British Rally ChampionshipOff RoadRally

McErlean: “It’s Incredible to Enter BRC in an R5”

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Photo Credit: Josh McErlean Media Office

Josh McErlean believes winning the Billy Coleman award “changed everything overnight” as he prepares for his first full season in an R5-spec car.

McErlean won the prestigious award last season and as a result has been able to put together a Hyundai i20 R5 drive in the British Rally Championship for 2020, beginning with this weekend’s Cambrian Rally in Wales.

The 20-year-old, who also took the Junior BRC title last year, will have support from Motorsport Ireland, Sport Ireland and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and he commented on his 2020 campaign: “If I was going to launch my R5 career on any rally I guess this would be as good as any thanks to my previous experience here last October [at Wales Rally GB].”

“But I need a very measured approach to the event and find a pace that suits me and builds the experience I need to improve pace throughout the season. Either way, it’s the start of something very exciting”.

McErlean competed on Wales Rally GB last season thanks to his JBRC title win. Photo Credit: Josh McErlean Media Office

Thanks to his JBRC title win, this enabled him to make his debut in an R5 car on Wales Rally GB last year where he was matching the times of some of the leading drivers in WRC2 before being forced to retire and he reflected on last season: “It’s still sinking in to be honest. We had a great season in 2019 and the opportunities to drive the Hyundai in Wales and Monza were fantastic.”

“I certainly grabbed hold of both chances and made the most of them so that if that was the last chance I had to drive one, I`d be able to say I`d done my best. But winning the Billy Coleman Award changed everything for me overnight.”

“To be involved with a full British Rally Championship programme in an R5 with support from such an iconic brand as Motorsport Ireland is incredible. It’s hard to know where to start”.

McErlean will go up against a strong field in this season’s BRC, which includes double defending champion Matt Edwards, frontrunner from last season Tom Cave and James Williams and Ollie Mellors, who drive a pair of Proton Iriz R5’s in 2020.

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I'm 23 and studying a Masters in Public Relations at the University of Sunderland after graduating with a Sports Journalism degree last year. I'm one of the co-editors here at TCF and mainly look after the off-road section of the site which covers championships such as the FIA World Rally and World Rallycross series'. Away from writing and studying I have a deep interest in of a lot of different sports as well as trying to be an amateur motorsport photographer and I'm also a big music fan too!
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