British Rally Champions honoured at MSA awards night
Four champions of the 2010 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship were re-presented with their MSA British Rally Championship gold flags at the UK governing body's annual Night of the Champions at the Royal Automobile Club in London's Pall Mall on Friday.
British Rally Champion co-driver Barry McNulty flew in from Ireland for the glittering awards ceremony, also accepting on behalf of his driver Keith Cronin, who was unable to attend, he took the stage to receive his award from M-Sport's Malcolm Wilson. The cross Irish border partnership left Cronin ten points clear at the top of the drivers table, while Ulsterman McNulty was nearly double that ahead of his nearest rival for his first BRC title.
"2010 was an unbelievable year," said the 24 year old from County Fermanagh. "I got a phone call out of the blue asking if I'd like to sit beside Keith. It's not every day you get a call like that, especially as we were going to try and defend Keith's 2009 title in his Pirelli Star Driver year -- no pressure!"
Taking the Dulux Trade MSA British Junior Rally Championship title was Welsh duo Elfyn Evans and Andrew Edwards, their achievement coming in two different cars at the end of a stunning season. With a combined age of just 45 the pair dominated the Junior category, taking the lead with victory on the first event, a lead they would not relinquish throughout the season.
"It was great to stand on the stage with champions from across UK motorsport," said the unassuming Welshman, "2010 was a dream season with this, the Fiesta title and the Pirelli Star Driver prize. I hope our luck holds out this year too."
JRM's achievement of winning the Dulux Trade MSA British Teams Rally Championship title was also acknowledged when Team Manager John Barnes was presented with the MSA trophy. Having recorded three outright rally wins and two second place finishes, JRM clinched the Teams' title on the final round with an impressive first and second place finish.
"Considering it was our first full season with two cars, we were very happy to have secured the British Teams' title", said Barnes as he accepted the award from guest presenter, M-Sport's Malcolm Wilson. "We will now use the experience we gained last year in the campaigns we are involved with this year, which currently looks like a mixture of British and overseas events."
With the opening round of the 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, Rallye Sunseeker International, just over a month away, drivers, co-drivers and teams will be frantically preparing in the hope that they might also be MSA award winners at the end of this season.