The Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK kicks off its tenth consecutive season this weekend, when the high-profile one-make series for Group N (production Class) Lancer Evolutions heads to the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales for...
The Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK kicks off its tenth consecutive season this weekend, when the high-profile one-make series for Group N (production Class) Lancer Evolutions heads to the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales for the first round of this year's series.
For 2010 the Evo Challenge joins the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, the calendar including three gravel and three asphalt rallies - all of them top-quality international events. The move to the UK's premier series sees the Mitsubishi series attract some of the quickest R4 Class teams in the country and therefore, it is predicted that it will continue to provide ultra-close competition - as it has done for the past nine seasons.
First of the registered Mitsubishi crews to head into the forests of North Wales are Jonny Greer and co-driver Dai Roberts, both previous front-running Evo Challenge competitors. They are followed by 2008 Champions David Bogie/Kevin Rae, who are looking to use their experience of last year's BRC prize drive - which was part-supported by the Evo Challenge - to their advantage.
Making a welcome debut to the series are Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy and a crew that are certainly in with a shot at this year's title. Behind them are the first of three crews from outside the Britain and Ireland, Peter Horsey/Moses Matovu from Kenya, who are sampling their first taste of rallying the UK.
Returning to the Mitsubishi series, this time in an ex-works Evo IX, are Irishmen Owen Murphy and James O'Brien, who will be hoping that their new car will bring more luck than they have had in the past and put them in with a real chance of challenging for the title.
There then follows two crews from Iceland: Daniel Sigurdason, with his sister Astor Sigurdardottir co-driving, the former Icelandic Rally Champion and regular UK rally visitor back to contest his third season in the Mitsubishi series. Conversely, this is the first time that fellow countrymen Joannes Gunnarson will have competed in the UK, although his co-driver Isak Gujonsson is familiar with the territory having partnered Sigurdarson on many occasions.
The Bulldog International Rally of North Wales starts and finishes at the new livestock centre in Welshpool, the venue also hosting the service area for the event. Cars leave the start at 7.00 am on Saturday and head to the forests of Myherin and Sweet Lamb twice in the morning, with runs through Big Ray, Dyfi Main, Pantperthog and Gartheiniog in the afternoon, before the finish back in Welshpool at 4.30pm.
For the first time this season the winner of the Evolution Challenge in each of the three countries where it takes place, UK, Ireland and Sweden, will win the same prize: A supported drive in, as it has just been announced, the FxPro Rally Cyprus, the final round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge).
Then, whichever of the three teams are first home on this event will be crowned European Evolution Challenge Champions. Added to this, the winning driver in the UK will be a guaranteed nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out.
-source: uk evo