Fourmaux & Coria - British Rally Champions

Adding their names to an illustrious roll of champions last weekend by sealing the coveted Motorsport UK British Rally Championship title with victory at Trackrod Rally Yorkshire 22/23 September. M-Sport factory ace Adrien Fourmaux and co-driver Alexandre Coria dominated the two-day event with a flawless performance behind the wheel of their Pirelli-shod, M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 to take the overall rally win and with it, the sought-after crown which now heads back to the squad?s Dovenby Hall in Cumbria for the first time since 2019.

The opening 12-mile Dalby Forest test on Friday night ignited a fierce battle between Fourmaux and his nearest championship rival Garry Pearson, when Fourmaux stopped the clocks just over one second faster than the Scotsman and realized he would need to call on all his WRC experience to extend that advantage in the daylight of Saturday. But extend it he did, winning every single stage of the rally to ensure his name would be engraved on the trophy alongside the likes of Colin McRae, Richard Burns, Stig Blomqvist, Ari Vatanen and Elfyn Evans.

Fourmaux recalled: "What a fantastic season in the BRC and it is really nice for me to have my name alongside so many famous names on the trophy, we can be really proud of what we have done this season and I have really enjoyed coming to Britain and competing on so many different events. Five wins is a nice feeling actually and the team have done such a good job on the car. We came here for time in the car and to try some new things and it has worked really well. I have really enjoyed my time in the championship and actually, it's been a tough season, I am happy to win the trophy".

Fourmaux has been the benchmark of the British Championship this season, winning each event he has contested, meaning he and co-driver Alex Coria take the crown with a round to spare, further proof that a return to Rally2 machinery could well put him in good stead for a shot at the World Rally Championship Rally1 top-flight once again in the near future.

In second place, Pearson and co-driver Daniel Barritt who were using their Volkswagen Polo GTi on the gravel for the first time, complete with a change to Pirelli rubber for the weekend, provided their best performance of the season to ensure the title was within grasp should the Frenchman falter. Keeping Fourmaux honest in the darkness of Dalby Forest was their objective but it became tougher to match his times and despite a gallant effort, they would have to be satisfied with the runner up spot.

However, the battle for the final podium place was less certain and finally, Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson sealed the position. After switching to Michelin for the event, Petch entered into a tussle with Tom Williams who returned to the BRC for the first time since 2021, both drivers swapping times throughout the weekend. Some set-up changes to Williams' and Whittock's Fiesta Rally2 helped matters on Saturday, but too late to catch the Skoda Fabia Rally2 driver and Petch made good use of his bonus point-inducing Joker card, with third spot and a career best BRC result.

The British Rally Championship was also able to crown another champion at the weekend, thanks to a solid performance from Northern Ireland's Alan Carmichael in his Hyundai i20. Returning to gravel, the switch saw the driver back to his trusty right-hand drive example after sampling a brand new i20 N Rally2 at Rali Ceredigion and the move proved wise, with him becoming a back-to-back National Rally Title Champion. The co-driver's crown is still up for grabs and could well be decided at the final round in Wales.

Stuart McLaren was forced to suffer the Yorkshire forests ruts thanks to being one of the last cars on the road, but safely reached the finish in Filey in his Opel Kadette GT/E. McLaren and co-driver Adam Entwhistle enjoyed a trouble-free run to secure their second National Rally Title finish of the season.

The final BRC round of the season is the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally at the end of October.

24th September, 2023