to cope with an intermittent misfire for the whole event, not really getting any rhythm.

The Suzuki Swift Sport Cup made up the whole of the Rally 1 class, seven cars starting the event. Mark Gamble took the honours albeit with a decidedly second hand looking car. He had some excursions to the scenery on both days, but still managed to hold off the constant pressure from Irishman Ross Forde. The pair had swapped seconds for the whole event, Forde just 12 seconds back after a valiant fight. Third in the one make series was Danish crew Niki Bjerg/Arly Larsen; the Danish Federation driver commenting that it was the best rally he had ever contested.

Audio Reports:

First-day dramas see early exit for Mitsubishi team

Posted: May 27, 2008 1:12 PM

Round two of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, this weekend’s Jim Clark Rally, did not go according to plan for the Mitsubishi Motors UK Rally Team. Following a successful day of testing before the event, the team were upbeat about their chances to extend their lead in the teams and drivers championships, both Guy Wilks and Phillips Morrow happy with their car’s set-ups for the first of the season’s three asphalt rallies. Following Friday night’s ceremonial start in Kelso, followed by a short shake-down stage, competition got underway on Saturday morning with the first of a 16-mile run through Abbey St. Bathans.

Carrying on from where he left off, following his resounding round-one victory, Wilks stormed through the first stage to lead the British Championship field by 4.7 seconds. Such was his pace, he also held a position of second overall amongst the WRC cars contesting the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship, of which the Jim Clark Rally is also a round.

However, for Morrow it was a different tale:
After three miles into the stage, following a fast, down-hill section, as the road narrowed on a negative camber corner the car slid wide, clipped a bank and then rolled three times down the road. Thankfully, both Morrow and co-driver Daniel Barritt were unhurt - and the car ended-up on its wheels.

Although the energy of the incident suggested that the damage may be too bad to continue, that was not the case and, after the crew changed a broken wheel, they cautiously made their way through the remainder of the stage - and the one following - in order to get the car back to service and let the team’s technicians get to work.

With most of the damage cosmetic rather than mechanical, Morrow continued on the next loop of four stages and, although not driving flat out, collected his thoughts and re-assured his abilities by setting one fastest, two second fastest and one third fastest time.

Meanwhile, Wilks had extended his lead to 6.2 seconds following stage three, but his day was about to take a turn for the worse. As he left the start-line on SS4 he heard a noise coming from his car’s transmission. Then, after a few miles, the propshaft suddenly snapped, leaving him with front-wheel drive only and, with the flying finish almost in sight, the car came to a halt on an up-hill section.

Getting out to see what could be done, Wilks discovered flames coming from underneath the car where the flailing propshaft had ruptured the fuel tank.
Co-driver Phil Pugh quickly exited the Mitsubishi and, although other competitors stopped to help, try as they might they could not extinguish the flames.
Within seconds their once pristine Lancer was engulfed by fire and continued to burn until there was nothing left other than the chard remains of the metal shell.

The baton was now passed to Morrow. However, on SS7, the young Ulsterman noticed the car’s temperature gauge climbing and, on inspection at the end of the stage he found thatt he earlier incident had caused the fan housing to come loose and the blades had punctured the radiator.
In order not to inflict any further mechanical damage, the team decided to call it a day, return the car to park fermé and adopt SuperRally regulations to ensure Morrow and Barritt would be classified as finishers.

The team now turns its attentions to round three, the Isle of Man Rally on and focuses on achieving a repeat performance of last year, when its cars finished first and second

The team is sponsored by Lovell Group and Virgin Money, together with its technical partners: HKS, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA, Ricardo, and Performance Friction Brakes. The two works Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IXs are built by Chesterfield-based ADR Motorsport, who also provide the all-important on-event technical support.

Team Quotes
Guy Wilks
The rally started really well for us. I didn’t feel we had pushed too hard in the first stage, so to take the lead at what I regarded was a comfortable pace was just what we wanted. Once the propshaft had broken I was knew there was a possibility of it damaging the fuel tank, so I drove with that in mind, but I was unaware of the fire until I got out of the car. I have to thank the other teams for stopping to help, but the fire became so intense it was impossible to get it under control. I was hoping that this year we might just be able to win all the BRC events, but we’ll just have to make it all but one now!”

