Two Way Tussle at the Top as BRC Heads to Ulster

by Steven Batey

The British Rally Championship returns this weekend after a summer break at the Today’s Ulster Rally, with Tom Cave and Matt Edwards tied at the top of the series.

Defending champion Edwards and Cave, who returned to the championship this year, both have two wins to their name after the opening four rounds and are the only two men to so far win an event in 2019.

Tom Cave / Dale Bowen Hyundai i20 R5

The duo are 27 points ahead of third place David Bogie who makes his BRC return in Ireland. The Scotchman missed the trip to Belgium and Ypres last time out in favour of competing on the Donegal International Rally but enters round five of the championship in his Skoda Fabia R5.

Choosing a winner for this weekend couldn’t be harder, as Edwards is the man in form having taken the win last time out on the Belgian asphalt, but Cave has already won in Ireland this year after taking the West Cork win back in March.

Add in the extra crews from the Irish Tarmac Championship who will also compete on the event, headlined by WRC star Craig Breen in a Hyundai i20 R5 and the Ulster Rally really does look unpredictable.

The itinerary for this weekend sees a total of nine stages taking place on across Saturday with a ceremonial start in the city of Newry opening the event on Friday evening.

Martin McCormack / Barney Mitchell Skoda Fabia R5. Photo Credit: MSA BRC

Several other drivers who have competed on selected BRC rounds so far this year also return for Ulster, with Martin McCormack, Josh Moffett and Jonny Greer all aiming for a strong result in Ireland. Moffett in particular is an Irish Tarmac series regular and could be on for a strong result.

Alex Laffey, a BRC regular and runner up in the championship last year, will be hoping to continue with his ever-improving tarmac pace, while James Wilson, normally a regular in the Junior BRC, upgrades to another Hyundai R5 for a crack at the Irish stages.

Junior BRCCould Williams Make it Two in a Row?

 The Junior BRC sees eight points separate series leader Josh McErlean and William Creighton going into the fifth round of the year. The duo both come into their home event this weekend having had consistent championship campaigns so far – McErlean opening up his lead thanks to victories on both the West Cork and Pireilli International events.

Behind in third in James Williams, with the young Welsh driver coming to Ireland on the back of a superb first win in the class in Ypres. The win earned him even more championship points after opting to play his joker, meaning he is still well in contention with two rounds to go.

With Wilson moving up to an R5-spec machine for this weekend, this gives Ruari Bell, who’s co-driver Darren Garrod won here outright with Matt Edwards last season, Jordan Hone, Finaly Retson and Marty Gallagher all the opportunity to move up in the standings.

The Today’s Ulster Rally takes place this weekend with the nine stages taking place throughout Saturday, August 17.

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