Ahlin & Eriksen win Pirelli International

Fredrik Ahlin and Torstein Eriksen claimed victory on the Pirelli International Rally, the second Prestone British Rally Championship victory in a row for the Swede. Osian Pryce was a close second following a fierce battle on day two, while Marty McCormack/David Moynihan's McGeehan Motorsport Skoda Fabia filled the final spot on the podium.

The Pirelli International got underway at the Pirelli Factory in Carlisle and the scenic stages in Kielder got the rally underway, with first blood going to Tom Cave/James Morgan and their Hyundai i20 R5, but on the third stage of the day, Cave and Morgan retired with a suspension breakage, a cruel blow to last years championship runners-up and the BRC team which had come from Italy to run the car. Fredrik Ahlin inherited the lead and set about extending it and despite an adventurous rear end on their Leo Vegas CA1 Sport Skoda Fabia, their lead overnight was 21s.

Osian Pryce and James Morgan held second overnight, after a tough day aboard their Ford Fiesta R5 run by the Spencer Sport team. The car ran perfectly, but needed an adjustment to the setup, also struggling to keep the rear of the car in line. Second overnight was a just reward for a clean run.
Rounding out the podium was Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin in their M-Sport Fiesta R5. The duo suffered steering issues on SS2, before a reset got the car working again.

After a short service in Carlisle, the crews headed back out for more action in Kielder on Sunday morning with another four stages. The first stage of the day accounted for a number of crews, including Cronin who rolled his Fiesta. Garry Pearson, making a BRC return and on his first rally since October last year, was going strongly before falling off after a chicane.

The pacesetter of the morning was 2011 BRC champion David Bogie until a brake problem aboard his Skoda Fabia R5 curtailed his efforts and left him well down the order but some stunning stage times brought him back into contention for a strong points finish.

Pryce played his Tyre Joker allowing him the use of two extra tyres for the event, over the ten already permitted. He then put them to use by reducing the deficit from over 20 seconds to just 4.6 with two stages to go. 2014 BRC Pirelli International winner Pryce was also on a charge but ice-cool Ahlin reacted after service by pulling back 10 seconds into the final stage. He topped Pryce again on the final test as Pryces handbrake had broken and it was a case of what could have been for the Welshman.

McCormack stole a march on day two to take the podium spot, ahead of David Bogie who showed resilience to fight back from brake problems on Saturday. The Scot took four fastest stage times out of four to show his pace is there when everything comes together. In the Production Cup, Spencer Wilkinson and Glyn Thomas took the honours in their Subaru despite an eventful afternoon which included ratchet-strapping the rear wheel to the car after it came loose.

In the National Rally Cup, John Morrison and Peter Carstairs continue to develop in a new Mitsubishi Lancer E9. Despite struggling with hairpins, they took the win ahead of Max Utting on his BRC debut in a Ford Fiest ST. Mike Ainsworth read the notes. In the Cadet Class, Josh Cornwell/Richrd Bliss survived a heavy challenge from fellow Ford Fiesta R2 duo Fergus Barlow and Max Freeman, before the latter went off the road on Sunday morning.

Pirelli International Rally - MSA British Rally Championship Roand 2 Top Ten Finishers

1. Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen Skoda Fabia R5 1:29:28
2. Osian Pryce/Dale FurnissFord Fiesta R5 +0:39.4
3. Martin McCormack/David MoynihanSkoda Fabia R5 +0:49.5
4. David Bogie/Kevin Rae Skoda Fabia R5 +1:06.8
5. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod Ford Fiesta R5 +1:50.6
6. Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson Ford Fiesta R5 +2:19.8
7. Tom Preston/Andrew Roughead Skoda Fabia R5 +6:30.5
8. Jamie Anderson/Ross Whittock Ford Fiesta R5 +7:35.4
9. Alex Laffey/Stuart Loudon Ford Fiesta R5 +8:42.3
10. William Creighton/Liam Regan Peugeot 208 R2 +10:38.6

30th April, 2017