Phillip Morrow
“It was a weekend I shall remember – for the wrong reasons! I was really shocked when we rolled, but so impressed with the strength of the car as we could still drive it away from the accident. Once the lads had fixed some of the damage in service and a new screen was put in, I was pleased to be able to set some good stage times – and even one fastest time - so that was a bonus. I’m now going to focus on the remaining four rallies and aim to restore the team’s chances for the teams and drivers championships.”

Paul Brigden - Team Principal and Ralliart General Manager
“It has been a very unfortunate weekend for the team, but I am pleased to report that all four crew members were unharmed in their respective incidents. The fact that Phillip and Daniel could continue – and even set a fastest time – is testimony to the strength of the cars. We now need strong finishes from both crews for the remainder of the season to ensure we get back on track for the teams title and I look forward to resuming our British Championship campaign on the Isle of Man in a few weeks time.”

Bad luck for O'Mahony and Higgins on Jim Clark International Rally

Posted: May 27, 2008 1:01 PM

Irish crew Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins suffered more bad luck in the British Rally Championship (BRC) as they failed to finish this weekend’s (23 – 25 May) Jim Clark International Rally due to a mechanical problem.

County Cork driver O’Mahony and County Mayo co-driver Higgins were back in action in round two of the BRC in their OM Concrete Products and Tom Hogan Motors-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio, run by O’Leary Motorsport, for the 160-mile Scottish Borders-based tarmac event but were forced out after stage seven on Saturday.

The rally did not get off to the best of starts for the pair as an engine mount broke on the start line of stage one before they avoided going off further into the opening test. On the first loop of stages their intercom also broke and they caught a car on one stage, causing them to lose a significant amount of time.

The mechanics were unable to fix the mounting at the first service meaning the crew had to crawl through the next loop of stages losing further time. The team managed to repair the broken mounting in the next service before disaster struck when the other engine mount broke seven miles from the end of stage seven. They crawled through the remainder of the test but it was too risky to continue as the cam pulley was rubbing on the chassis and they did not want to cause any further damage.

The disappointment comes for O’Mahony and Higgins after they had to finish under superally rules and not competitively in the first round of the BRC last month, they have also yet to complete a Jim Clark Rally as it was the fourth time they have started it and the fourth time they have retired.

“I’m really disappointed with the weekend, we didn’t manage to get one clean stage and if we didn’t lose all the time and had not had the problem we would have been up inside the top eight or so which would have been a good result,” 23-year-old O’Mahony said.

“It’s frustrating that its another mechanical problem that has put us out but unfortunately it happens. It wasn’t worth us finishing under superally rules again as we didn’t want to cause anymore damage to the car.

“We’re disappointed also not to get more points in the championship but now we have to look forward to the next round in July.”

O’Mahony and Higgins will return to the stages in round three of the BRC, the International Rally Isle of Man on July 17 -19.

FX MOTOR SPORTS PREPARE FOR SCOTLAND

Posted: May 27, 2008 12:55 PM

MSA ASPHALT RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - KYNASTON CLAIMS CLARK WIN!..

Posted: May 26, 2008 5:23 PM

2006 MSA Asphalt Champions David Kynaston and co-driver Andy Russell took outright victory on the Jim Clark National Rally in their Audi A3 Quattro to strengthen their lead at the top of the Richard Egger Insurance-sponsored series at the halfway stage.

Hot on the heels of the RBS International Manx Rally, the Jim Clark National Rally sees two of the iconic UK asphalt events taking place less than a fortnight apart but, nevertheless, the popularity of each is borne out by the numbers of registered crews on the entry lists.

‘Fantastic’ is how Exeter-based Kynaston described his win after struggling through the early stages with a lack of brakes. The National Rally runs behind the Jim Clark International Rally and the five-minute gap between the two proved insufficient on the opening 16-mile stage through Abbey St Bathans as both Kynaston and Andy Fenwick/Lee Tindall, who were running first on the road in their Skoda Octavia WRC, caught the last car from the first event.

However, the gap was extended for the second run and Fenwick/Tindall, who have won the rally on two previous occasions, went on to take runners-up spot.

Making a clean sweep of the podium places for MSA Asphalt Championship contenders, David Mann/Alun Cook were 3rd in their Subaru Impreza WRC. This result is all the more impressive when the damage caused by the fire that put Mann out of the Manx is taken into account. Much midnight oil had been burnt by the team in the intervening ten days to ensure that the car took the start of the Jim Clark in Kelso restored to pristine condition.

