All the events in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship have made a commitment to provide a shakedown before the start of their rallies. The aim is to give competitors a chance to re-familiarise themselves and fine tune their cars ...
All the events in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship have made a commitment to provide a shakedown before the start of their rallies. The aim is to give competitors a chance to re-familiarise themselves and fine tune their cars before the start of the event.
Drivers contesting the season opener, the Pirelli International Rally in April, will be most eager to get some mileage under their belts before attacking the famous Kielder Forest in earnest. The event's organisers have planned a shakedown to help blow the cobwebs away after a break of over four months, or to give newcomers a chance to sample Kielder's fierce reputation at first hand before the start.
The Jim Clark Rally has previously used Floors Castle as a shakedown and spectator stage, but this year the focus will be on testing rather than playing to the crowd. There will be a three mile test stage situated close to the event's Service Park at Charterhall, which is more representative of the area's fast but, particularly in the wet, extremely slippery roads.
In 2007 the Rally Isle of Man shakedown stage was a huge hit with competitors who flocked to the short section of road, using it well over a hundred times in just a few hours. This will be repeated in 2008 and it is hoped that allowing competitors to blow off some steam will reduce the number of early event incidents.
The Ulster Rally also has plans to run a shakedown within two miles of the event's Armagh City base, which is likely to be around 1.5 miles long, with a selection of straights and flowing bends.
Rally Yorkshire will try to engage a section of forest nearer to the stages than the private tests organised in previous years, as the particular character of the North Yorkshire forests is unique.
Finally Wales Rally GB opened up its shakedown to privateer drivers in 2007 with some success, a strategy that the UK's round of British and World Rally Championship plans to repeat in 2008.
Mark Taylor, "We are finding more and more that competitors are seeking a full weekend of sporting experience for their money which includes reconnaissance of the stages, promotional opportunities, enjoying fun and camaraderie and now, an opportunity for a pre event shakedown of their cars. It proves again that qualifying rallies of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship are providing competitors real enjoyment and a value for money experience."