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2020 British Rally Championship

Posted: January 23, 2020 8:27 AM - 1776 Hits

David Kelly Sets sights on British Rally Championship 2020

Posted: January 23, 2020 7:53 AM

24 year old David Kelly from Donegal Town has announced his plans to compete this year in the British Rally Championship. Kelly, who was shortlisted into the top 3 young Irish Rally Drivers of 2019 plan to progress onto the next step in Motorsport by heading across the Irish Sea to compete in the one make British Rally Championship Junior series.

With a host of drivers from all corners of Europe already signed up to compete it is sure to be a tough contest from the word go.

The first round is the Cambrian Rally in North Wales, this event uses gravel stages from World Rally Championship event Rally GB Wales and is sure to be a test on man and machine. The second round is hosted on Tarmac over two days in West Cork in mid-March. With other rounds in London, Belgium, Northern Ireland and Scotland at the back end of 2020.

On speaking with Kelly he noted the competition will be fierce but he is going to try gather as much experience as possible.
“The BRC is a fantastic championship! If you want competition, this is the place to get it. With the series being closed now to only Ford Fiesta R2 cars it will make it even for everyone”

The winner of the championship is eligible for £60,000 towards a drive in the World Rally Championship in 2021. Kelly also hopes to compete is a number of events in Ireland during the year.

David is also in the 2020 MI Rally Academy which will be a huge help for him in progressing his ability.
“I was at the first academy day on Saturday. It was a huge help, they coached us in relation to progressing our fitness, carried out a fitness test, gave us a plan on improving our diets pre and post rally and also networking with the media on and offline. The team have put in fantastic work and have prepared a fantastic programme for the MI Rally Academy in 2020. It’s a credit to the programme co-ordinator Sean McHugh and his team”

For now Kelly is focusing on getting some testing in the car ahead of the first round on the 8th of February. He noted that without the support of his sponsors none of this would be possible.

Creighton launches Junior British Rally Championship title bid with Fiesta switch

Posted: January 21, 2020 5:16 PM

Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Award nominee William Creighton will fight for the Junior British Rally Championship title in 2020 and €60,000 towards an FIA Junior World Rally Championship [JWRC] programme the following year in a brand-new M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2.

Creighton, 22 from Moira in Co. Down had remained loyal to the Peugeot Sport brand for five years after acquiring a 208 R2 in 2015, using the French machine to win the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the FIA Celtic Trophy and Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship class titles as well as becoming Junior BRC runner up in 2017 and 2019.

Creighton and regular co-driver Liam Regan will return to the six-round championship behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta as the series switches to a single make formula for 2020, supported by M-Sport and Pirelli.

Creighton’s competitive career began on the racetrack, contesting the Ulster Kart Championship to become the champion in 2012. A shift to the Junior 1000 Rally series in 2013 saw him get his first taste of stage events before developing into one of the most experienced Junior drivers of the current era, honing his skills on the British and Irish stages since the age of 14.

Creighton had the enviable record of finishing all 16 events last season. Despite his impressive accolade, he narrowly missed out on the Junior BRC title in 2019 and a place on the Billy Coleman Award finalist list.

His determination to succeed means he has elected to spend the forthcoming season aiming for the British title that has so far eluded him and gain experience of the new marque for the future.

“It’s always a difficult decision when you reach a crossroads like I have after the end of last season and there were several directions we could have taken really,” says Creighton.

“We sat down and explored all the options available to us and it would have been easy to consider a switch to four-wheel drive or a European championship or even something different altogether. But we laid all our cards on the table and thought, what is ultimately best for my career. So we decided to take the plunge with the Fiesta.”

This will mark Creighton’s fourth season in the British Championship, but he doesn’t see staying in the series as a backward step.

“It’s easy to forget I’m just 22 years old and that I’m young enough to be able to take my time and ensure I`m in the right place and have the right experience to progress, so we are really preparing for the future here” he continues.

“Looking ahead at say the Junior WRC, you need huge experience on all surfaces and the British Championship gives you that. I want to head to these events this year with my prior knowledge and tackle them in one of the best cars out there. That said, it's not just about getting the time in the Fiesta, I`m not going back to be the bridesmaid again, I`m going for the win”.

Whilst the British Championship is largely similar to last season, one new event appears on the calendar which will be new to most of the title contenders, but he doesn’t believe that will hamper his title hopes.

