Neuville & Edwards win in Ypres

Thierry Neuville dominated the Ypres Rally, winning 15 of the 23 stages in a one-off appearance at the Belgian rally for the second consecutive year in a Hyundai i20 R5. The current World Rally Championship points leader crashed out of this event last year, but this year made few mistakes, building and maintaining a comfortable lead from the second stage to the finish. Vincent Verschuren driving a Skoda Fabia R5 finished second, 40.4 seconds adrift.
For the second successive year, the Ypres Rally was also a qualifying round of the British Rally Championship, with Keith Cronin leading until the last stage of the rally before loosing over a minute on the last stage with a puncture, causing him to fall to third and handing victory to M-Sport works driver Matt Edwards and second place to David Bogie.
The BRC section of the Belgian rally featured a litany of dramas including Martin McCormack crashing his Skoda Fabia R5 out of second in class on the final leg.

24th June, 2018

Prestone BRC Heads to Ypres for Round 2

This weekend the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship heads overseas to Belgium for the Renties Ypres Rally for round two of the 2018 series and the Prestone BRC team are sending the best from all of the home nations in the quest for European silverware. Tony Pond, Jimmy McRae and Kris Meeke are the only British drivers to have lifted the trophy in northern Belgium.

Two days comprising more than 160 competitive miles in daylight and atmospheric night time conditions on the fast and flowing Belgian Tarmac roads await the BRC stars. In the series 60th anniversary season, the finest BRC crews will compete against some of the best in the world including FIA World Rally Championship leaders Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul in a factory Hyundai i20 R5 and last years Ypres Rally winners Kevin Abbring and Pieter Tsjoen in their brand new Citroen C3 R5.

As well as chasing the overall podium, competitors will be vying for the Tony Pond Award, which will be presented to the first BRC crew across the finish line. There will also be a Junior Tony Pond Award adding another incentive for the emerging talent of rallying to go for in the Flanders region.
Leading the championship after the first round in England are Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod in their MSport prepared Ford Fiesta R5. The Welsh pairing claimed the opening BRC event on the gravel of the Pirelli International Rally, their breakthrough BRC win. Ypres is a happy hunting ground, with the Fiesta duo having finished second in the BRC section and tenth overall last year. Edwards will be hoping for more of the same this season as he bids to maintain his championship lead.

Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin topped the British Championship crews in Ypres last year, receiving the Tony Pond Award in the process, courtesy of a fine seventh overall in the main event. With event knowledge under their belts and a switch to a new Michelin-shod Hyundai i20 R5, the reigning British champions will look to lead the British attack as the BRC takes the fight to the local Belgian drivers.

Rhys Yates and Elliott Edmondson have rallied all around Europe, getting to grips with the new Skoda Fabia R5. Second on the opening round will give them confidence for an all out assault for British honours in Ypres as the pair relish the switch to Tarmac. Yates took his first outright win on the recent Rally van Wervik against strong opposition, forming the perfect warm-up for Ypres.

Two fellow British teams in Skoda Fabia R5s will be hoping for better luck in Flanders this season. Marty McCormack, a driver who won the hearts of the local fans with a spirited drive in an S2000 car in 2015, rolled out of contention in dramatic style on the second stage of the rally last year. With David Moynihan sat alongside, the Irish pairing will be striving for their first BRC win and a change of fortunes this time around in their Kumho backed Fabia R5. David Bogie similarly rolled out of the opening round of the championship in England and will be eager to get his championship back on track. The 2011 BRC title holder will be joined by the experienced John Rowan on the pacenotes as the pair aim to be top of the BRC pile at the spectacular Ceremonial Finish in the DMACK shod Fabia R5.

Tarmac ace Alex Laffey and co driver Patrick Walsh chalked up their best BRC result on gravel on the Pirelli Rally in sixth place and will be pushing for their first BRC podium in their Ford Fiesta R5, while BRC newcomer Lawrence Whyte will be learning the art of ditch cutting on his first foray to Ypres. Fellow Scot, Paul Beaton will join the young charger in the striking Fiesta R5.

