The Motorsport UK British Rally Championship will have a familiar face returning in 2021 as former entrant Joseph McGonigle returns after a lengthy period away from the series.
The Irishman has an established history with the championship having started out back in 2008 with a Honda Civic before moving into a Citroen C2 R2 MAX. His final attempt at the BRC was back in 2013 behind the wheel of a Renault Clio R3 when the championship was ran for two-wheel-drive only. Returning with regular co-driver Ciaran Geaney, the pair will enter the BRC1 class and fight for the overall championship in a Ford Fiesta Rally2 which will be run by McGeehan Motorsport.
Speaking to the BRC’s website, McGonigle praised the 2021 calendar as the main reason for his return. “The 2021 British Rally Championship calendar is the reason we are coming back, to be honest. It feels to me like a British Championship again with a great spread of events.
“It also has normal rallies that are achievable for most people thanks to the limited time away. They are all good British based events and that has a real draw to me at the moment”.
Moving from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive with purchase of a Skoda Fabia S2000 in 2014, McGonigle steered a variety of machinery for the next six years, but a lack of gravel kit for the cars he owned prevented him from competing on the surface.
“The S2000 Fabia that I bought didn’t have a gravel kit and neither did the R5 so I stayed on Tarmac back home. I just couldn’t justify spending the twenty grand’ or so on a gravel kit for each car.”
However, the purchase of a Fiesta Rally2 model with an available gravel kit reignited his interest on the surface, as did an entry into last year Return to Rally Stages held in Greystoke forest.
“The Fiesta had a gravel kit and the M-Sport Return to Rally Stages was pretty much the only rally last year so we entered, not sure of what to expect. I got in it and was blown away and thought, I`ve got to do more of this. We had a really good run in Greystoke and set some encouraging times against some real gravel experts.
“I think we even had a top-three time that day to finish sixth overall but I’m afraid to read too much into that. I`m sure the top BRC guys are going to be a step on from that pace so it will be interesting to see how we go on both surfaces. I`m looking forward to getting back in the series again”.