The former MSA Gravel Rally Champions’ problems hadn’t ended there. The trip up to the Borders had been similarly fraught, with Cook having to retrace his steps part-way south to collect his driver whose road car had suffered a blow-out. In the course of the excursion, an owl had made contact with Cook’s windscreen and cracked it such that the event itself was almost something of an anti-climax, even after the power-steering failed on the second run through the 16-miler!

Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack put in a giant-killing performance in their two-wheel drive Ford Escort RS to take 5th overall – a feat for which the driver was awarded the John Price Rallying ‘ Star Drive’ salver. An incorrect tyre choice for the first loop of stages slowed them slightly, but not so as you’d notice!… The Oxfordshire driver now heads into the mid-season break in 2nd place in the overall points, tied with defending Champion Steve Simpson whose Hyundai Accent WRC finished in 6th place, a mere four seconds behind Mauger after 100 miles of stages.

Simpson counts himself lucky to have finished after the wheel studs on one of his car’s front hubs sheared early in the day. He didn’t have an identical spare, but a forest equivalent was fitted and, although the car kept trying to turn left for the remainder of the rally, his persistence resulted in more valuable points.

Broken wheel studs were John Stone/Lee Carter’s downfall – after the first loop of stages, their Metro 6R4 was in a fabulous 2nd place but a damaged rear hub saw the Legend Fires crew join the ever-lengthening list of retirements. It was not a good day for Metros – Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt had already gone with no brakes and John & Caroline Price looked set for a top-five finish when their example suffered mechanical failure with a couple of stages to go.

Behind Mauger, the Escorts of Pete Hughes/Chris Evans and Graham Hollis/ Ashley Trimble were also just a handful of seconds apart at the finish. Hollis’ progress had been hampered by a broken gear linkage on the eighth stage which saw the car stuck in 5th and the driver arriving at the following service clutching the offending bolt which had sheared! Mauger, Hollis and Hughes are all in there fighting for Rear-Wheel Drive category honours and, with three rounds still to go, it is far from over!

Dave West/Keith Hounslow took a Top 20 finish in their Peugeot 306 Maxi which, following a DNF on the Manx, puts them back into the Top 10 overall. Similarly, Rob Tout’s Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 was the Group N winner on the day, ahead of Steve Simpson’s Subaru Impreza – the necessary paperwork for the promised Murtaya not yet completed.

Richard Butler/Matt Dubber had fitted a replacement engine – sourced from a scrapyard! – into their Honda Civic Type ‘R’ following the originals unit’s demise on the Isle of Man and headed home with another class win under their belt.

2007 BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series Champions Adrian Spencer/Mark Hewitt returned to the MSA Championship after missing the Manx and spun on the first corner of the first stage! Worse was to follow as their Impreza suffered two broken driveshafts necessitating driving at least one stage in two-wheel drive!

Paul Harewood can breathe a sigh of relief after his Vauxhall Astra GSi completed the Jim Clark unscathed. Transmission problems have seen the car retire on the opening stage on both previous rounds of the Championship this year. Not so this time, and the Taunton driver has at last opened his account in the points table!

Tracey-Louise & Gary Muir (Citroen AX) spent some time acclimatising themselves to the stages and, having settled into the routine, had an unproblematical run to maximum points in B9. Roland Jones/Andy Wynn performed likewise in their MG ZR to move ahead of the erstwhile leader, a spectating Martin Newson.

Chris Marshall/Simon Hunter had survived an early scare when contact with a hedge on the second stage had damaged their Mitsubishi Lancer’s intercooler. However, it remained intact allowing them to continue until multiple punctures on the seventh – of twelve – stage of the event put them out.

Ashley Field/Janice Hooley had a very short Jim Clark National Rally after their Darrian T90 experienced transmission bothers on the very opening stage. A similar plight affected the Peugeot 206 of Ryan Borthwick/Gary White, the difference being that the latter crew only had to go as far as Melrose before they were home!

Geoff Glover/Charlie Turner (Vauxhall Astra RWD) and Ian Copping/Dave Rowley (Ford Fiesta RWD) had spent much of the early part of the event virtually bumper to bumper. Glover’s Astra was experiencing gearbox problems after the usual sequential unit, which failed on the Manx, had been replaced by a more traditional H-pattern unit. It was leaking oil and had begun to jump out of 4th & 5th and the driver was forced to give up the unequal struggle with one stage to go. Copping, meanwhile, at least started the final one, but was not to make the end!

