Return of the British Rally Champions. 2002 Pirelli British Rally Champions Jonny Milner and Nicky Beech begin the defence of their title next weekend, as they head to Gateshead for the Pirelli International Rally in their Team Dynamics Pro...
Return of the British Rally Champions.
2002 Pirelli British Rally Champions Jonny Milner and Nicky Beech begin the defence of their title next weekend, as they head to Gateshead for the Pirelli International Rally in their Team Dynamics Pro Rally Toyota Corolla WRC.
Milner and Beech finished 2nd overall on the event last year, acting as the catalyst for a number of stirring performances for the remainder of the championship. Milner, from Huggate in North Yorkshire is highly motivated to defend his crown after last years championship wasn't decided until the very last round. Fittingly, the final rally was held in the Yorkshire forests and the local hero romped home to one of the most popular victories in recent memory.
For 2003, the team have retained title sponsorship from leading road and competition wheel manufacturer Team Dynamics, who were delighted with Milner's performance on the way to lifting the crown. The team will also continue to use the extremely reliable Toyota Corolla WRC that propelled Milner and his Wrexham born co-driver Nicky Beech (now of Lewknor, Oxon.) to 6 victories from 10 starts in a memorable season.
This time around, Milner's toughest challengers are likely to come from two very different parts of the rallying world - Finland and West Wales. Jari-Matti Latvala at 17 is one of the rising stars of the rally world. "JML" will contest the whole championship behind the wheel of a factory run Ford Focus WRC. Julian Reynolds will also provide a stern test of Milner's skills in his privately entered Subaru Impreza. Reynolds was very much the form man towards the end of 2002, and will be a key player in this years championship.
Milner has a healthy respect for both drivers:
"Both have a great deal of ability and I have no doubt that Julian and Jari are capable of winning rallies this year. However, I'm very confident that we'll be right up there at the top of the timesheets once more. The car is a proven package, Nicky and myself know each other well and have lots of experience, and we are surrounded by a professional team, with proactive sponsors in the shape of Team Dynamics and Pirelli Tyres.
Its still a fabulous feeling to be the British Rally Champion, as it was something I had dreamed about for a long time. Last year had its major highs and some minor lows, but it was a fantastic year for everyone in the team. Now that I have won one title, I don't want to just give up and say "thanks a lot, I'm done". I want to continue where I left off last year, setting fastest times and being a very difficult man to beat. I've no doubt that the task will not be easy this year, but I'm more than pumped up again to give it a good go!"
The Pirelli International Rally starts from Gateshead on April 25th, with the crews competing on a "super special" spectator stage before heading into the darkness of Kielder forest for a stern test of their skills in the dark. The rally then resumes early Saturday morning before an afternoon finish in central Gateshead.
The second round of the 2003 Pirelli British Rally Championship is the Scottish International Rally, on June 14/15.