21st June, 2018

Neuville wins Rally Italy by 0.7 seconds

In one of the closest victories the World Rally Championship has ever seen, Thierry Neuville overhauled his main rival for the 2018 Championship Sebastien Ogier, on the very last stage in a dramatic conclusion to win Rally Italy by just 0.7 seconds.
Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul had started on Sunday's stages 3.9s behind Ogier but won all four of the day's tests to pip Ogier, in what was the equal third closest finish in WRC history. Esapekka Lappi claimed his first podium of the year in third place but almost two minutes off the leaders following a final-day fight with Toyota teammate Jari-Matti Latvala, who suffered a broken alternator at the end of SS16 to drop out of contention
Neuville now takes a healthy 27 point lead in the 2018 World Rally Drivers Championship to the next round - Neste Rally Finland 26-29th June.

Rally Italy - Top Ten Finishers
1 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 3h29m18.7s
2 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT 0.7s
3 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 1m56.3s
4 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 2m55.2s
5 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 3m10.9s
6 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 4m31.7s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 11m22.1s
8 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport II 13m14.6s
9 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 13m18.2s
10 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT 15m30.4s

2018 World Rally Championship - Top Ten Positions after 7 of 13 Rounds
1 Thierry Neuville 149
2 Sebastien Ogier 122
3 Ott Tanak 79
4 Esapekka Lappi 70
5 Dani Sordo 60
6 Andreas Mikkelsen 56
7 Elfyn Evans 46
8 Kris Meeke 43
9 Jari-Matti Latvala 37
10 Craig Breen 34

11th June, 2018

Matt Edwards wins Pirelli International

Matt Edwards and Darren Garord won their first ever Prestone MSA British Rally Championship round at the recent Pirelli International Rally. Driving the latest Ford Fiesta R5 for Cumbrian firm M Sport, the pair from Wales netted their dream result to launch their championship campaign. The Welsh duo didnt have it all their own way however, as young gun Rhys Yates and navigator Elliott Edmondson in a Skoda Fabia R5 stormed to their best BRC result with second. Reigning champions Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin made it a three way fight for victory in a new Hyundai i20 R5 with the Irish crew eventually finishing third, making it three different marques of cars on the first podium of the year.

The opening round of the eagerly anticipated 60th anniversary year got underway with 80 fast and furious gravel miles through the legendary Kielder Forest. Starting from the Pirelli factory in Carlisle, the BRC crews were cheered into the eight-stage event by the Mayor of Carlisle and thousands of spectators. The English round of the series always provides drama aplenty and this instalment was no different as the first stage claimed its first victims, David Bogie and John Rowan. Driving for Carlisle based firm CA1 Sport, Bogie rolled his DMACK supported Skoda Fabia R5 out of contention. Thankfully both crew members were left unscathed but this paved a way for their rallying rivals.

Reigning champions Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin put their new Hyundai i20 R5 through its paces on the Cumbrian gravel. Cronin began his quest for a fifth title in fine fashion. The Michelin supported star initially held the lead before an on form Edwards mounted his charge. Suffering with a lack of competitive miles in the new car, Cronin struggled with pace in the afternoon loop and went too tight to a chicane bale and had to reverse to get going again haemorrhaging time to the top two.

Final Postions
1. Matt Edwards (GBR) / Darren Garrod (GBR) Ford Fiesta
2. Rhys Yates (GBR) / Elliott Edmondson (GBR) Skoda Fabia
3. Keith Cronin (IRL) / Mikie Galvin (IRL) Hyundai i20 R5
4. Marty McCormack (GBR) / David Moynihan (IRL) Skoda Fabia R5
5. Jonny Greer (GBR) / Kirsty Riddick (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
6. Alex Laffey (GBR) / Patrick Walsh (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
7. Lawrence Whyte (GBR) / Stuart Louden (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
8. Thomas Preston (GBR) / Max Freeman (GBR) Skoda Fabia R5
9. Sasha Kakad (GBR) / James Aldridge (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
10.Steve Røkland (NOR) / Tom Woodburn (GBR) Peugeot 208

30th April, 2018

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