Contenders for the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship now have six weeks to prepare themselves for a trip across the Irish Sea to the Sligo Stages Rally on Sunday 13th July.

Further details of the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship are available on the website :

Results / Photos

Posted: May 26, 2008 5:22 PM

1 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 03m 30s,
2 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) 2h 04m 27s,
3 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11) GpN 2h 07m 57s,
4 Stuart Jones/Andy Bull (MG S2000 Sport) 2h 10m 23s,
5 David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N14) GpN 2h 11m 05s,
6 James Wozencroft/Chris Ridge (Subaru Impreza N12) GpN 2h 13m 01s,
7 Jonathan Greer/Jonny Hart (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2h 13m 20s,
8 Kevin Kelleher/Martin Kelleher (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2h 14m 52s,
9 Wyn Humphreys/Robert Fagg (Subaru Impreza Gp N) 2h 17m 57s,
10 Adam Gould/Sebastian Marshall (Renault Clio) 2h 18m 27s.

Leaders SS1-12 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Stage Winners:
SS1 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS3 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS4 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS5 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS6 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS7 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS8 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS9 Tim McNulty/Eugene O’Donnell (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS10 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS11 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS12 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS13 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS14 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS15 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS16 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS17 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)

TV Times

Posted: May 23, 2008 3:42 PM

Rallyzone Pirelli classes/Jim Clark preview 24 May 08 07:12 Sky Sports 3
British Rally Championship Jim Clark International Rally 26 May 08 18:00 Sky Sports 2
British Rally Championship Jim Clark International Rally 27 May 08 01:00 Sky Sports 2
British Rally Championship Jim Clark International Rally 27 May 08 05:00 Sky Sports 2
British Rally Championship Jim Clark International Rally 27 May 08 08:00 Sky Sports 3
British Rally Championship Jim Clark International Rally 27 May 08 14:00 Sky Sports 3

O’Mahony and Higgins back in action on Jim Clark International Rally

Posted: May 23, 2008 9:58 AM

Irish crew Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins will be back in action in the British Rally Championship (BRC) when they contest round two, the Jim Clark International Rally, next weekend (23 – 25 May).

County Cork driver O’Mahony and County Mayo co-driver Higgins are aiming for a class win as they return to the wheel of their OM Concrete Products and Tom Hogan Motors-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio, run by O’Leary Motorsport, for the 160-mile Scottish Borders-based tarmac event.

They finished the opening round of the BRC, the Pirelli International Rally, last month under superally rules after suspension failure meant they couldn’t finish the rally competitively and managed to collect some points in the class R3 table.

As they head into the Jim Clark looking to make amends after the disappointment of the first round they will have to bear in mind that the event has not been kind to them in previous years. They have started the rally three times but have never finished after retiring on the same stage – Blackadder – every year.

The event also comes at a busy time for O’Mahony as the university student will be in the middle of his exams, but nevertheless the pair are looking forward to making a return to the asphalt as they bid to gain more points in the BRC.

“Our target will be to get a class win but to go for a good overall position too,” 23-year-old O’Mahony said. “Kris Meeke highlighted what the car is capable of in Killarney a couple of weeks ago, so I’ll have no excuses.

”I’ve done the rally three times and retired on the same stage every year, Blackadder! Hopefully we will avoid its curse this year and make it fourth time lucky for a finish.

”The stages are lovely, I really enjoy the rally and can’t wait to get back to competing on tarmac again. It will be a fairly hectic few days for me though as it’s in the middle of my exams. I’ll be going straight from an exam to the airport and then I’ve another exam the Monday after the rally, it means I won’t have time to test but I’m feeling positive ahead of the weekend.”

The Jim Clark Rally gets underway on the evening of Friday 23 May with a ceremonial start in Kelso town centre and finishes on Sunday afternoon (25 May) in the same location.

O’Mahony and Higgins start at number 24.

Colm Murphy & Mark Higgins both to start

Posted: May 21, 2008 1:19 PM

Colm Murphy with Co-driver Anthony O'Connail take over the Global Group Entry and will run at 9

Mark Higgins & Rory Kennedy replace Patrik Flodin in the TEG team.

