BRC

Team Merlin International 2006 preview

'Milner launches new team for BRC title assault'. Yorkshire's rallying ace Jonny Milner returns to the Tesco 99 British Rally Championship for 2006. Double British Rally Champion Jonny Milner has concluded a deal that will see him contest all...

'Milner launches new team for BRC title assault'.

Yorkshire's rallying ace Jonny Milner returns to the Tesco 99 British Rally Championship for 2006.

Double British Rally Champion Jonny Milner has concluded a deal that will see him contest all rounds of the Tesco 99 British Rally Championship this year. The Huggate based driver from North Yorkshire has formed Team Merlin International, a new outfit set up especially for the season. The new team has been carefully constructed to give Milner the best chance possible of lifting the coveted BRC title for the third time.

Milner will pilot a brand new Tom Walkinshaw Group Ltd built Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, in full International Group N specification. The car will be run by Mitsubishi experts MSR Motorsport, also of North Yorkshire, and Milner will be partnered by long term co-driver Nicky Beech, of Lewknor.

Backing for the team comes from Merlin International Ltd, Eden Tyre Services, Pirelli Tyres, and the official wheel supplier will be Team Dynamics. Milner has also secured further backing from new sponsor John Bean Garage Equipment, and long term rally partners Snap On Diagnostics, Goldline Bearings, NGK Spark Plugs, Sparco, and Ferodo Competition Brake Pads.

Jonny has searched hard to come up with the best possible package for the season, and is delighted to have put a deal together that will give him a strong platform from which he expects to mount a serious title challenge. After nearly a whole year away from the sport, Milner is well and truly fired up to take the challenge to anyone contesting the BRC this year. A disappointing outing on the Pirelli International Rally last year from an under-par Milner has also helped to make sure that when the flag drops in Carlisle on May 14th, Jonny will be fast away from the starting blocks.

Team Merlin International will have some useful test mileage under their belts prior to tackling the Kielder forest stages, an event Jonny has never won. Despite the deal being concluded relatively late in the day, Milner is confident that he be successful in the Championship he knows best:

'Obviously it is a brand new outfit - Team Merlin International has been set up solely for the purpose of giving me the best chance possible of battling for the crown this year. Tom Walkinshaw Group have shown huge enthusiasm to be part of this team, and I'm expecting great things from their latest specification car this year. I've also competed on a few rallies in the past year with MSR and they have also shown a strong hunger and desire to win too. The package is completed by the excellent Pirelli Tyres, and of course, Nicky. I genuinely believe we have the strongest combination out there for the season in place, and it will just be a case of getting on with the job and doing our utmost to lift the title this year.'

Jonny contined: 'Of course it will not be easy, and we've already seen some entries come in from the likes of Mark Higgins, Gwyndaf Evans, Stuart Jones, Phil Morrow, and not forgetting the works Mitsubishi team of Ryan Champion and Rory Galligan - all quick guys. There will be plenty of drivers ready to spring a surprise on us, but we are ready and waiting for them. I haven't been this fired up to do well in years, and one thing is for certain, we'll be absolutely going for it on the Pirelli International Rally to start the year with a bang.'

The Pirelli International Rally is based in Carlisle, and uses the Kielder Forest. The event starts on Saturday May 13th, and crews will tackle over 100 miles of fast gravel roads on the English and Scottish border. The event will finish in the centre of Carlisle itself around 3pm on Sunday May 14th.

-www.merlininternational.co.uk

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About this article
Series BRC
Drivers Mark Higgins , Gwyndaf Evans , Stuart Jones , Tom Walkinshaw