Pirelli Carlisle Rally - Preview

Competitors travel to Cumbria this weekend for the Pirelli Carlisle Rally, the third round of the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship (30 April/1 May) Britain's premier rallying series which sees 47 crews returning to the loose to grapple with the gravel as they take in 2 days and 74 stage miles on the high-speed and infamous Kielder Forest.

The opening two rounds have seen two different winners take the spoils, with World Championship star Elfyn Evans taking the laurels on the Mid Wales Stages and the highly talented Josh Moffett claiming the top spot on the legendary Circuit of Ireland last time out. The Circuit was a part of the BRC for the first time since 1991 and it certainly lived up to its iconic status. The event was a battle of attrition on the testing Tarmac, with the lead changing hands countless times before the cars reached the Ceremonial Finish in Belfast city centre.

Leading the crews away into the event from the Pirelli tyre factory will be BRC Championship leader Evans in his DMACK-backed Ford Fiesta R5 followed by Sweden's Fredrik Ahlin, Pirelli-backed Ahlin pushed Evans all the way on the opening round in Mid Wales together with his CA1 Sport team-mate David Bogie, boosted by his recent podium success last time out as he looks to fight at the front of the pack once again in his Skoda Fabia R5. It is the home round for CA1 Sport and they will be fielding two further cars for Alex Laffey (Fiesta R5) and new recruit Tom Preston (Fabia R5), who will look to gain vital experience on the gruelling stages that lie ahead.

Making a return to the BRC is local hero and former M Sport WRC driver Matthew Wilson. The former BRC event winner has not competed since Wales Rally GB in 2014 and he'll hope his local knowledge will make up for a lack of recent competitive mileage. In front of Wilson on the road will be the leading Michelin runner, Welshman Tom Cave in his Fiesta R5 who'll certainly be a front-runner once again.

The Pirelli Carlisle Rally will see crews return to the gravel of Kielder Forest. And as well as a fight between the drivers, there will be a big battle for supremacy between the tyre manufacturers. DMACK, Kumho and Michelin will all want to win on Pirelli?s home patch and all four firms will give all they can to get their cars across the line first. The pace is going to be fast and furious throughout the field and the weekend is going to be just as unpredictable and will add yet another exciting chapter to this rollercoaster of a season.

The new-look BRC takes in seven events across the British Isles as it tours England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland before culminating on the iconic lanes of the Isle of Man. Asphalt special stages and gravel tests will see the country's best drivers in the best cars fight for overall supremacy on the best events, while the action will feature throughout the year on Channel 4 and BT Sport.

The final event will count for double points, while each driver has one 'Joker' to play on one of the first six rounds. Selected a week before each round, a 'Joker' can only be played once and will enable a driver to double the points scored on that nominated event.

Follow BRC developments by visiting:- www.msabrc.com

28th April, 2016