Updated Entry List:

BRC preview - ALL CHANGE FOR ASPHALT

Posted: May 21, 2008 1:11 PM

With one round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship under their belts and an almost perfect scorecard on the gravel of Kielder, Guy Wilks & Phil Pugh still have outstanding unfinished business on the Jim Clark Rally.

When the two worst 2007 scores were dropped, their points tally was a perfect 100/100, but the tally belied problems on two of the asphalt rounds. The Jim Clark was going so well, the lead changing several times early on, but by stage eleven, Wilks had pulled 21 seconds clear of team mate Gwyndaf Evans, with championship rival Mark Higgins a further eleven seconds adrift.

On stage twelve, the final test of the first day, the heavens opened, catching out Wilks’ slick-shod Mitsubishi which careered though a hedge, effectively ending his challenge. Super Rally may have allowed him to re-start the next day, but Higgins took victory after Evans suffered mechanical problems.

Fortunes were reversed back in April this year with Higgins MG S2000 challenge fading when his engine expired. It was a Mitsubishi 1-2, but Fin Juho Hänninen was a worthy first-timer runner-up to Wilks and 2004 Champion David Higgins back on the podium.

The Mitsubishi Motors UK pairing of Wilks & Hughes took the opening event by the scruff of the neck as they had in 2007, setting fastest times on all but one stage. Wilks’ march to the top step of the podium was unhampered by anything more serious than acting as road sweeper to the following pack.

Second on the Pirelli was Fin Juho Hänninen, but he will not contest the Jim Clark. In a brand new N14 Subaru and third was David Higgins, who was delighted to be on the pace again after swapping to the new car. He will have to learn and set it up all over again on the asphalt of the Berwickshire lanes.

Mark Higgins’ rally came to an untimely end in his new MG S2000 Sport, when engine problems forced him to stop on stage ten. His newly announced IRC programme will mean he returns to the TEG Sport fold for the Jim Clark, eager to repeat last year’s victory.

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP
Mitsubishi Motors UK lead the Teams’ Championship by virtue of Wilks’ win and Morrow’s fourth place on the opening round. The team is looking forward to laying some ghosts to rest on the Jim Clark, which wasn't its best event last year to say the least, both drivers relying on Super Rally to gain Teams’ points.

Team TQ.com go to the Scottish borders in second, David Higgins third place making the lion’s share of points on the Pirelli, while team Principal Hugh Evans had a frustrating off, relying on use Super Rally to restart.

Atlas TEG Sport’s Patrik Flodin and Wyn Humphreys took fifth and ninth place respectively, the team ending the event in third place, a single tantalising point adrift of second. Humphreys will be rejoined in the team by Mark Higgins, reuniting last year’s runner up partnership.

Fourth is the Revolution Wheels Rally Team with just Rob Swann scoring points in eleventh. The team has announced that James Wozencroft will replace Karl Simmons on this event as the second scoring driver, after his excellent tenth place in his older Subaru.

PIRELLI STAR DRIVER AWARD
Juho Hänninen was deemed to be the most impressive in April’s dark and slippery conditions by the Pirelli Star Driver judges. He took the “yellow jersey” at the finish in Carlisle by virtue of his performance against drivers with much better knowledge of the demanding Kielder stages. He is the first to be put forward to the end of season shoot-out, the eventual winner taking a fully funded drive in the 2009 British Rally Championship.

Reigning Pirelli Star Driver Darren Gass made a sensible start to his prize season, but a rare pace note error, left the Mitsubishi stranded in a ditch. The pair used Super Rally to gain mileage on Saturday, top ten times recovering them to 14th overall at the finish. After a successful test with ADR Motorsport, he is also buoyed by experience in an Evo in Ireland last month, so should go well on his preferred surface.

There will be plenty to watch on the Borders “tar”, Gass determined to improve, while everyone else pushes hard to take that coveted place in the Pirelli Star Driver final.

CLASSES
Rally 3/Diesel Cup
In the battle for Rally 3, Irishman Brian O'Mahony returns with his awesome sounding Renault Clio. He climbed to 13th overall before a rear suspension component failed, leaving him unable to complete the Pirelli. He is another who is relishing the move to the “tar” and the car should suit sealed surface better too. Stefan Davis’ event was fraught with problems from the start, his Puma succumbing to a mystery transmission problem by the end of the first stage. His struggle with the Puma is “A final attempt for a good result.” looking ahead to a possible change of car for future rallies.

