PREVIEW: Isle of Man Rally plays host to BRC finale

by Vince Pettit
Elfyn Evans - Credit: MSA British Rally Championship

While Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry tied up the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship title last time out in Ulster, there is still plenty to play for in the final rally of the season as competitors head to the Isle of Man Rally.

The rally will take place over a total of 167 competitive stage miles on the Manx tarmac lanes and Evans will be looking to round out the season with a fifth BRC win.

For this rally Evans will be pushed by Citroën’s factory driver Craig Breen and local hero Mark Higgins (who along with being three-time BRC champion, set the record for the fastest four-wheeled lap around the Isle of Man TT course earlier this year).

Tom Cave and James Morgan will be in the Spencer Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R5 as they look to build on their three podium finishes this year and secure the runner-up spot in the championship, a position that could be taken by any of five drivers.

A late charge and a well placed ‘Joker card’ saw Jonathan Greer catapult himself up the standings in his Pirelli-shod Citroën DS3 R5, with two podiums to his name he could be in for another strong finish this time out.

Pirelli Carlisle Rally victor Fredrik Ahlin will be hoping to push Evans all of the way to the end after opening the season strongly and becoming the first Swede to win a round of the BRC since 1995. Three non-scores have seen him drop down the pecking order but he could still cause an upset with a win this weekend.

Fredrik Ahlin - Credit: MSA British Rally Championship

Fredrik Ahlin – Credit: MSA British Rally Championship

Former champion David Bogie has had a rough year that saw him retire from both the Pirelli and Scottish rallies. This leaves the Scotsman with a very slim outside chance of taking the running up spot in the championship if he can take victory in his Skoda Fabia R5.

Another Fabia R5 driver, Desi Henry is also in with a very slim chance of finishing second in the championship but he would have to win the event and also see his fellow competitors fail to finish.

The BRC1 class features a broad selection of drivers and machinery with Ollie Mellors (Proton Satria S2000), Tom Preston (Skoda Fabia R5), Jamie Anderson, Rhys Yates, Matt Edwards and Alex Laffey all driving Ford Fiesta R5’s joining the previously mentioned competitors.

Another crew with their respective title already under wraps is the 2016 DMACK Junior BRC champions Robert Duggan and Gerard Conway, who can sit back and enjoy the rally in their Vauxhall ADAM R2 with less pressure, don’t count this pairing out of victory though as they will be looking to add another win to their tally.

Mattias Adielsson - Credit: MSA British Rally Championship

Mattias Adielsson – Credit: MSA British Rally Championship

Norwegian Sindre Furuseth pushed Duggan all of the way on his first tarmac rally and will be looking to build on this experience in his Renault Twingo R2. Team-mate Mattias Adielsson is still in the hunt for his first Junior BRC win after taking multiple podiums early in the year.

Another podium finisher, Adam Bustard will be looking to round out the year in the top-three while Nabila Tejpar, Blair Brown and Nick Carr will all be looking for solid results to improve their championship positions.

Robert Blomberg leads the National Rally Cup in his Mitsubishi Mirage after a hat-trick of victories and only needs to finish in the top four to secure the title. Donnie Macdonald will be doing everything he can to prevent this as he chases the title in his Mitsubishi Evo 9.

There is one runner in the BRC3 class, Will Corry in the Toyota GT86 CS-R3 while Tony Simpson in his Ford Fiesta ST will take the BRC4 honours as he goes up against Marty Gallagher in his Peugeot 208 R2.

“I cannot believe how quickly the 2016 season has gone as we prepare for the season finale,” enthusedBRC Championship Manager Iain Campbell.

“We may have titles confirmed, but its not over yet as the rest of the order has to be decided. There will be a real tussle as we have six drivers all in with a chance of taking second in the series, and what better place to host the curtain cull than on the legendary Isle of Man.

“Sindre Furuseth and Mattias Adielsson will also be going hammer and tong to beat each other in the championship standings and get one over Robert Duggan in the DMACK Junior series. Mattias will be desperate to record a win before the season comes to a close.

“There is one title yet to be decided, in the form of the National Rally Cup. Robert Blomberg has a healthy advantage, but as we have seen this year, anything can happen and Donnie Macdonald can swop in at the last gasp. It’s going to be a real spectacle. Stand back and watch the fireworks!”

Keep up to date on all the latest BRC developments by visiting or following on social media: MSA British Rally Championship on Facebook and @MSA_BRC on Twitter using #BRC

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