BRC Pirelli International Day 1: Ahlin leads as Cave Hits Issues

by Steven Batey

Fredrik Ahlin is the overnight leader of the 2017 Pirelli International Rally, the second round of the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship as the leader after SS2 Tom Cave retired with suspension issues.

Ahlin finished day one of the Cumbrian-based event 21.8 seconds in front of Osian Pryce with third-placed Keith Cronin a further 30.2 seconds behind in third.

As action got underway on Saturday morning however, it was Cave in the BRC-debuting Hyundai i20 R5 that won the opening pair of stages before the new car hit suspension issues on the third stage of the day and would retire as a result.

Cave’s problems meant that the closely following Ahlin, only seven seconds behind, would move into the lead and would go on to win the fourth and final stage of the day.

Irishman Cronin, who had a steering issue on SS2 would seemingly cure the problem in service and go onto win the third stage of the rally in Kielder Forest.

In a fine fourth position overall after day one is Garry Pearson, who is this weekend competing in his first event since October last year while Marty McCormack, who survived a puncture on stage four lies in fifth.

Sixth at the end of day one in Cumbria is Jonathan Greer in his Citroen DS3 R5, seventh is Matt Edwards, eighth goes the way of Rhys Yates, former champion David Bogie is in ninth while Jamie Anderson rounds out the top 10.

In the BRC Junior class, Callum Devine leads in his Ford Fiesta R2T ahead of Merion Evans and William Creighton with all three drivers being separated by less than seven seconds at the end of day one.

Each one of the four stages featured a different winner with Devine, Creighton and Evans all winning a stage a piece and Oscar Solberg winning the other on SS3. Solberg is however in sixth overall after recording a SS4 time 1 minute and 40 seconds slower than the winning time of Devine.

Class 6 sees the Ford Focus WRC of Peter Stephenson leading overnight and leads the Mitsubishi Evo’s of John Wink, John Morrison and Matthew Hirst by over three minutes, BRC4’s sole entrant Spencer Wilkinson is 28th overall while in the Land Rover class, Ben De Ronde leads Clive Alford by 13 seconds.

The 2017 Pirelli International Rally continues until April 30.

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