In the Rally 3 diesels, Fin McCaul not only won the category from Steve Graham, but he took outright R3 victory as well; absolutely delighted with the improvements to his rear wheel drive BMW over the winter break. He is looking forward to the three asphalt events that better suits the suspension set-up of the BMW. Astra diesel pilot Graham put up a fight, but a broken transmission joint ended his event, another scoring by virtue of Super Rally. Last year Steve and brother Tony battled in the R1 class in an MG, while Simon Hughes debuted the diesel on the lanes round Duns.

Rally 2/Citroën C2R2 Cup
Swedes Joakim Nyman and Andreas Sjolander battled with young Brit Adam Gould last month, but with the Scandinavians missing, Gould may have thought the pressure was off; No such luck! Alastair Fisher has been stunning in the Fiesta Championship and he joins the BRC on the ‘ Clark, promising to take the fight all the way. They will not have it all their way though, as young gun Kris Hall is also out in a Fiesta and has an impressive turn of speed too.

Andrew Hockridge took second in R2 and won the Citroën C2R2 Cup in his debut BRC outing, delighted to take the win on his fist foray into a major rally championship. He and the rest of the C2R2 Cup runners will be rejoined by two of last year’s hot drivers George Thomas and Jason Pritchard. The latter led the series for much of the year, while Thomas was a Pirelli Star Driver nominee.

Martin Roberts will return to mix it with the Citroëns in his immaculately prepared C2, currently lying second in the points after a podium on the opening round. Martin McCormack leads the C2s away, hoping his evident speed on gravel translates to asphalt.

Rally 1/Suzuki Swift Sport Cup
Seven Suzukis will contest the event, led by round one winner and local Gordon Nichol. He will be chased by Danish Rally Federation driver Niki Bjerg, who is used to the little 1600cc car, competing in his home one-make series as well as the UK’s.

Mark Gamble led the first event before fuel pump failure robbed him of a fine debut win. His last-minute deal to contest the series also meant he used an unfamiliar left hand drive car, but now his own car is ready, he will be even more of a force to be reckoned with.

The ceremonial start to the Jim Clark International Rally is in the Borders town of Kelso at 4pm on Friday 23rd May. The first of the seventeen stages gets underway on Saturday morning from the nearby Charterhall airfield service area, with cars returning for an overnight halt at around 6pm.

The remainder of the 151 stage miles starts early on Sunday before a finish ceremony in Kelso just before 2pm will see the winner take the well earned spoils.

Mitsubishi team prepares for battle on the Borders

Posted: May 21, 2008 1:06 PM

Round two of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship takes place this weekend, when the Jim Clark Rally sees the Mitsubishi Motors UK Rally Team back in action for the first asphalt event of the season.

Following a resounding victory last month in round one, the Kielder Forest-based Pirelli Rally, Guy Wilks is looking forward to the change of surface and feels that after being caught out on treacherously slippery wet roads last year, he now has a score to settle:
“After what happened last year I have some unfinished business to attend to. We were holding a comfortable lead before the rain, so I know that the pace is there – especially after our test last week. I’m very pleased with the set up we have and, with a trouble free run, I believe we can take our second win of the season.”

As this is Phillip Morrow’s first year with the Mitsubishi team, the Jim Clark Rally will be his first tarmac event in the works Lancer Evolution IX. Morrow is also upbeat about the prospect of a good result following the recent day of testing:
“It was great working with the team during the test and I came away happy with the way the car was performing. I learnt a great deal on the Pirelli Rally, so I intend to build on that experience and, after finishing one place away from the podium, I hope I can get into the top three this time round.”

Ralliart General Manager and the Mitsubishi UK Motorsport boss Paul Brigden, is pleased with the way things have gone so far this season, following a win and a fourth place on the Pirelli Rally and both a successful gravel and asphalt test:
“So far this year the performance of our cars has lived up to our expectations and I’m very pleased that the drivers are reporting they feel confident driving them. At the test we were able to optimise the settings for next weekend’s event and I’m looking forward to seeing how both the cars and drivers perform on tarmac.”

