Rallycross: Open Championship Blyton preview

2009 FUCHS LUBRICANTS RALLYCROSS OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE BATTLE TO CONTINUE AT BLYTON Following the thrills and spills at Nutts Corner in Northern Ireland last month, the 2009 Fuchs Lubricants Rallycross Open Championship bursts back into life...


Following the thrills and spills at Nutts Corner in Northern Ireland last month, the 2009 Fuchs Lubricants Rallycross Open Championship bursts back into life at Blyton Circuit (near Gainsborough) on Sunday May 17th. The Lincolnshire venue plays host to round four of the Championship as the title battle in all of the categories continues to heat up as the midpoint of the season approaches.

Mike Manning from Carmarthenshire in Wales, claimed victory in round three of the Championship which moved him to the top of the points standings in Division 1 with his Ford Puma. Manning will be looking to extend his four point lead in the Championship over first round winner Derrick Jobb (Ford Escort RS2000) who was involved at a first corner incident during round three at Nutts Corner, which was triggered by Ollie O'Donovan (Peugeot 306) by making contact with Tommy Graham (Ford Fiesta). Andy Grant (Ford Escort RS2000) lies third in the Championship ahead of George Tracey Jnr (Citroen C4), Graham and O'Donovan. The top five drivers are separated by only 12 points and with five rounds still to go, the title race is wide open.

Steve Mundy (Ford Focus) will be hoping for a strong result at Blyton to move into Championship contention, while 2007 and 2008 Champion 'Mad Mark' Watson (Citroen Xsara) has it all to do after his mechanical woes in Northern Ireland. 'Mad Mark' can come back stronger than ever and Blyton is happy hunting ground for the Barnard Castle Hotelier after winning all three rounds at the Lincolnshire circuit last season. Aiden McCullagh also aims to put his engine dramas behind him with his Peugeot 206, which has prevented him from taking part in the opening three rounds of the 2009 Fuchs Lubricants Rallycross Open Championship.

Jamie Lea has opened up a comfortable lead in the Super National category ahead of 2007 Rallycross Open Champion Allan Tapscott (Vauxhall Corsa), Barry McCardle (Renault 5), Mike Howlin (Ford Fiesta) and Don Shannon (Volvo S40). Lea's back to back victories in Northern Ireland was a strong answer to Mike Turpin's (Vauxhall VX220) win in the opening round of the Championship at Croft Circuit and is going for a hat trick of victories at Blyton. Lincolnshire based Gary Dixon (Vauxhall Astra) and Stuart Coldron will be aiming for strong results as the Open Championship visits their home venue.

Toby Crocker leads the Division 1A category with his Citroen Saxo, while two wins for Stuart Emery in Northern Ireland allowed the 2008 Champion to leapfrog Dave Baines into the lead of the Procar 2000 Championship. Shelley Wakeling made her debut with the new Revivals built Honda Civic Type-R last time out and is aiming for the top step of the podium following her impressive initial showing.

The Procar 1600 battle is heating up following Stuart Jacksons (Citroen Saxo) double victory at Nutts Corner, which moved him into the lead of the points standings ahead of defending Champion Kenny Hall (Peugeot 205 Gti). Craig Brown (Peugeot 205 Gti) will be hoping for a victory to reel in the Championship leaders, while Martin Peters (Citroen Saxo), Ben Cree (Peugeot 205 Gti), Steve Heppenstall (Peugeot 205 GTi), Chris Harper (Peugeot 205 GTi) and Andrew Grimstone (Vauxhall Nova) all resume their Championship challenge.

In the Chris Birkbeck Junior Minicross Championship it is Keifer Hudson who has lived up to his pre season favourite tag, having recorded three victories in three events so far in 2009. Bradley Bailey is currently lying second overall in the Championship chase, but needs to start outscoring Hudson if he is to stay in Championship contention. Bailey has visited the podium on all three occasions so far this season. Simon Quinn is currently third overall, ahead of Sam Kinirons, Kelly Bird and Andrew Patterson.

The MDA Edwardes Bros Minicross Open Championship is proving to be more competitive than ever with three different winners in the opening three rounds of the year. John Thacker, George Edwardes and Ben Clark have all won one round each, but ironically it is Mark Griffin who is in the lead of the points standings, proving consistency is the name of the game. George Edwardes has been forced to miss the event at Blyton due to exam commitments, leaving Clark and Kris Hudson as the closest threat to Griffin's Championship lead. David Bell will be hoping for an improved performance following his engine problems in Northern Ireland, while Neil Wade is another strong contender for victory on home territory.

Following his giant killing overall winning performance in Northern Ireland, Lance Foster will be aiming for more of the same in the Revivals category. The intensity will be increased at Blyton when his old sparring partner, Dean Jones returns to action with his Ford Escort MK2 who is guaranteed to be more sideways and spectacular than ever. Add in Glenn Guthrie (VW Golf), John Mooney (Vauxhall Astra), David Black (Vauxhall Astra), Simon Jackson (Vauxhall Corsa), Michael Henderson (Vauxhall Corsa), Rod Stanniland (Hillman Imp), Shane Anderson Black (Mini) and Garry Coxon (Vauxhall Corsa) and the Revivals category is sure to provide some top action throughout the event.

Jonathan Bean continues to sit at the top of the BMW RWD Challenge Championship after back to back victories in rounds two and three. John Clayton continues to push hard and hopes that his strong performance in Northern Ireland will be sufficient for him to reach his target of a top three place in the Championship at the end of the season. First round winner Conor Flynn is set to rejoin the Championship and needs to put in a strong sequence of results over the next three rounds if he is to haul himself back into Championship contention.

In the RX150 category, Leo Forster will be aiming to extend his lead in the Championship following his perfect winning record in the Championship so far in 2009. Andy Scott, Geoffrey Dolan, Joe Shrimpton and Jack McGinley lead the pack, who are attempting to hunt down the Championship leader.

-credit: rallycrossppen.com

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers David Bell , Andy Scott , Conor Flynn
Teams Citroën World Rally Team