“The Clacton Rally will be a new event to me altogether so that may require a different approach. But if I was to jump in the JWRC they would all be new aside from Wales Rally GB, so I need to get used to that. The goal for the season is the championship, it’s as simple as that. Winning the €60,000 is the best possible chance I would have at contesting the JWRC the following year and having one more season under my belt would ensure I`d be prepared for what lies ahead. I`m ready for the season that’s for sure”.

The opening round of the season takes place on 8th February in North Wales with the Cambrian Rally.

McErlean bids for British Rally Championship title with Hyundai i20 R5 drive

Posted: January 9, 2020 8:49 AM

Billy Coleman Award winner Josh McErlean will take the next step of his career in 2020 after securing a deal to drive a Hyundai i20 R5 in the 2020 British Rally Championship backed by Motorsport Ireland, Sport-Ireland and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.

With support from Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, the reigning Junior British Rally Champion will embark on a full campaign in the six-round series, marking his first season behind the wheel of a four-wheel-drive machine. The Hyundai will be run by Philip Case Rally Sport with regular co-driver Keaton Williams returning to the passenger seat.

McErlean, 20 from Kilrea in Co. Derry has enjoyed a rapid rise into the latest R5 category after securing the Junior British Rally Championship title in 2019. Three wins and two fourth places in his Woodland NI backed Peugeot 208 R2 secured him victory with one round to spare.

His reward was a supported drive on Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship [WRC], Wales Rally GB, backed by the British Rally Championship [BRC] and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing. Despite making his WRC debut, McErlean set a string of impressive times before being forced to retire.

A further outing came in December when he was offered the opportunity to contest the iconic Monza Rally Show in Italy, once again in a Hyundai i20 R5. In a star-studded entry list, McErlean finished an impressive 18th overall and third spot in the hotly contested Hyundai i20 R5 Trophy.

His season was rounded off by winning the coveted Billy Coleman Award for the Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year after being nominated for his performances from January to April. This prestigious accolade has netted the youngster support to the value of €100,000 towards his 2020 season and McErlean will use the funding for his British Championship campaign.

“Competing at the forefront of the British Rally Championship has always been a dream of mine and to finally get the opportunity to do so is really something quite special,” says McErlean.

“After winning the Junior title, this really is the next step forward in my career and now that we have major support from Motorsport Ireland, I have opportunities available to me that I could only daydream of before. I must keep my career moving forward and the chance of doing the full BRC in a Hyundai is priceless“.

The Kilrea ace has honed his craft in the sport from a young age, sealing the F1000 British and Northern Ireland titles before stepping into a Citroen C2R2 Max and the Junior BRC the following year. McErlean enjoyed some giant-killing results in the outdated Citroen, whilst the switch to the Peugeot 208 R2 brought most success.

His outings in the Hyundai saw McErlean’s raw pace come to the fore and despite his lack of experience in four-wheel-drive machinery, he feels he is ready to take on the British Championship.

“We achieved so much in 2019 and I really was able to learn so much about myself and the sport, but this is like a whole new start for me” he continues.

“It’s another huge step in my career but I mustn’t stand still, I have to keep improving and gaining experience with every stage mile. Of course, I have one eye on the future and that forms a huge part of this plan for me and although Keaton and I are one of the youngest crews to compete in an R5 at this level, we have already been in this situation so are aware what we need to do to deal with it”.

McErlean’s aim this season is for a measured approach.

“There are many people involved in supporting this campaign and I am in such a privileged position, so I have to be smart and not get carried away. Solid finishes are the main aim of this season, but it would be great to get some good results under our belt too. I’m relishing the challenges that lay ahead and the start line of the Cambrian [Rally] is all that I am waiting for now”.

The British Rally Championship consists of six rounds, two gravel and four asphalt, with the season kicking off at the Cambrian Rally in the North Wales forests in February.

BRC CHAMPION TEAMS UP WITH YUASA

Posted: January 9, 2020 8:31 AM

Matt Edwards will be chasing a third British Rally Championship crown this year – taking to the wheel of M-Sport’s EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 MkII with support from title sponsor Yuasa, Swift Leisure Vehicles and Pirelli.

The Fiesta has delivered the British Rally Championship for the past four years – with Elfyn Evans in 2016, Keith Cronin in 2017 and Edwards in 2018 and 2019. And this year the Welshman will return in pursuit of a fifth title for the Fiesta – and first for M-Sport’s latest global rally car, the Fiesta R5 MkII.

Well known for their support of British motorsport, Yuasa – one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers and a global leader in quality and innovation – have increased their support to become Edwards’ main sponsor for the 2020 season.