The Jim Clark International Rally begins in Kelso with a ceremonial start on Friday evening followed by two runs of a shake-down stage. The competition gets underway on Saturday with 11 stages before the overnight halt, followed by a further six on Sunday, the sum of which provides a competitive distance of 160 miles.

Both drivers are to be guided around the Berwickshire lanes by their regular co-drivers, Wilks accompanied by Phil Pugh and Morrow by Daniel Barritt.

The two works Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IXs are built by Chesterfield-based ADR Motorsport, who also provide the all-important on-event technical support.

The team is sponsored by Lovell Group and Virgin Money, together with its technical partners: HKS, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA, Ricardo, and Performance Friction Brakes.

Revolution to debut new Subaru on Jim Clark

Posted: May 21, 2008 1:04 PM

The Revolution Wheels Rally Team will debut their exciting new Subaru Impreza N14 this weekend. Piloted by Rob Swann, and run by Geoff Jones Motorsport, the team are hoping for a trouble free rally for the new car.

The new Impreza, developed by Prodrive, in conjunction with Subaru Japan, has already proved competitive on the world stage but this weekend will mark the British tarmac debut of the car. Geoff Jones, who runs the car alongside the N12 of Karl Simmons and the N11 of James Wozencroft, already, has prior experience of his new charge, having been involved in the test and development program.

Demand in the N14 has been exceptionally high and as such Rob only took delivery of his car after the British Rally Championship season opener, the Pirelli International Rally. A successful shakedown test in Wales has helped Rob find a good base setting, as well as acclimatising to the new car, and as such the Revolution Wheels Team driver is brimming with confidence ahead of the first of three back to back tarmac rallies.

Featuring a brand new ‘hatchback’ body shape the new Impreza is built around a much better handling chassis, and with full variable timing on the engine, improving throttle response, the N14 represents a new revolution for Subaru.

Team principal Warren McKiernan is understandably excited about the addition to the team; this has been a long time coming but now that we have taken delivery of the car everyone involved is very excited. In an ideal world we would have liked more time to test and learn about the car but this is what it is and now we are just looking forward to the Jim Clark and the rest of the season.

Rob and co-driver Darren Garrod will form one third of the Revolution Wheels Rally Team this weekend. Subaru N12 pilot Karl Simmons and his co-driving brother Guy will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the mechanical gremlins that prematurely ended their Pirelli Rally and, having gone well on this event in the past, should put in a strong performance this weekend. James Wozencroft and Chris Ridge, have plenty of previous experience of the rally, and once young ‘Wozie’ has adjusted to the extra levels of grip he should be on the pace.

All three drivers have prior experience of the Jim Clark International. Rob finished fifth in the BRC here last year. Karl Simmons enjoyed a competitive run to finish in the top 10 amongst the BRC crews whilst James Wozencroft finished on the class podium in his works Suzuki.

Posted: May 21, 2008 1:01 PM

MSA ASPHALT RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

Posted: May 14, 2008 4:19 PM

The Jim Clark National Rally marks the halfway point in the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship and, having been forced to miss the recent RBS International Manx Rally, 2007 Jim Clark National winners, ANDY FENWICK/LEE TINDALL, will be looking for a repeat performance this time to get their season back on track. Last year’s Subaru Impreza has been replaced by a Skoda Octavia WRC and the car’s proven speed, coupled with Fenwick’s knowledge of the roads in the Scottish Borders, will be a definite advantage in his quest for back-to-back wins.

However, as is always the case in rallying, it’s never over till it’s over and there will be any number of crews queueing up to deny him the opportunity to achieve his goal! 2006 Asphalt Rally Champions DAVID KYNASTON/ANDY RUSSELL (Audi A3 Quattro) arrive in Kelso as series leaders and, although under no illusions as to the task ahead, would dearly love to take the title again this year.

The winners of the recent RBS International Manx Rally, MELVYN EVANS/SEAN MULLALLY, are absent from the Jim Clark, whilst it will be touch-and-go for DAVID MANN/ALUN COOK to make the start. The 2003 Gravel Rally Champions have turned their attention to the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship this year but, having opened their account with a healthy points score on Epynt, their Subaru Impreza WRC caught fire on the Isle of Man. A considerable amount of midnight oil will have been burnt if the pair are to contest the Jim Clark.

