Ulster Rally Preview: Ireland The Penultimate Stop For The 2017 BRC


Fredrik Ahlin / Torstein Eriksen Skoda Fabia R5 - Credit: @msabrc.com

With two rounds remaining, the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship heads for Ireland and the Ulster Rally this weekend with Fredrik Ahlin and Osian Pryce set to continue their championship duel.

The two-day tarmac event sees the BRC crews tackle 135 stage miles and this weekend will be joined by competitors in the Irish Tarmac Championship, with drivers including Alastair Fisher and brothers Sam and Josh Moffett set to be battling with the British contingent at the front of the field.

Last time out on the Nicky Grist Stages, it looked like Pryce was set to win his home event and close the lead Ahlin had over the Welshman in the standings, but the Ford Fiesta R5 driver would retire on the second day of action with a failed fuel pump, letting Ahlin take the win and extend his championship lead.

After his heartbreak on home soil, Pryce returns this weekend looking to make amends and force the championship battle to the final round of the championship in the Isle Of Man in September.

Matt Edwards / Phil Clarke Ford Fiesta R5 – Credit: @msabrc.com

Third in the standings and runner-up in the previous two events is Matt Edwards who along with Keith Cronin, who tackles his home event this weekend, could both still win the championship if both Ahlin and Pryce slip up.

Irishman Cronin has already proven this season that he is capable of winning events after taking the win in the first ever non-UK based BRC event, the Ypres Rally in Belgium back at the end of June and with the event this weekend being on his preferred surface, the M-Sport driver has to be one of the favourites to take the win.

Another man on home soil in Ireland is Martin McCormack who returns this weekend in the TigerRisk Skoda Fabia R5 after a substantial crash back in Ypres meant that he had to hire a Ford Fiesta to enable him to compete in the Nicky Grist Stages and keep his championship dream alive.

The BRC1 category is rounded out this weekend by Rhys Yates, fresh from taking a fine third place finish last time out, Alex Laffey in a second M-Sport-prepared Fiesta, Desi Henry and Jonathan Greer, who contests both the Irish and British championships this weekend.

Greer will come into this event with hopes of repeating his 2016 performance where he finished runner-up to eventual champion Elfyn Evans.

The Prestone Motorsport News Junior BRC has a tie at the top of the standings going to Ireland this weekend with the man in-form Callum Devine level with William Creighton in his Peugout 208 R2.

Callum Devine / Keith Moriarty – Credit: @msabrc.com

Devine comes into this event having won the previous two events in his Opel Adam R2 that he switched to from a Ford Fiesta R2 after the Scottish Rally back in May.

Third in the standings going into this event is Meirion Evans, with the BRCJ class being rounded out this weekend by James Williams, Marty Gallagher who is another driver on home soil, Oscar Solberg and Josh McErlean who is back in his Citroen C2 R2 after competing on the Nicky Grist Stages in a MH Motorsport Ford Fiesta R2T.

Finally, the BRC Cadet class, where Josh Cornwell has already wrapped up the title sees four entries with Cornwell being joined by Alex Waterman, James McDiarmid and Nabila Tejpar while David White is the sole entrant in BRC4.

The 2017 Ulster Rally takes place this weekend between August 18-19.