The tarmac of this year’s Jim Clark International Rally not only put the combatants for the overall MSA British Rally Championship title to the test, but battles raged throughout the field on the Scottish Borders lanes this Diamond Jubilee weekend.
MSA British Manufacturers Rally Championship
This year’s MSA British Manufacturers’ title is a three-way battle between the brands: Citroën, Renault and Ford. Scores towards the title are calculated from the two leading cars from each of the manufacturers.
Keith Cronin’s and Tom Cave’s first and second places means that Citroën UK extended its lead in the standings. Elfyn Evans’ fourth and Matthew Cathcart’s eighth saw Ford Motor Company the second-highest scoring manufacturer on this occasion, with Mark Donnelly’s sixth and Chris Ingram’s impressive tenth overall finish allowing Renault UK to stay one point ahead and hold second place.
MSA British Junior Rally Championship
Underpinning the BRC’s commitment to reward its rising stars, a new-look Junior Championship has been introduced for this season. Open to drivers of 23 and under in Class 10 (R1) cars, this initiative sees the winner recognised with the prestigious title of MSA British Junior Rally Champion.
20-year old Renault Twingo R1 driver Garry Pearson was in line to win the Junior category for the third time this season, right up until stage 13, when a driveshaft problem sidelined his chances. However, with his main rival Steve Røkland from Norway not entering this event, it’s status quo for the title race.
Pirelli Star Driver
This year’s Pirelli Star Driver competition again selects a winner from each round. Each of the six winners will then go forward to an end-of-season shootout where they can win a Pirelli funded prize designed to boost their progression in the sport.
So far this season, Mark Donnelly and Tom Cave have been awarded yellow jerseys and a nomination towards the end-of-season finale for winning rounds one and two respectively, with Jussi Kumpumäki the recipient for his performance on round three. This time it was Matthew Cathcart that had the accolade bestowed upon him, in light of his impressive and committed display of driving this weekend.
BRC Teams’ Cup
The new-format BRC Teams Cup is aimed at professional motorsport teams running two cars. Six teams are currently registered.
Drivers are pre-nominated, but can change from event-to-event. All six rounds count towards the final championship classification, with the first of the team’s two cars scoring points.
Top-scorer in this category was Tom Cave, who’s second place provided maximum points for Davies Motorsport Services and sees them jump from fifth to sixth ahead of Ford Junior Rally Team Finland, after both Niko-Pekka Nimenen and Jussi Kumpumaki failed to finish due to their visits to the Berwickshire countryside.
Second best on this occasion was Elfyn Evans for M-Sport Ford, his efforts ensuring that his team stays at the top of the table. Third finisher in this category was Jukka Korhonen, which keeps Pirelli TEG Sport in second place, whilst Callum Black’s fourth sees the Millers Oils 586 Team to get off the ground with a score of 15-points.
And, helping AVS Motorsport to retain its third place once again was Gethin Jones, the Fiesta driver not letting his Super Rally run on Sunday get in the way of his sixth place finish for teams’ points.
Ravenol Oils BRC Privateers Cup
For competitors who compete outside of one of the six official teams, the Ravenol Oils BRC Privateers Cup allows 18 out of the 27 registered drivers to score points towards this recently introduced category.
Rally winner Keith Cronin was again the highest finisher in this category, which sees him take the lead the standings ahead of previous leader Desi Henry, who drops to second after his car suffered electrical problems on Saturday and forced him to Super Rally on Sunday.
Mark Donnelly finished as the fourth privateer, which is enough for him to hold third place, whilst Jonny Greer’s second in the category elevated him to fourth ahead of Peter Taylor, who retired when his Renault Clio got stuck in a ditch on stage 14.
BRC one-make series
The MSA British Rally Championship also features three, one-make series: The Citroën Racing Trophy UK, Fiesta SportTrophy and the Twingo Renaultsport R1 & R2 Trophies UK.
Round four of the Citroën series was won for the second time by overall rally winner Keith Cronin and once again Elfyn Evans was the quickest of the Fiesta runners. Chris Ingram took maximum points in the Twingo R2 Trophy following his impressive tenth-place overall finish. Garry Pearson’s luck may have run out on stage thirteen, but he still took victory in the Twingo R1 Trophy by crossing the start line. He still needs to seal the BRC Juniors though, before he can take his Rallye du Var prize drive.
The next and penultimate round of the 2012 MSA British Rally Championship stays on asphalt and moves to the stunning countryside of counties Antrim and Londonderry in Northern Ireland. Todds Leap International Rally NI, part of the Ulster Rally, is based in Antrim and takes place over Friday and Saturday 17th & 18th August.