2021 British Rally Championship

Posted: April 2, 2021 7:26 PM - 1132 Hits

Junior BRC champ to receive Hyundai i20 Rally 2 World Championship prize drive

Posted: April 2, 2021 9:51 AM

The winner of the 2021 Motorsport UK Junior British Rally Championship will be offered a career-defining opportunity to contest a round of the FIA World Rally Championship, behind the wheel of a Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing i20 N Rally 2.

Thanks to a collaboration between the British Rally Championship and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, the Junior BRC champion will have the use of the latest generation Rally 2 car from the Alzenau based squad, with additional support from the BRC at a European round of the WRC in 2022.

The prize drive opportunity comes as the Junior BRC reverts to an open formula for all Rally 4 and R2 category vehicles this season, offering a wide range of eligible vehicles to score points in the series for under 26-year-olds.

A tried and tested proving ground for young drivers eager to make their mark on the European and world stage, the British Rally Championship has previously partnered with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, which enabled 2019 Junior BRC champion Josh McErlean to contest his home round of the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB.

“There is no doubt that the Hyundai i20 R5 prize drive on Wales Rally GB was one of the turning points in my career and played a significant factor in me becoming a Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver this year,” says McErlean.

“The Junior BRC really brought me on as a driver and ensured I developed my skills and pace on both asphalt and gravel surfaces. The drive on Wales Rally GB in a Hyundai was simply unbelievable and gave me a springboard to the rest of my career. I have a lot to thank the BRC and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing for and anyone who gets to tackle an event as I did is very, very lucky indeed”.

The Junior BRC champion will be contesting the very same stages as current WRC frontrunners and former BRC contenders Craig Breen and Elfyn Evans during their World Championship outing and Championship Manager Iain Campbell is looking forward to seeing another JBRC graduate sample the WRC.

“The Motorsport UK British Rally Championship is delighted to offer this amazing prize in association with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing,” he says.

“We are always very eager to ensure young and talented drivers in the British Championship are recognised and have a platform to be able to showcase their skills and have an opportunity to receive career-defining opportunities. Thanks to the backing of the championship, Hyundai Motorsport and our supporters, we can offer yet another fantastic prize for our Junior winners”.

Andrew Johns, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Operations Leader said:
“Continuing our cooperation with the British Rally Championship for 2021 is very exciting. In the past few seasons we’ve been able to welcome some very talented drivers into an i20 R5, including Josh McErlean who is now part of our Customer Racing Junior Driver Program this year.

Joining a WRC event with the i20 N Rally2 is a great opportunity for the successful driver to show their pace against the best drivers in the world, and act as a first step in the next stage of their rallying career. The series’ organisers have done a great job putting together a calendar of events under difficult conditions, and I look forward to following a very competitive season.”

The revised Motorsport UK British Rally Championship calendar starts on 31st May with the Neil Howard Stages in assoc. with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors hosting the opening round at Oulton Park Circuit.

The series will be played out across seven rounds, visiting each of the four home nations, with three asphalt and four gravel events making up the thrilling BRC tour this season. Regulations and BRC registrations are now available online.

Oulton Park to host British Rally Championship opener

Posted: March 28, 2021 9:51 AM

The iconic Oulton Park Circuit will provide the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship with a history-making opening round of the 2021 season as the series commences with the Neil Howard Stages in association with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors on 31st May.

Despite announcing its six-round calendar of events just last week (16th March), British Rally Championship organisers have since been offered the opportunity to open the season at the Cheshire circuit in May, bringing an additional asphalt event to the schedule.

The impressive Cheshire circuit played host to the opening special stage of Wales Rally GB in 2019 which provided a unique and challenging backdrop for the best rally drivers in the world.

That setting will now provide the starting point for the BRC elite in what is sure to be a close-run first round thanks to its tightly-packed yet unforgivable format.

The BRC top-flight will go head-to-head with the popular Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship series regulars for the first time, offering a ramped-up look to the event and the race for overall honours.

British Rally Championship Manager Iain Campbell said:
“The British Rally Championship is delighted to be opening its 2021 season at such a prestigious location as Oulton Park and breaking new ground for the series at the same time.

The BRC prides itself on being a progressive series with each event in the calendar offering a unique characteristic and the Neil Howard Stages is certainly going to provide a very different start to the 2021 season for our championship contenders.

Of course, rallying at a circuit is not a new concept with the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship enjoying a successful number of seasons now and events like ACI Rally Monza on the WRC tour have proven that the format can work well.

We have been working hard on delivering a calendar worthy of the British title and it’s clear in the past 18 months or so we all have to step outside of our comfort zone. The opportunity to get the season underway in May is very appealing I`m very excited to see how the BRC goes at Oulton.”

New-look to 2021 British Rally Championship

Posted: March 28, 2021 9:50 AM

The prestigious British Rally Championship will return in 2021 with a revised calendar of events after a radical overhaul from the originally planned schedule.

With ongoing restrictions forcing a change to the provisional programme set out last December, the first three qualifiers, the Circuit of Ireland Rally, Corbeau Seats Tendring and Clacton Rally and Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally were forced to cancel.

But the re-formatted BRC will now start in July with six challenging events across the four home nations, before closing out the season in November. Four gravel and two asphalt events will make up a compact yet thrilling 2021 season, offering a formidable mix of events.

The Nicky Grist Stages will become the opening round of the championship, with a one-day blast across classic Welsh forest stages from its Builth Wells home providing the perfect backdrop to kick-start the series.