The Fiesta will carry Yuasa’s famous colour scheme – as made popular in the British Touring Car Championship – with flashes red and black on a white base ensuring Edwards looks the part as he chases top results through some of the most iconic stages the UK, Ireland and Belgium have to offer!

Swift Leisure Vehicles – the UK’s largest manufacturer of touring caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes – also continue their support. As do Italian tyre giants Pirelli – and Edwards’ eye-catching 2020 challenger will be displayed on the Pirelli stand throughout this week’s Autosport International Show at Birmingham’s NEC.

The six-event championship gets underway at Edwards’ home event in February – with the Welshman keen to defend last year’s win on the gravel stages of the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally. Then it’s over to Ireland for some asphalt action at the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally, before more asphalt on the only English event at the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton.

The second half of the season starts with a trip to Europe where the crews will battle it out through some of Belgium’s fastest Tarmac lanes at the legendary Renties Ypres Rally, before a trip to Northern Ireland for even more Tarmac at the Today’s Ulster Rally. And the season is brought to a close on gravel, as Scotland’s Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally hosts the finale. Matt Edwards said:

"It’s fantastic to be heading into 2020 with M-Sport again, and I’m also very pleased Yuasa have joined us for this year’s campaign. It’s exciting to be heading into the New Year with the Ford Fiesta R5 MkII – a car I already have some experience of on Tarmac – and I’m confident we can be competitive and fight for a third consecutive title."

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“When you think of British rallying you can’t help but think of some of the biggest names in the sport; and with two titles already in the bag Matt is fast making a name for himself. A third title would bring him just one away from the great Roger Clark, and we plan to give him everything he needs to achieve that goal.

“He delivered two fantastic seasons in 2018 and 2019, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do with the Ford Fiesta R5 MkII this year. The organisers have delivered another great championship with some truly fantastic stages, and Matt has proven performance on all surfaces so I see no reason why the Fiesta can’t deliver a fifth title in 2020.”

Managing Director of GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd, James Hylton, said:
“We’re excited to be working with Matt and the M-Sport team again – their results over the last few years have been hugely impressive so continuing our support as they challenge for their third championship was an obvious one for us.

“We’re proud to be continuing our partnership with Swift too. Since joining their value-added partner programme last year, we’ve worked hard to integrate the two brands closely while continuing to provide the leisure vehicle market with the most state-of-the-art equipment available.”

Director of Sales and Marketing of Swift Group, Nick Page, said:
“After many years involvement with rallying it has been a tremendous couple of years for Swift supporting Matt as he secured his first two British Championships. There have been many thrilling moments to enjoy and we are delighted to be alongside him once again this year in his quest to become a triple champion.”

Pirelli UK motorsport Manager, Jonathan Wells, said:
“Pirelli has a proud heritage in British rallying and Matt has helped us to add to that story with the success he’s achieved using our tyres over the past two years. With its range of demanding events across different surfaces, the British Rally Championship has always been a considerable test for a tyre manufacturer as well as for a driver, and Matt has proven his speed and consistency on both gravel and asphalt. We’re looking forward to working with Matt and M-Sport again this year in their challenge for a third straight title, and it’s great to host his new-look Fiesta R5 MkII on our stand at the Autosport International this week as a demonstration of Pirelli’s commitment to rallying.”

EDSL Sport offers British Rally Championship prize drive for Academy champion

Posted: September 6, 2019 1:19 PM

EDSL Sport will support rising talent in the 2020 British Rally Championship, by offering a fully-funded prize drive on Wales Rally GB National to the winner of the newly announced British Rally Championship Academy Trophy.

As official M-Sport UK re-sellers, the progressive outfit has been an instrumental part of the 2019 Junior British Rally Championship (JBRC), fielding competitors such as James Williams, Marty Gallagher and Jordan Hone in the squad.

Now, the firm will offer the chance for an aspiring young driver to contest the National section of the iconic World Rally Championship qualifier behind the wheel of the latest specification M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T.

EDSL Sport has grown from strength to strength after breaking cover on Wales Rally GB in 2018. From their impressive facility in Hampshire, they provide the outlet for all generations of the M-Sport Fiesta’s and are the official contact to supply competition parts, technical support, car builds and sales for the marque.

As well as on-event support with a dedicated M-Sport parts truck, EDSL Sport has three 2019-specification M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T’s at their disposal which has seen a wide range of drivers step into the latest generation of R2 car in 2019. Each career-minded pilot in the Junior British Rally Championship has been battling for a substantial €60,000 prize from M-Sport and Pirelli towards a season in the 2020 FIA Junior World Rally Championship, an incentive which will continue into next season.