In second place in the Championship after the Manx, JOHN & CAROLINE PRICE brought their familiar MG Metro 6R4 back to the finish in Kelso in 5th place last year. A similar result this time would do their title aspirations a power of good while, this time last year, STEVE SIMPSON/MARK BOOTH (Hyundai Accent WRC), who went on to win the Championship, finished just two seconds ahead of the Prices after 100 miles of stages!

Joining the ranks of Metro 6R4 crews, MARK JASPER/DON WHYATT & JOHN STONE/LEE CARTER have cars which, like that of the Prices, are without doubt the quickest and smartest examples still competing at the highest level. The sound of the normally aspirated V6 engine being driven flat-out has always been a great crowd-pleaser and will bring spectators out in droves!

Mitsubishi Lancers appear in the hands of former Group N winners CHRIS MARSHALL/SIMON HUNTER who are now chasing Class B13 honours, whilst ROB TOUT leads the current Group N runners in his EVO9.

The battle for two-wheel drive honours is shaping up to be quite some contest, and it is a brace of Ford Escorts that are leading the way! Excellent runs on both Epynt and the Isle of Man see SIMON MAUGER/BRIAN CAMMACK not only leading their class and the Rear-Wheel Drive category, but also occupying 4th place in the overall points table! GRAHAM HOLLIS/ASHLEY TRIMBLE had a profitable outing on the Manx to take their second consecutive class win, while PETE HUGHES/ CHRIS EVANS put a retirement on the opening round behind them to start their campaign in earnest there.

Having missed the Manx, ASHLEY FIELD/JANICE HOOLEY return with their rapid Darrian T90, while STEVE SIMPSON/MIKE LAWSON are set to make their Championship debut in a Murtaya. DAVE WEST/KEITH HOUNSLOW will have been kept busy in recent days replacing their Peugeot 306 Maxi’s head gasket which blew last time out and, similarly, GEOFF GLOVER/CHARLIE TURNER suffered the indignity of gearbox failure on their Vauxhall Astra RWD.

Reunited with regular co-driver DAVE ROWLEY for the Jim Clark, IAN COPPING (Ford Fiesta RWD) finds himself behind Graham Hollis in Class B11 and ideally placed to benefit from any problems experienced by the 2007 Rear-Wheel Drive category winner.

2007 BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series winners ADRIAN SPENCER/MARK HEWITT (Subaru Impreza) and LEE PERRY/PETER WILLIAMS (Ford Escort Cosworth) all have fair distances to travel up to Kelso, but there will be no such worries for RYAN BORTHWICK/GARY WHITE (Peugeot 206) who both live in St Boswells and are very much on ‘home’ ground this time.

PAUL HAREWOOD will be hoping that his journey up from Taunton will bear fruit as his Vauxhall Astra has suffered transmission woes on both rounds of the Championship so far. His luck on events has to change for the better soon – and the Jim Clark would do just fine! RICHARD BUTLER/MATT DUBBER were also dealt some cruel luck on the Manx when their Honda Civic Type ‘R’ went out with engine problems.

In the absence of MARTIN NEWSON, series newcomers ROLAND JONES/ANDY WYNN are upholding MG ZR honours in Class A5, with DYLAN EVANS/PAUL ROBERTS doing likewise in N1. Also contesting their first season of MSA Asphalt Championship events, wife-and-husband TRACEY-LOUISE & GARRY MUIR (Citroen AX) will be the only registered crew arriving in Kelso from the north - their home is in Peterhead!

Rallying at this level should present competitors with a tough, but enjoyable, challenge and the Jim Clark National Rally certainly ticks all the boxes on that score. As the only ‘closed road’ event on the UK mainland, the Jim Clark is ‘what it’s all about’ as far as many asphalt rally fans are concerned and so, from whatever perspective you view the event – either from inside or outside the car – an excellent day’s sport is in prospect!

Entries Close Monday 5th May / overseas discount

Posted: April 30, 2008 2:52 PM

Just a quick reminder that entries for the Jim Clark close on Monday 5th immediately after Killarney. If you have any intention of being here and have not already done so you should contact us as soon as possible. Remembering of course that due to the bank holiday there is no post, and that contact should be made through the event website (below) mor on one of the following numbers
0044 1668 281576 or 0044 8707 408180

When filling in your entry forms please remember that when the driver and the car travel to the event from overseas there is a £100 discount.


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