Originally announced as a qualifier back in December, the “Grist” hasn’t appeared on the BRC tour since 2017 but is a firm favourite for many championship protagonists.

In a first for the BRC line-up, crews will make the trip to Kincardineshire in North East Scotland for the Grampian Forest Rally. Ultra-fast and flowing stages will provide crews with a new challenge and offers up a perfect leveller to the 2021 championship in August.

Trackrod Rally Yorkshire makes a welcome return to the calendar in September, offering flat-out Dalby Forest tests both under the cover of darkness on and in daylight. Last seen on the BRC roster in 2013, the English forests are renowned for throwing up a few surprises.

One of the most popular stage events in the UK steps into the fold in early October, as the Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally hosts a spectacular weekend of closed road rallying on the Isle of Mull. Arguably the toughest challenge in rallying, the island event houses a unique format with much of the competitive mileage in the dark, offering an additional challenge to crews and worthy of inclusion of the BRC tour.

Opening the series during the past two years, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally switches to an October date in 2021, providing imposing forest stages made famous by Wales Rally GB from its base in Llandudno.

The final round of the 2021 British Championship will be played out across the infamous and tricky closed-public roads of Northern Ireland at the Today’s Ulster Rally. In a shift from its traditional August date, the unpredictable climate in the North Channel will provide a dynamic twist on the BRC curtain call as the battle for the title could well be played out on icy stages this November.

British Rally Championship Manager Iain Campbell said:
“It’s been an extremely tough time for all forms of motorsport over the past 12 months or so and the British Rally Championship hasn’t escaped the challenges caused by the pandemic. But we have been working very hard behind the scenes to create a calendar worthy of the British Championship title and I truly believe we have come up with an exciting, challenging yet cost-effective offering for our BRC top-flight, Juniors and National competitors.

Of course, we were disappointed to lose the opening three rounds of the planned 2021 calendar and we were eager to ensure we could still provide a six-round series that encompassed both gravel and asphalt surfaces, as well as each event having a unique format and style.

I’d like to thank all of the events in the calendar that have worked with us and it goes without saying that we are all looking forward to finally getting the season underway in Builth Wells in July.”

Edwards announces BRC campaign with Volkswagen

Posted: March 28, 2021 9:46 AM

Matt Edwards will return to the British Rally Championship in 2021 in a bid to secure his third title in a row, but switches to a Volkswagen Polo R5 for his potential history-making campaign.

Backed by global battery giant Yuasa, who returns as title sponsor for the second consecutive season, Edwards will mark his first full BRC season outside of the M-Sport Ford marque since joining the series in 2016, piloting a Melvyn Evans Motorsport run Polo R5.

Edwards will also be joined by long-term supporters, leisure industry leaders Swift Group as well as a new partner, Volkswagen Group Genuine Parts provider, TPS.

“I’m very excited to be returning to the British Rally Championship, not only to try for a third title but also to see what this season has in store,” says Edwards.

“My campaign will look very different from the last four years that’s for sure and we have been working very hard over the winter to make sure we have the best package possible in the Volkswagen Polo. I truly believe we have the platform to go out there and get title number three.

“I’ve got fantastic support from Yuasa, Swift Group, TPS and of course Pirelli for 2021, so if you put all of that together plus the experience and knowledge of running leading R5 cars in Melvyn Evans Motorsport, then you have a winning package right there. It’s that simple”.

The 36-year-old Welshman from Llandudno secured his maiden BRC title in 2018 with the Fiesta R5, repeating the feat in 2019 before switching to the MKII version for his home event, the Cambrian Rally in 2020.

Now, Edwards is set to be one of the first drivers to bring the iconic Volkswagen brand and Polo R5 to the British Championship and is confident about his title chances, despite the `unknowns` that the 2021 season holds.

“My BRC form is pretty good” he quips.

“But there will be a lot of new challenges to conquer this year and that always means that it could throw up a few surprises. We are hearing that the BRC will have a strong entry again but with the new events in the calendar, it should level the playing field a little. I`m excited to get some quality milage in the Polo though. I know it’s a very capable car and the setup we have should mean we can challenge at the front from the first round. That’s certainly the plan”.

Like most sports in 2020, the British Rally Championship was forced to cancel its proposed season which left Edwards out of the driving seat since March.

“It’s been almost twelve months since I’ve been able to compete as a driver although I have managed to carry out some tuition and co-driving duties when restrictions have allowed. That will probably help in a way as it will feel like a clean sheet, a new start if you like when we get underway again. As I say, I’m very excited about this season and very indebted to my supporters for their backing once again. Let’s hope I can do them and myself proud”.

Jon Pritchard, General Sales and Marketing Manager for GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd said: “We are delighted to be backing Matt again and excited to see what he will achieve as he hunts his third BRC title in the fabulous VW Polo R5.

“We have had a partnership with him for a number of years now and his performance and attitude reflect our own core values of reliability, quality and teamwork. After the cancellation of the 2020 championship, we can’t wait to see him and the team back in action.”

Championship Rounds (Revised 23 Mar 21)

Posted: March 28, 2021 9:45 AM

  • Neil Howard Memorial Stages - (Mon) 31 May 21
  • Nicky Grist (Quinton) Stages - 10 Jul 21
  • Grampian Forest Rally - (Sat) 14 Aug 21
  • Trackrod Rally Yorkshire Forest Stages - 24-25 Sep 21
  • Mull - 8-10 Oct 21
  • Cambrian Rally - (Sat) 30 Oct 21
  • Ulster Rally - 19-20 Nov 21

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