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MSA BRITISH MANUFACTURERS RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
This year’s MSA British Manufacturers’ title is a three-way battle between the brands: Citroën, Renault and Ford. Scores towards the title are calculated from the two leading cars from each of the manufacturers.

With Citroën DS3 drivers Keith Cronin scoring his third victory of the season and Osian Pryce claiming his first ever BRC podium with an excellent third place, it means that Citroën UK has extended its lead in the manufacturer’s championship and currently stands on 183 points. Elfyn Evans’ stunning second place in his Ford Fiesta R2, coupled with Matthew Cathcart’s impressive sixth in his similar car, sees Ford Motor Company consolidate its second place on 151 points, whilst the lone finisher for Renault UK Garry Pearson means that they remain third on 133.

MSA BRITISH JUNIOR RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Underpinning the BRC’s commitment to reward its rising stars, a new-look Junior Championship has been introduced for this season. Open to drivers of 23 and under in Class 10 (R1) cars, this initiative sees the winner recognised with the prestigious title of MSA British Junior Champion.

20-year old Renault Twingo R1 driver Garry Pearson did exactly what he had to do in Ulster – and that was finish. Lying second in the Junior category until Norwegian Ford Fiesta R1 rival Steve Røkland retired with fuel problems on stage 12, Pearson from Duns was able to keep out of trouble and cross the line to win Class 10. He also claimed tenth place overall in the BRC event, secured the MSA British Junior title and secured his Twingo Trophy prize drive with one round remaining.

At the finish Pearson said: “Even though I just had to finish, it’s been a tough day. Keeping concentration when you haven’t got to drive flat out is really difficult. However, I had to make it to the finish otherwise my team and family would have killed me! I’m therefore relieved – and delighted – to become the Junior Champion in my first year with the BRC.”

Pearson’s victory also sees him become one of the finalists for the end of season Pirelli Star Driver shootout, plus he will be presented with his MSA award at the Royal Automobile Club’s prize giving ceremony in January.

PIRELLI STAR DRIVER
This year’s Pirelli Star Driver competition selects a winner from each round. Each of the six – plus the MSA Junior Champion – will then go forward to an end-of-season shootout where they have the opportunity to win a Pirelli funded prize designed to boost their progression in the sport.

So far this season the winners on each round have been: Mark Donnelly – Rallye Sunseeker, Tom Cave – Bulldog Rally of North Wales, Jussi Kumpumäki – Pirelli Rally and Matthew Cathcart – Jim Clark Rally. The winner of the yellow jersey and a nomination towards the end-of-season finale at the Todds Leap Rally NI was Osian Pryce. The Welsh youngster kept a cool head under pressure and scored his very first BRC podium with an impressive third overall.

BRC TEAMS CUP
The new-format BRC Teams Cup is aimed at professional motorsport teams running two cars. Six teams are currently registered.

Drivers are pre-nominated, but can change from event-to-event. All six rounds count towards the final championship classification, with the first of the team’s two cars scoring points.

Top-scorer in Ulster was Elfyn Evans, who’s second place in his Ford Fiesta R2 allowed M-Sport Ford to increase its lead to 96 points, with Arron Newby’s eighth place in his Skoda Fabia R2 seeing him claim fifth in the Teams’ Cup and bring second-placed Pirelli TEG Sport’s total to 80-points.

Osian Pryce’s third place on the rally meant that Davies Motorsport Services were the second highest scorers this time round, which sees the Welsh team move up another place in the standings to third on 73 points.

Likewise, AVS Motorsport jump up a place with a total of 72 points – just one behind DMS – thanks to James Grint’s gritty ninth overall. The Citroën DS3 driver collected the points in Ulster rather than the team’s regular scorer Gethin Jones, who uncharacteristically crashed his Fiesta ST on Saturday morning.

For Ford Junior Team Finland it was another unhappy event, with both its Fiestas recording DNFs for the second rally in succession. Jussi Kumpumäki was the first to retire with a spectacular exit when he rolled his car at speed on Friday’s stage two. The following day saw Niko-Pekka Nieminen end his rally with an off road excursion and consequent visit to a Northern Irish ditch, which means the team drops to fifth with a score of 49 points.

For Callum Black and the Millers Oils 586 Team, the Rally NI was a fairly uneventful affair, which is exactly what driver and team were looking for. With the event only the second with their Citroën DS3, a seventh-place finish overall gave the team an opportunity to increase their Teams’ Cup points tally to 31.

RAVENOL OILS BRC PRIVATEERS CUP
For competitors who compete outside of one of the six official teams, the Ravenol Oils BRC Privateers Cup allows 18 out of the 27 registered drivers to score points towards this recently introduced category.

Rally winner Keith Cronin was once again the highest finisher in this category, which sees him increase his lead in the standings to 14-points, ahead of Jonny Greer, whose fourth place overall allowed him to collect the second-best haul of Privateer points. Even though it was another disappointing event for Desi Henry – who had to stop and change a puncture on Friday evening and then clipped a wall and retired with a bent rear axle on Saturday evening – he still hangs on to third in the category, which means that the top three privateers all drive Citroën DS3s.

The next two drivers in the Ravenol Oils BRC Privateers Cup standings both use Renault Clios and, whilst fifth-placed Peter Taylor chose not enter the Rally NI, afterwards fourth-placed Mark Donnelly wished he had made the same decision. Having overcome the problems with his car’s gearshift and then clutch, Donnelly’s rally finally came to and end on the penultimate stage.

BRC ONE-MAKES SERIES

Citroën Racing Trophy UK
His three overall rally victories has also provided Keith Cronin with three victories in the Citroën Racing Trophy and again, the Irishman received a cheque for €6000 first prize. Cronin now leads the series on 78 points ahead of Tom Cave on 69, who finished fourth of the Citroëns on this occasion and then Osian Pryce on 66 and finished second of the DS3s in Ulster.

Fiesta SportTrophy
With his stunning performance rewarding him with second place overall, it comes as no surprise that Elfyn Evans was the quickest of the Fiesta runners. Matthew Cathcart was a more than worthy second in the FST, whilst Ruary McLeod was third, after surviving a lengthy delay when he beached his Fiesta on a grassy bank during SS3. The standings now read: Evans 100, Cathcart 69 and Jones 55 points, even though the Fiesta ST driver crashed out of the Rally NI on Saturday morning.

Twingo Renaultsport R1 & R2 Trophies UK
Chris Ingram was all set to take another maximum points haul in his Twingo Renaultsport R2 Evo in Ulster, but unfortunately it a non-finish for the 18-year old after crashing out in Saturday morning’s slippery conditions. However, with his rival Nick Allen not able to enter following his accident on the Jim Clark Rally, Ingram was still able to clinch the R2 title and therefore will now go forward to take up his prize: a fully funded drive in a Clio Renaultsport R3 on the Rally du Var, near St. Tropez in November.

Likewise, Garry Pearson was able to secure the Twingo R1 title in Ulster with one round remaining. He also receives a supported drive on the Rally du Var, but in this case, behind the wheel of a Twingo Renaultsport R2 Evo.

….AND FINALLY
The sixth and final round of the MSA British Rally Championship – International Rally Yorkshire – takes place on 28th & 29th September and, with 1.5-times the points on offer, the competition in the yet-to-be-decided championships and classes is going to be fiercer than ever.

For live information, photos, driver quotes, radio coverage and results, the BRC App can be downloaded by searching ‘British Rally Championship’ in the iTunes App Store or via Google Play.

For more information on the MSA British Rally Championship visit http://www.rallybrc.co.uk

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