Round four of the 2012 British Rally Championship saw competitors head for the closed public roads of the Scottish Borders and it turned out to be a weekend of mixed fortunes for the Pirelli TEG Sport Team.
After the disappointment of a final stage retirement on the opening round of the series, Finnish driver Jukka Korhonen has since been the model of consistency and again co driven by his namesake Mikael, brought the Pirelli-backed Skoda Fabia R2 to a third consecutive top seven placing overall and the first of the season on pure asphalt.
In doing so, the 27-year-old from Siikajarvi, who won last year’s Pirelli UK Star Driver award, improved to eighth in the overall championship standings as well as consolidating his second place in Class R2 behind former TEG Sport driver Elfyn Evans, with whom he once again battled hard all weekend.
Hoping to continue his recent good form on sealed surfaces, including winning the recent John Overend Memorial Stages on his 4WD debut, it was back to BRC action for 17-year-old Arron Newby in the Pirelli TEG Sport Team’s Robert Wiseman Dairies-sponsored Skoda Fabia R2.
The young driver from Carnforth, along with co-driver Martyn Taylor made a brilliant start around the opening stages in Duns on Friday evening to hold a fantastic seventh overall but after a spin on Saturday’s opening stage which dropped him 20 seconds, he went off the road on the following stage which led to retirement.
Jukka Korhonen: “This was my first time driving on tarmac and I am very happy with my result. We had a good test on Monday and the car was very good so to improve my overall championship position and to pull clear in second place in the very important R2 class means we have done a good job this weekend. Hard luck to Arron, he was going really well before he retired so hopefully we can enjoy another battle on the next event and get some more success for the Pirelli TEG Sport team and for Skoda.”
Arron Newby: “After the good results in non-BRC events at the Manx and Melbourne, I was hoping to continue the run here but it wasn’t to be. I was really pleased with our performance on Friday and the fact that Jukka and I were first and second in class was very important for Skoda, but naturally I’m extremely disappointed we retired. Thanks to the team and to Robert Wiseman Dairies for their support and I hope to put things right on the International Rally Northern Ireland next time out.”
Stuart Newby, Team Owner: “This is an impressive result from Jukka as he has never done a rally on tarmac before so to bring the car home in seventh overall and to consolidate his second place in R2 is job done. As for Arron, we are all disappointed but we accept that he has to take the rough with the smooth, and these things happen the faster you get, it’s all part of the deal. We can take positives away and as well as Jukka’s improvement in the points table, we have also moved up to second in the BRC Teams Cup so we are very confident going to Ulster for the next round in August.”
The ToddsLeap International Rally Northern Ireland is based in Antrim and uses the closed public roads in the province over the weekend of August 17/18th.
Picture (courtesy of Jakob Ebrey), Jukka Korhonen (10) and Arron Newby (19) in action on this weekend’s Jim Clark International Rally.
2012 MSA British Rally Championship
Round 1 – 24/25 February – Rallye Sunseeker International Rally, Bournemouth
Round 2 – 23/24 March – Bulldog International Rally North Wales – Welshpool, Powys
Round 3 – 27/28 April – Pirelli International Rally – Carlisle, Cumbria
Round 4 – 1/3 June – Jim Clark International Rally – Duns, Scottish Borders
Round 5 – 17/18 August – Toddsleap International Rally NI – Antrim, Northern Ireland
Round 6 – 28/29 September – International Rally Yorkshire – North Yorkshire