This weekend’s round three of the MSA British Rallycross Championship(25 June), at the Pembrey Circuit in Wales, will be run on a revised track layout, specifically, running in the opposite direction than usual, a situation that will be replicated on more of the upcoming BRX meetings.
Current Championship leader Ollie O’Donovan has been one of the three drivers to claim victory at Pembrey last year, together with Kevin Procter (second in the Championship) and Julian Godfrey. Rallycross newcomer Oliver Bennett scored his maiden podium at Lydden Hill last time out, and also took part in the British round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship on the same track at the wheel of his OlsbergsMSE-built Ford Fiesta; at the moment, Bennett shares second overall with Procter. Former British Touring Car Championship driver Warren Scott qualified on pole at round one in Croft and led much of the final at Lydden, but was slowed by a rear puncture and finished second. Driving an LD Motorsports Citroen DS3, Scott is fourth in the points heading to the Pembrey Circuit for the first time this weekend.
Scott’s LDM team-mate, Nathan Heathcote, scored his maiden victory on his Supercar début at round one, but was plagued by mechanical problems in round two and failed to score a single point. With his car fixed, Heathcote will be looking to make up for his points gap this weekend, after also contesting a round of the single-make RX Academy series in Finland last Saturday.
Jake Harris will continue his Supercar apprenticeship at Pembrey, having finished fourth last time out at Lydden Hill, while five-time champion Godfrey is still hunting for his first podium of the year. Citroen Xsara campaigner Mad Mark Watson is one of only a few drivers to have already sampled the new layout at Pembrey, by winning a round of the Clubmans Rallycross Championship last month, while James Grint is set to make his début in a Spencer Sport-run Mitsubishi Mirage RX Supercar, after technical problems delayed him.
Steve Hill has so far shown good pace at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Evo X Supercar, although a broken driveshaft denied him any chances of a podium finish at Lydden. The Championship is glad to welcome back Andy Grant: the Devon-based racer, despite missing out on the first two rounds, is expecting to take part in the remaining seven meetings with his ex-Will Gollop Ford Focus.
Female competitor Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige) is so far unbeaten in the two-wheel-drive MSA Supernational Rallycross Championship and is targeting a hat-trick of wins at Pembrey to extend her points lead. Tristan Ovenden dominated qualifying at his home event, Lydden Hill, but retired from the final with broken suspension on his Renault Clio.
Welshman Mike Howlin will compete in his rear-wheel drive Ford Fiesta at his home event, with his eyes on the podium, while Devonian Allan Tapscott is eager to continue his Supernational challenge, with just eight points covering second to fifth in the standings, where Gary Simpson is currently second, two points ahead of Guy Corner (Northallerton) who fought back from crashing in a qualifying race at Lydden Hill to finish on the podium.
MSA Junior Rallycross Championship leader Tom Llewellin made his rallycross début at his home circuit last season and claimed a maiden victory, although he still hasn’t tried Pembrey’s new layout. Tom Constantine won in the Clubmans Championship at the circuit recently and is eight points behind Llewellin in the standings after the opening two rounds, with Morgan Wroot third overall. James Constantine will start his third British RX event sixth in the points, while Wleshman Ethan Rees returns to Junior RX for his home event.
The full range of supporting rallycross championships will also be in action at Pembrey to provide door-to-door action. Home victory for Simon Ovenden at Lydden lifted him into the lead of the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship, ahead of round one winner Chris Woollett by just two points. Series newcomers Morgan Bailey and Rob Sheild are separated by three points in the standings having impressed in their opening events of the year, while Adam Weaver returns to the series for the first time since 2015.
The RX150 Championship will benefit from the return of double champion Marc Scott, looking set to fight for victory. The Championship is led by Irish driver John Ward, who ended Chrissy Palmer’s run of victories in round two at Lydden Hill, while Brett Harris and Jake Taylor are joint third.
In the amalgamated Super1600 Rallycross Championship, BMW Mini Rallycross Championship and Hot Hatch Rallycross Championship class, Super1600 racer Paul Coney is so far unbeaten in 2017, despite the strong competition provided by Darren Scott, Craig Lomax, Michael Boak and Phil Chicken, all of whom drive Citroen C2s. Martin Hawkes tops the BMW Mini standings having taken maximum points twice in a row, leading David Bell by eight points, with Bell just two points ahead of Bradley Durdin. In the Hot Hatch class, London-based Polish driver Thomas Marciniak will be racing his Citroen Saxo.
Finally, the Retro Rallycross Championship see the début of Welshman Roger Thomas in an MG Metro 6R4 at Pembrey for only his second weekend of rallycross competition. Current standings leader Ray Morgan (Ford Escort) will also join the party, although Barry Stewart (Porsche 911) has been forced to miss the event due to damage sustained in a demonstration race at the British round of World RX last month. In the under 1600cc class, current second Lance Foster is expected to take the Championship lead at Pembrey, due to current leader Stewart Bowes skipping the Welsh meeting.
Action at Pembrey starts on Sunday, 25 June, at 9am. A full entry list can be found at the following link.