All change to gravel again Continuing the pattern set in its first year, the first four rounds of the Citroen C2R2 Cup have been won by four different drivers, but a clear leader heads the field as the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British ...
All change to gravel again
Continuing the pattern set in its first year, the first four rounds of the Citroen C2R2 Cup have been won by four different drivers, but a clear leader heads the field as the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship dives back into the forests for International Rally Yorkshire this weekend.
Series leader Andrew Hockridge admitted at the first event back in April that he had never contested a series anywhere near the level of the BRC. But it didn't stop him from taking victory on the tricky conditions of the Pirelli Rally, having avoided punctures where second placed Martin Roberts suffered two. Martin McCormack took third after problems with a faulty fuel sensor, but that was nothing to Matt Cotton's who barrel rolled his hired C2 into an unforgiving Kielder ditch.
The switch to tarmac on the Jim Clark Rally also saw the return of one of the 2007 front-runners, George Thomas. Despite broken engine mounts early on and an electrical problem near the finish, he proved unstoppable, winning by a clear 13 minutes at the end. McCormack had held second until about three quarters through, beginning to reel in Thomas before a bridge put paid to his efforts. This left Matt Cotton a surprised and delighted runner up, the Cornishman having overcome the memory of the huge crash on the Pirelli. Martin Roberts was third, after a frustrating event where electrical gremlins plagued him all rally, although the result was enough to put him in the lead of the Championship.
Another returnee on the Jim Clark also contested Rally Isle of Man, having missed the first round with a badly broken ankle. Jason Pritchard grimaced through the first tarmac round, but had recovered sufficiently on the Manx lanes to take victory. McCormack put up a fight, but went off in the treacherous conditions, handing the mantle of chaser to Hockridge. He was lucky to be at the rally, having crashed heavily while testing, but still managed to beat last year's C2R2 Cup Champion Martin Laverty into third.
Ulsterman Martin McCormack took a well deserved victory on his home event, but an irregularity with fuel on the first day saw his points halved as a penalty. He isn't too troubled though, as other commitments mean he will almost certainly miss the final events in the series.
Pritchard backed up his Manx win with a second and for the mathematicians amongst you, with dropped scores he comes toYorkshire level on points with Hockridge, but only when dropped scores are applied. It is probably too early to start getting calculators out, but it certainly won't have escaped the pair, wins being the only way from now on.
Hockridge was third in Ulster with Cotton fourth and whilst Hockridge leads from Roberts in the points, he should note that a consistent finishing record from Laverty was sufficient to claim the 2007 title.
The BRC's Citroen C2R2 Cup is now in its second year and has attracted new and existing competitors to the series. With the support of Belfast's Charles Hurst Motors, it has been a big step forward from 2007, with 1750 GBP available on each round in addition to the BRC class fund. The 1600cc Rally 2 class cars' specification remains unchanged from 2007.
The overall prize for the C2R2 Cup winner at the end of six qualifying rounds of the BRC will be a place at the Citroen Sport shootout to decide a supported drive on a round of the 2009 JWRC.
Rally Yorkshire is an ultra compact event, with nearly 100 classic North Yorkshire forest miles squeezed into Saturday. The whole event is based at the Pickering Showground where there is also a spectator stage in case you can't make it into the woods.
The C2R2 Cup Ulster Rally review is in Rallyzone on Sky Sports Xtra tomorrow (Wednesday 24th September) at 17:30, repeated several times over two days. Part of the programme is a preview for the International Rally Yorkshire BRC main event. Check your Sky Sports listings or click HERE for a shedule.
The C2R2 Cup is supported by Charles Hurst Motors, Citroen Sport France and Total Lubricants.