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Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages - BRC Round 2

Following on from a blistering start to the 2024 season, the Probite Motorsport UK British Rally Championship [BRC] now heads for the gravel on 13 April] for the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages which offers the perfect battleground for round two. Over 62 miles of world-class stages lie ahead, in the form of Myherin, Hafren and Sweet Lamb during a non-stop day of action. Over past years those classic forest tests have hosted the best drivers in the world, with Wales Rally GB famously visiting the region for many years, witnessing World Rally champions crowned and hopes dashed in the daunting tree-lined route.

Much like the first round in Lancashire, the entry list is bulging with talent and the 50th running of the event has attracted a staggering entry of 180 cars, with Britain's premier rally series joining the Llandrindod Wells-based rally for the first time. The Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages kicks off with a ceremonial start in Llandrindod Wells from 18:30 on Friday 12th April, before the action gets underway the following day in the nearby forests. The rally will be broadcast on ITV4 and ITVX Tuesday 24th April at 20:00, and repeated at 08:00 on Sunday 28th April.

10th April, 2024

Jos Verstappen debuts on BRC in Wales!

Bringing a premier league international flavour to the next round of the 2024 British Rally Championship, Jos, father of F1 superstar, three-time F1 champion and Red Bull Racing driver Max, makes his debut in the UK on the world-famous Welsh gravel for the first time. He will drive a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 with regular co-driver Renaud Jamoul, meaning they will also debut Skoda's latest Rally2 example. The crew will be joined by Wevers Sport teammates Roger Hodenius and Robin Buysmans in similar machinery who have also signed up for the championship, bringing a truly cosmopolitan feel back to the BRC.

The Severn Valley Stages marks the switch to gravel for the reinvigorated BRC and offers over sixty-two miles of classic Wales Rally GB stages including Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren. The rally opens with a grand ceremonial start in Llandrindod Wells from 18:30 on Friday 12th April, before the action gets underway the following day in the surrounding forests.

10th April, 2024

Rovanperä takes dominant Safari Rally win!

With an apparent imperiousness that belied the effort it obviously demanded, Kalle Rovanperä became a two-time winner of the 2024 Safari Rally Kenya, ending the grueling African fixture with a 1m 37.8s victory margin having led since Friday morning, in by far the most grueling FIA World Rally Championship round so far this season. It was Rovanperä's meticulous balance of both speed and common sense that ultimately secured his 12th career WRC victory.

The Finn, co-driven by Jonne Halttunen, built a lead of almost one minute after winning all of Friday's rock-strewn stages around Lake Naivasha, then kept his driving super clean to end Saturday two minutes ahead of the chasing pack as they encountered a litany of mechanical troubles and tyre damage. That buffer allowed the two-time WRC champion to drive for a finish in Sunday's final leg, which culminated amid stunning scenery at Hell's Gate with Kenyan President William Ruto in attendance.

Takamoto Katstuta completed a Toyota GR Yaris 1-2 as the Japanese marque extended its manufacturers' championship lead to four points over Hyundai Motorsport, while M-Sport Ford Puma hotshot Adrien Fourmaux bagged his second consecutive podium 47.3s behind.

Rovanperä enthused: "It's always special to win here, a legendary event for Toyota. We've always been so good here and that's continuing. Like they say in Africa: the car in front is always a Toyota! A big thanks to the team, everybody made a big effort to make the car work so well. I think me and Jonne did a good job, I don't think you can have a better Safari Rally than we did. No issues, clever driving and I think it was a good effort."

Elfyn Evans ended Friday in contention for a podium but a fraught Saturday, which saw the Welshman stop twice to carry out stage-side wheel changes, meant he finished over four minutes back from his team-mate Rovanperä in fourth overall. He remains second in the drivers? championship behind leader Thierry Neuville, who trailed him by almost six minutes in fifth. Nevertheless, Neuville now heads Evans by six points after enduring a troublesome week aboard his Hyundai i20 N. Fuel pressure problems on Saturday cost the Belgian several minutes and suspension damage on Sunday, inflicted by a rock added insult to injury. His colleagues, Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tänak fared even worse. Lappi's problems included two broken gearboxes over the course of the week while Tänak could only climb back to eighth overall behind WRC2 runners Gus Greensmith and Oliver Solberg after his car sustained broken suspension on Friday.

Completing the top 10 were gentleman driver Jourdan Serderidis in a Puma and Skoda Fabia Rally2 star Kajetan Kajetanowicz. The WRC returns to asphalt for the Croatia Rally which takes place 18 - 21 April, based in capital city Zagreb.

2nd April, 2024

Ingram & Kihurani win Round One Probite BRC

Chris Ingram and Alex Kihurani claimed victory on the opening round of the Probite Motorsport UK British Rally Championship by winning the Legend Fires North West Stages on Saturday 23rd March. Ingram blasted his Michelin-shod Volkswagen Polo GTi through the lanes of Lancashire to score four fastest times and secure his maiden BRC win, taking home maximum points in one of the most exciting lineup of series contenders for many years.

