Both defending British Rally champion Matt Edwards and teammate from last season Alex Laffey will continue in the series this season, again in a pair of M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta R5’s.
Edwards, who also claimed the BTRDA Rally Series title, won the British Championship in dominating fashion, winning all but one of the five rounds of the championship, while Laffey finished runner up after a string of consistent finishes across the season.
2019 will see both drivers have new co-drivers, as Patrick Walsh, who had partnered Laffey in the U-Student sponsored Fiesta in recent seasons, will team up with Edwards, while Laffey will have Stuart Loudon sitting alongside him.
Edwards said on his BRC championship win: “Even now, I still don’t think it has fully sunk in. It was a long time coming and now it has been achieved, you don’t quite realise what happened.”
“I think it was at the BRC awards and more recently the BTRDA awards evening that it actually hit home. There was a video highlighting my 15-year journey, the cars, the events and it leading to the bigger picture of the BRC win. It’s something I always wanted to achieve. Now I would love to do it again!”
Speaking about this season and his title defence, the Welshman added: “I am not worried about it… Not because I think it will be easy – it certainly won’t be! But I’m not worried because I have a title under my belt and have that experience of how to win one and what I have to do. This year I want to be more comfortable with my driving, which will hopefully make me quicker as the pressure of that title over your head isn’t there anymore.”
Scotchman Laffey meanwhile says his main aim is to keep improving in 2019. He commented: “It has to be podiums this year. We got one on Rally GB which was a real tough event and we got some fastest stage times in the process. It was a great result for us as my gravel knowledge is limited.”
“I also cannot wait to work with M-Sport for a third year. The data and resources is immense. We get the feedback from the guys in WRC2 which we can then use in the BRC and the team were vital in the results Matt and I achieved last year. I hope we can reward them with more progress this season.”
“We will take it rally by rally into the new season and continue that upward trend as I’d like another top three in the standings come the Galloway Hills Rally.”
The 2019 British Rally Championship begins with the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally in Wales, on February 16.