However, 2020 will see a shift to a single make formula, with the JBRC becoming a Ford Fiesta only series. The Ford Fiesta R2 has been the market leader of the category since its creation in 2009 and is now a popular sight on events across the world. After a handful of evolutions, the Fiesta now packs a turbo-charged 999cc Ford EcoBoost engine which delivers 200 HP at 6,500 RPM, putting it at the pinnacle of R2 machinery.

The BRC Academy Trophy offers the opportunity for aspiring young drivers under 25 years of age to contest the prestigious BRC calendar but in older generation R2 machinery. This offers the chance to sample the events and hone their skills in a dedicated class for potential newcomers in examples from the likes of Citroen, Peugeot, Opel and early Fiesta R2’s.

The winner, at the end of the season, will receive a fully subsidised prize drive in a 2019 specification M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T, courtesy of EDSL Sport, on the national section of Wales Rally GB.

Team Principle Alex Waterman believes the prize offers a great opportunity for progressive youngsters to sample modern day R2 machinery on an iconic rally.

“There has always been a fantastic ladder of progression opportunity from M-Sport throughout the decades and they have always been a supporter of talented youngsters in the sport, especially the British Rally Championship” says Waterman.

“It’s only natural that EDSL Sport continues that ethos and look to assist the next generation of drivers. The BRC Academy Trophy is a great place for those eager to develop their careers, to hone their skills.

You only have to look at the likes of Gus Greensmith and Elfyn Evans who have both followed M-Sport’s path into the WRC, so we are delighted to be able to offer the Academy winner the chance to sample the latest generation of Ford Fiesta R2T’s on the iconic World Rally Championship qualifier.”

Iain Campbell, British Rally Championship Manager welcomes the prize.

“The British Rally Championship is renowned the world over for its support of progressive Junior drivers and the Junior BRC has produced some exceptional talent over the years” he says.

“With the switch to a single make formula for 2020, we had been looking at a way of allowing those youngsters with older generation R2 examples the opportunity to be part of the BRC and thanks to EDSL Sport’s superb prize offer, the BRC Academy Trophy was a natural fit for the series. We look forward to welcoming crews to the opening round in Llandudno in February 2020”.

More information on EDSL Sport can be found by visiting www.edslsport.co.uk

2020 British Rally Championship calendar announced

Posted: September 4, 2019 3:42 AM

As the action-packed 2019 series heads to an exciting final round showdown, the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship (BRC) has today (4 September) confirmed its exciting 2020 calendar.
In 2020, Britain’s premier rallying series will feature six rounds in six territories, with events across the UK in Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The series will once again visit Belgium for the classic Ypres Rally as well as the popular staple in Irish Rallying, the West Cork Rally – successfully introduced into the series last year.

The new-look calendar will once again offer crews a challenging, action-packed campaign, with asphalt and gravel rallies offering six unique challenges – varying in length, mileage surface and format.

Where is the British Rally Championship going in 2020?

The Cambrian Rally will provide the 2020 curtain call once again with iconic stages as featured on Wales Rally, the scene for the first battle of the year. With unprecedented support from Conwy County Council, this British rallying favourite gets the championship underway in February next year with the BRC teams returning to the heart of Llandudno once again.

The Welsh season opener will be backed up by fast and furious action on the picturesque Cork roads. The Clonakilty Park West Cork Rally will feature iconic Irish stages for the best in the British Championship to go head-to-head with the Irish Tarmac Championship for an early season clash over 150 miles in Clonakilty, Republic of Ireland.

A return to England will be in store for the drivers and co-drivers in April. New for 2020 will be the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton. First run in 2018, the event has grown from strength to strength and will offer the BRC its first trip to Essex in its 62-year history and will give competitors and fans a completely new event with the closed road stages in the South East of England offering a step into the unknown – making competition an exciting spectacle.

After a short break, action resumes on the famous Renties Ypres Rally in June as the BRC goes toe-to-toe with some of the best drivers in the World at another rallying heartland. Coupled with the Belgian passion for rallying, 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 coupled with the unpredictable weather conditions – this event could play a decisive part in the fight for one of rallying’s most coveted crowns next season.

The Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland will once again play host to the championship decider. The rally utilises one of the largest forest estates in the UK and the forest tracks are a real favourite for the BRC stars. With the championship going down to the wire in recent times, expect more nail-biting drama on the final day of the season next September.

