Sunday 21 August 2016

Rally - Evans is BRC Champ

By winning the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally this weekend (19/20 August) Elfyn Evans and co-driver Craig Parry have clinched the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship title with one round to go.

The DMACK British Rally Team crew made it four wins from six in Britain’s premier rallying series in their Ford Fiesta R5 while non-BRC registered Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble finished runners up on the rally although Ulsterman Jonathan Greer, in a Citroen DS3 R5, equalled his season best taking third place overall, but second placed BRC points.

Scotland's David Bogie took the final step on the BRC podium in his Skoda Fabia R5 – making it three manufacturers in the top three. Although finishing in fourth place overall, It was David's first BRC podium since the Circuit of Ireland. Sweden's Fredrik Ahlen lost out on a top ten finish when he spent 15 minutes in a field after trying to take  a left hander carrying too much pace with co-driver Morten Erik Abrahamsson taking the blame for being too late with the Note.

Tarmac-ace and ex-pat Scot Alex Laffey took his first outright points on the Ulster, improving on every stage to round out the top ten BRC runners in 13th place overall while Blair Brown and Richard Simmons were cruelly forced to retire their Ford Fiesta R2T on the final stage of the 14 stage rally.

National Rally Cup winner Robert Blomberg made it at hat-trick of victories, but only after initial event leaders Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer retired on Saturday morning with turbo woes while second placed runners Lee Hastings and Julie McGuire retired with gearbox problems on the same stage.

Ross Marshall and David Robson were 9th in the National event in their Ford Escort Mk2 and 6th in class and Allan McDowall and Gavin Heseltine were 21st back behind the wheel of their Opel Kadett. Alasdair Currie and Steven Brown were 40th in their Peugeot 106 and 7th in class after incurring a 12 minute penalty trying to refettle the ageing Peugeot which would otherwise have placed them well inside the top 30 while Thaarique Fazal and Amanda Burney failed to finish their Vauxhall Nova.

At the rally finish, David Bogie said: "This has to be one of the toughest rallies I have ever done, from the recce, through to two long days of rallying. The conditions were very difficult with mud, water, gravel, shiny Tarmac – there were so many factors to make it difficult. We had a wheel bearing collapse on the last stage with a mile to go. We made a repair to get the car to the finish and that was very stressful as I thought it was the Scottish Rally all over again! We are very happy to get back to the finish in third place.”

Winner Elfyn Evans commented: “The event was really tough, in fact it was probably the toughest of the season with the weather changing all the time, stage conditions changing constantly – it was difficult to keep up with everything and do the job in hand. After making a few wrong tyre choices yesterday we played it safe and erred on the side of caution on the second day to make sure we held our advantage and take the win.

“It feels pretty good to win the BRC title. We had hoped it was possible to wrap-up the title on the Ulster but in rallying anything can happen so we still needed to finish in a certain position and be in front of Tom [Cave] and Fredrik [Ahlin]. To combine it with a win is very special and it’s nice to be going home with the championship, especially 20 years since my Dad [Gwyndaf Evans] won the title on this event.”

MSA British Rally Championship, Round 6 – Ulster Rally
1, Elfyn Evans/Craig Parry (Ford Fiesta R5) 2:11:15.4
2, Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (Ford Fiesta) +1:07.6
3, Jonathan Greer/Kirsty Riddick (Citroen DS3 R5) +1:25.4
4, David Bogie/James O’Reilly (Skoda Fabia R5) +2:00.4
5, Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Citroen DS3 R5) +2:07.4 
6, Marty McCormack/David Moynihan (Skoda Fabia S2000) +4:31.9 
7, Josh Moffett/John Rowan (Ford Fiesta R5) +5:53.7
8, Rhys Yates/Tom Woodburn (Ford Fiesta R5) +5:55.4
9, J McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Skoda Fabia S2000) +6:29.2
10, Tom Cave/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5) +6:54.3

MSA British Rally Championship for Drivers points (after 6 of 7 rounds)
1: Elfyn Evans 135 (Champion)
2: Tom Cave 74
3: Jonathan Greer 66
4: Fredrik Ahlin 65
5: Josh Moffett 52
6: David Bogie 36

(Round 7 – Isle of Man will offer double points. Every driver has to drop one score)

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