Freelander leads Pirelli British Rally Championship to safety. Gaydon, Warwickshire, 8 April 2003 - The interests of spectators at all Pirelli British Rally Championship (PBRC) events have never been so well looked after, thanks to an initiative...
Freelander leads Pirelli British Rally Championship to safety.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 8 April 2003 - The interests of spectators at all Pirelli British Rally Championship (PBRC) events have never been so well looked after, thanks to an initiative between Land Rover and UK based specialist motorsport company M-Sport Ltd who have teamed up to introduce the PBRC Freelander spectator and safety control vehicle.
Land Rover's best-seller will star at each of this year's PBRC events with ex-British and Scottish rally champion David Gillanders at the wheel. The car will open each special stage with a demonstration drive and a spectator safety inspection, starting with the Pirelli International Rally in Gateshead on 25 April.
The spectator and safety control vehicle is a former World Rally Championship reconnaissance vehicle purpose built for use on the toughest rally in the world - Africa's Safari Rally. It has been specially modified for the PBRC programme by M-Sport, who design, build and run Ford Focus RS world rally cars for Ford Rallye Sport's global World Rally Championship programme.
This year's seven PBRC events will see the UK's most popular 4x4 tackle terrains ranging from the rigours of the Scottish Highlands to the world famous high-speed Manx International Rally on the Isle of Man. The car is a standard Freelander V6 with just a roll-cage, up-rated suspension system and brake pads to distinguish it from the cars on Land Rover dealers' forecourts.
During a trial session at Land Rover's proving ground in Warwickshire, David Gillanders said: "This is the most capable Freelander in the world. It can take everything thrown at it and more, but it also has a very serious purpose in the PBRC - to ensure the safety of all spectators throughout the Championship."
Gillanders isn't the only part of the team with real rally pedigree - the Freelander served as Colin McRae's reconnaissance vehicle for his attempts at the 2001 and 2002 Safari rallies. Used to check pace notes prior to the event and as a support vehicle during the rally itself, the Freelander's tough, rugged features proved invaluable in such conditions.
As a spectator safety vehicle, it has only a 15-minutes head start on the competition cars, highlighting the need for high performance and the rallying capabilities that the subtle modifications afford the Freelander. All PBRC events take place in specifically designated rally locations, with care taken to protect the surrounding environment.
PBRC manager, Mark Taylor concluded: "Safety is of paramount importance in rallying these days, and having this purpose-built Freelander at our disposal for spectator and safety control is of immense benefit to the Championship."