Jukka Korhonen has been crowned the 2013 MSA British Rally Champion after a podium finish on the season-ending Rallye Sunseeker International, an event Osian Pryce won to card his third consecutive BRC victory.
Korhonen headed into the event knowing that a top three finish would secure him the title no matter what, even if his chief rivals Alistair Fisher and Tom Cave took victory.
Fortunately for the 29 year old, Pryce’s dominance of the Dorset-based event ensured third place was comfortably enough to secure himself and co-driver Marko Salminen the crown, becoming the first Finnish BRC champion since Marko Ipatti in 2000.
“I really don’t know what to say right now!” said Korhonen. “It’s been one of the longest days ever, but it is just an amazing feeling! I am so proud to add my name to the trophy that has the likes of Hannu Mikkola and Ari Vatanen on it.
“The competition has been so close; it has been a very good year. Marko has done a fantastic job this year and I must thank the Autosport Technology team too, the car has been perfect.”
The form driver heading into the Sunseeker was Pryce, the Welshman having followed up his maiden BRC success in Ulster with a second win in Yorkshire three weeks ago.
The 20 year old carried his momentum into the start of the season-closer, winning the first two stages to forge a gap at the front, leaving a tight five-way scrap for second behind.
2012 Sunseeker winner Mark Donnelly briefly held the spot after two stages, but he was quickly overhauled by Korhonen and SS3 winner Fisher.
Two stages later it was Cave in the hot spot, the Welshman winning SS5 to storm past all of them, with just thirteen seconds separating second to fifth.
By this stage, thanks in part to the quickest time on SS4, Pryce’s lead at the front was up to ten seconds – and this grew further as he led the way on SS6 and SS7.
While Cave got some time back with the fastest times on SS8 and SS9, Pryce hit back to end the event in perfect fashion by winning the final stage, ensuring he took the event win by 14.4s.
“I seem to be getting the hang of this now,” said Pryce. “That was the hardest rally of the year, but it’s good to win another event.”
Cave maintained second to the end for his fourth podium finish of the season, while Korhonen just held off Fisher by 0.2s to complete the top three, with Donnelly finishing up fifth.
Jonny Greer held John MacCrone at bay after a fierce battle between the two to take sixth overall, while making it eight Citroen DS3 R3’s in the top eight was Callum Black. The 22 year old took the Mantis Performance Car Care award and cheque for £250 at the finish.
Rokland Dominates Sunseeker, McKenna Wraps Up RallyTwo Title
In BRC RallyTwo, Daniel McKenna headed into the event knowing a podium finish would secure him the crown. This meant when Steve Rokland burst out of the blocks to win the first six stages on the bounce, a mature McKenna decided to settle for second.
The Norwegian added wins on the final two stages to complete a dominant class win, while McKenna held second throughout the latter stages to wrap up the title. With it, he also secured the Fiesta SportTrophy honours and with it free entry into Wales Rally GB.
Alex Parpottas completed the class podium with new co-driver Alexander Kihurani, while fourth in class was Twingo Renaultsport R2 Trophy winner Chris Ingram.
Citroen, DGM Sport, McKay Secure BRC Titles
The utter domination of the R3 category throughout the season for the Citroen DS3 R3T has seen Citroen UK comfortably retain the MSA British Manufacturers Rally Championship, while great performances by Fisher and Donnelly through 2013 has wrapped up the BRC Teams Cup for DGM Sport.
Alongside the main title, Korhonen also secured the Citroen Racing Trophy, winning free entry to Wales Rally GB, twenty Pirelli tyres and €8000 start money for doing so. Runner-up Pryce grabs an additional €5000 start money and twelve Pirelli tyres, with third placed Cave rewarded with €3000 start money and eight Pirellis for the November event.
Rallye Sunseeker International produced an exciting conclusion to a season-long battle for the MSA British Junior Rally Championship and Twingo Renaultsport R1 Trophy UK, with Ben McKay emerging victorious.
The double win means McKay is another recipient of a free entry on Wales Rally GB, as well as an arrive-and-drive in a Twingo R2 on Rallye du Var, the final round of the French Rally Championship.
The awards didn’t stop there, as McKay also secured the RAVENOL Oils Newcomers Trophy for the season, and the final Pirelli Star Driver nomination of the season for all his success.
Highlights of the season-ending Sunseeker event can be seen on Sky Sports 2 on Monday 28th October at 19:00hrs.