Matt Edwards wins Pirelli International

Matt Edwards and Darren Garord won their first ever Prestone MSA British Rally Championship round at the recent Pirelli International Rally. Driving the latest Ford Fiesta R5 for Cumbrian firm M Sport, the pair from Wales netted their dream result to launch their championship campaign. The Welsh duo didnt have it all their own way however, as young gun Rhys Yates and navigator Elliott Edmondson in a Skoda Fabia R5 stormed to their best BRC result with second. Reigning champions Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin made it a three way fight for victory in a new Hyundai i20 R5 with the Irish crew eventually finishing third, making it three different marques of cars on the first podium of the year.

The opening round of the eagerly anticipated 60th anniversary year got underway with 80 fast and furious gravel miles through the legendary Kielder Forest. Starting from the Pirelli factory in Carlisle, the BRC crews were cheered into the eight-stage event by the Mayor of Carlisle and thousands of spectators. The English round of the series always provides drama aplenty and this instalment was no different as the first stage claimed its first victims, David Bogie and John Rowan. Driving for Carlisle based firm CA1 Sport, Bogie rolled his DMACK supported Skoda Fabia R5 out of contention. Thankfully both crew members were left unscathed but this paved a way for their rallying rivals.

Reigning champions Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin put their new Hyundai i20 R5 through its paces on the Cumbrian gravel. Cronin began his quest for a fifth title in fine fashion. The Michelin supported star initially held the lead before an on form Edwards mounted his charge. Suffering with a lack of competitive miles in the new car, Cronin struggled with pace in the afternoon loop and went too tight to a chicane bale and had to reverse to get going again haemorrhaging time to the top two.

Final Postions
1. Matt Edwards (GBR) / Darren Garrod (GBR) Ford Fiesta
2. Rhys Yates (GBR) / Elliott Edmondson (GBR) Skoda Fabia
3. Keith Cronin (IRL) / Mikie Galvin (IRL) Hyundai i20 R5
4. Marty McCormack (GBR) / David Moynihan (IRL) Skoda Fabia R5
5. Jonny Greer (GBR) / Kirsty Riddick (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
6. Alex Laffey (GBR) / Patrick Walsh (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
7. Lawrence Whyte (GBR) / Stuart Louden (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
8. Thomas Preston (GBR) / Max Freeman (GBR) Skoda Fabia R5
9. Sasha Kakad (GBR) / James Aldridge (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
10.Steve Røkland (NOR) / Tom Woodburn (GBR) Peugeot 208

30th April, 2018