'MILNER'S FIRED UP FOR THE BORDER BATTLE'. Double British Rally Champion Jonny Milner switches to his beloved surface of tarmac on July 8th. The Huggate based Yorkshireman will take Team Merlin International north of the border to contest the...
'MILNER'S FIRED UP FOR THE BORDER BATTLE'.
Double British Rally Champion Jonny Milner switches to his beloved surface of tarmac on July 8th. The Huggate based Yorkshireman will take Team Merlin International north of the border to contest the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. The all tarmac event based in the quiet Scottish town of Kelso plays host to the second round of the Tesco 99 British Rally Championship.
After a steady start to the season on the gravel roads of Kielder forest, Milner and his Welsh co-driver Nicky Beech are determined to up the ante this time in their Tom Walkinshaw Group Limited built Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. The MSR Motorsport run Lancer has been fully converted to tarmac specification as Milner and Beech ready themselves for some seriously high speed tarmac action on the closed public roads near to the event base.
Supported by Merlin International, Eden Tyre Services, Pirelli Tyres and Team Dynamics, Milner recently returned from a successful test on the Donegal International Rally in Ireland. Partnered by long time mentor Duncan McMath, Milner was using the event as a public test session ahead of the Jim Clark, and after experimenting in a number of key areas on the Mitsubishi, Jonny was keen to get started in Scotland. Changes to the suspension and mapping of the Lancer have boosted Milner's confidence prior to the rally, and both Milner and Beech are keen to put in a strong points scoring drive on an event that has rarely been kind to the Yorkshire ace in the past.
Milner has twice been struck down by fires on his rally cars over the past six years, ironically both cars igniting on the same stage and within 100 yards of each other. Naturally, Jonny is keen to avoid history repeating itself for the third time in the John Bean Garage Equipment, Snap On Diagnostics, Goldline Bearings, NGK Spark Plugs, Sparco, and Ferodo Competition Brake Pads backed machine. Despite the apparent bad luck on the event, Jonny is still a fan of the rally, and having never made any secret of his enjoyment on driving on tarmac roads, Milner is a man to watch as the BRC circus heads north once more:
'Finishing 5th on the Pirelli was a good result' said Milner. 'I say 'good' as it could have been better. Given the close competition around us, we started the event very competitively, and the car felt really good. We struggled a bit with a fuel pump problem, but that has been rectified now. Our performance tailed off a little on the second day, and whilst I was pleased to have scored points for finishing 5th, I was disappointed to drop away from the leading pace in the manner that we did. Having said that, the pace was seriously hot - as we expected it to be.
After Donegal, I'm much happier with the car. We did some work with Pirelli on tyre testing, and we also extensively worked on suspension and damper settings with the help of Tom Walkinshaw Group and MSR. Overall, the car is feeling excellent and I'm gaining more and more confidence with it. We know the stages well on the Jim Clark, and we stand every chance of putting in a really good result. I really need to be on the podium next weekend in order to really get our championship charge going. It certainly will not be easy, but Team Merlin International will be giving our all to get the best from the event, that is for certain'.
The Kelso based classic runs over two days and the action commences on July 7th. 24 hours later, the crews will return to the town for the finish of the event, having completed stages on the fast and challenging tarmac lanes native to Berwickshire.