Junior BRC offering €60,000 JWRC prize for 2020 champion

The British Rally Championship in collaboration with WRC Powerhouse M-Sport and global tyre manufacturer Pirelli, will for a second year provide a career changing €60,000 to put towards a drive in the Junior World Rally Championship.

In 2019 the prize will be awarded to the top Ford Fiesta driver in the series and as it stands heading to the final round, three drivers have a mathematical chance of taking home the cheque.

For 2020, the same prize is on offer but next year the Junior BRC switches to a one-make Ford Fiesta R2T championship – providing a perfect step for drivers aspiring to join the Junior WRC as the world series uses identical one-litre turbo-charged machines. The Junior BRC has always provided unpredictable competition, with eight different crews spraying the champagne in 2019 and coupled with identical cars, 2020 is all set to bring the closely-fought competition to another level.

New BRC Academy the perfect stepping stone into the BRC

The British Rally Championship will launch a new BRC Academy Trophy for 2020, offering drivers under the age of 25 the chance to contest the same six-round series as the stars in the top-flight and Junior BRC.

With the JBRC the perfect stepping stone into the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, the BRC Academy will sit below and offer the first step on the BRC ladder – providing the home for older generation front-wheel-drive R2 cars from Citroen, Ford, Opel, Peugeot and Skoda. Intense competition throughout the season is expected from the stars of tomorrow, with the eventual winner being crowned a British Champion – and with it, free entries into every BRC round in 2021.
Furthermore, those competing in this class will also have another incentive as the highest placed driver at the end of the season will win a fully subsidised drive on the Wales Rally GB National Rally in a state-of-the-art Ford Fiesta R2T courtesy of EDSL Sport.

BRC Championship Manager Iain Campbell

“We may have one more round to run, but plans are well underway for the 2020 championship season,” enthused Iain Campbell. “The announcement of the calendar shows our commitment to providing the best all round package for events for our competitors and spectators. We have a mix of short, sharp one-day shootouts to longer, tougher international events.

“Our calendar allows competitors to compete on some iconic stages against some of the best drivers in the world, as we go head-to-head with the Irish Tarmac Championship on two occasions and also with the Belgian Championship – lifting the pace of everyone in the process.

“I am delighted to welcome the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton event onto the calendar for next year. The rally will be in its third year and will offer a brand-new challenge for our crews and bring the championship to a new geographical location – which is really important for us to grow the following and fan base of the BRC.

2018 BRC Champion Matt Edwards

“The 2019 season has been a fantastic challenge, with lots of close competition on every round – and with the title still up for grabs, there’s still a lot to look forward to this year.

“The BRC visits some unique events and the competition we go up against includes some of the best competitors in the world, and that really progresses us as drivers and raises the standard for the entire series. Starting in Wales on the Cambrian will be special again and the Scottish forests at the end of the season will be fitting for the season finale. Throw in some of the most iconic Tarmac rallies in the world and the 2020 calendar will once again provide tough year of competition.

“New events always add a new challenge for competitors, and the event in Clacton-on-Sea will certainly provide that. I am fully supportive of new events, full of ambition and I look forward to seeing how the team prepare and make the step-up to join the BRC calendar next year.”

2019 BRC title protagonist Tom Cave

“The BRC is one of the premier championships in Europe and the pace at the front is as fast as it has ever been and that shows when we go up against other series'. 2020 has a good mix of events across the year and Clacton will be a brand new unique challenge. As it will be the first time in the calendar it will create new stages to compete on and new opportunities to take the BRC to a different part of the country.”

2011 BRC Champion David Bogie

“The BRC calendar has a strong mix of asphalt and gravel with some popular events to go to. With top-quality competition again it will be another great fight come the Galloway Hills at the end of the year.”

Further initiatives regarding next season will be announced in due course, but in the meantime the 2019 championship continues later this month with the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally (14 September) as the crews tackle the one-day showdown on the legendary Scottish forestry stages

Keep tabs on all the latest BRC developments by visiting www.britishrallychampionship.co.uk or by following us on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #BRC

Championship Rounds

Posted: September 4, 2019 3:41 AM

  1. Cambrian Rally - (Sat) 8 Feb 20
  2. West Cork Rally - 14-15 Mar 20
  3. Tendring and Clacton Stages Rally - 25-26 Apr 20
  4. Ypres Rally - 25-27 Jun 20
  5. Ulster Rally - 21-22 Aug 20
  6. Galloway Hills Rally - (Sat) 19 Sep 20

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


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