Irish ace and 2021 Junior BRC champion William Creighton mounted a late charge in his Pirelli-supported Ford Fiesta Rally2 to secure second overall whilst Meirion Evans gave the Toyota Yaris GR Rally2 an impressive debut on UK soil to round out the podium spots in third.

The re-invigorated British Rally Championship attracted a star studded entry to the opening round of the season which would see 10 tests over 57 stage miles on the twisty closed-public roads around the Garstang based rally, coupled with several high-speed and open moorland stages. It was a demanding start to the BRC's highly anticipated season.

The public were out in force to see the stars and their cars on Friday night as Garstang town centre saw thousands of rally fans line the high street for the ceremonial start as the crews were waved over the ramp to a rapturous welcome, before the real action began on Saturday and the already challenging stages would become even more demanding on cars and crews thanks to capricious weather, with heavy rain showers falling on already sodden stages to add further jeopardy to the competition.

Against this challenging backdrop it was Ingram who showed the BRC contingent the way, with scratch time over the opening Beacon Fell test, opening a 5.9-second lead to four-time BRC champion Keith Cronin who was back for another shot at claiming a fifth title. But in turn, Cronin was 5.8 seconds up on 2022 British champion Osian Pryce. Ingram put his 2022 event-winning knowledge to good use and having a clean road in front of him would aid his bid to take back-to-back North West Stages wins.

The Manchester-born ace edged out another eight seconds on the second test and despite a fastest time for Pryce and co-driver Rhodri Evans on the third, would find himself almost 18 seconds ahead with two tests to go in the loop. Sadly with several incidents blighting the opening loop of stages, organisers were forced to cut the morning short, cancelling the fourth and fifth stages and leaving many without any stages completed over the first run.

With all cars re-routed back to service, the afternoon leg would go ahead as planned and the battle resumed, albeit in much wetter conditions than the morning pass. Pryce was quickest out of the blocks on the Beacon Fell repeat, going an impressive eight seconds faster than anyone else in his Fiesta Rally2, but would exit the rally on the very next test with mechanical issues. Creighton would do his best to gain ground on Ingram but the Polo driver was uncatchable and took his first BRC win against some of the toughest competition the series has seen in many years.

"It's amazing to win at home against such strong competition," said an elated Ingram. "I knew there was going to be some quick guys, especially the Irish who have had a lot of seat time. And especially this guy [Meirion Evans] who's been really quick this afternoon so it's going to be one hell of a battle for the rest of the season. We had to get the job done, we had a strong start but overall it's been a difficult day actually; we went out on slicks thinking it would be dry out here, but I think overall we've managed it well".

Fresh from a podium at the West Cork Rally last weekend, Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan were delighted with second spot, further cementing their pace which saw them secure the 2023 FIA Junior World Rally Championship title. Creighton would be the leading M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver home.

It would be Evans, along with co-driver Jonathan Jackson who rounded out the podium, returning to Garstang to spray the champagne alongside teammate Ingram, giving the Castrol MEM Rally Team an early lead in the BRC Teams Championship. Despite having only driven the car for a handful of miles prior to the event, Evans did enough to put the all-new Yaris Rally2 into the top three on its UK debut.

The drama would unfold throughout the field and James Williams would have to overcome a few new-car niggles as he settled into his Hyundai i20 N Rally2. With Ross Whittock alongside, Williams salvaged fourth from a tricky day behind the wheel and valuable points in his BRC campaign.

It was a positive result for Neil Roskell and Dai Roberts in their Ford Fiesta Rally2. Up against some of the giants of the rallying world, Roskell held his own to take the fifth spot, despite clashing with a straw bale chicane on the final stage, managing to coax the car over the finish ramp, albeit battered and bruised.

Rounding out the top six would be Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin in their Fiesta Rally2. On the crest of a wave after back-to-back Irish Tarmac Rally Championship wins, Cronin couldn't quite make it pay in the BRC. A puncture, driveshaft failure, handbrake issues and a wrong tyre choice made it a troubled day behind the wheel for the Irish pairing.

There were plenty of casualties during a brutal day on the stages, with Kyle White and Sean Topping's Hyundai i20 exiting on the opening stage after a heavy impact. JKS Team Northern Ireland teammates Alan Carmichael and Claire Williams would also be forced out after their Hyundai i20 suffered power issues. Putting an end to a strong showing, Max McRae and Cameron Fair slid off the road in their M-Sport Fiesta Rally2 on the ninth test.

Highlights of the Legend Fires North West Stages will be aired on ITV4 and ITVX on Tuesday 2nd April at 17:45 and repeated on Sunday 7th April at 08:00. The next round of the Probite British Rally Championship heads for the gravel and world-class stages of the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages in April.

26th March, 2024

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