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– MSA British Rally Championship begins this weekend, showcasing a host of DS3 R3s
– Osian Pryce tipped for victory at season opener, following strong results in 2013
– A number of drivers move up from an R2 to a DS3 R3 for the forthcoming season

The eagerly awaited MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) kicks off this weekend with the Pirelli Carlisle Richard Burns Foundation Rally, on 3-4 May. Once again, Citroën interest is huge with the all-conquering DS3 R3s poised to dominate the series for another year.

Welsh driver Osian Pryce starts number one, after taking three straight victories at the final three BRC rounds in 2013. The 21-year-old, who will again be joined by co-driver Dale Furniss, finished second to Jukka Korhonen in the championship last season. Given the Finn’s absence this year, few would bet against Pryce who also had a storming run on the World Rally Championship Wales Rally GB event last November.

Pirelli Star Driver, Daniel McKenna, will also be one to watch as he makes his debut on gravel in a DS3 R3, particularly if his first DS3 R3 experience on asphalt is anything to go by. McKenna won the two-wheel drive award at the Circuit of Ireland, beating Korhonen before he exited the event.

Looking ahead to the weekend, McKenna commented: “Our plan this week is to test the car on the shakedown to get back into the feel of the gravel and see from there. I realise Osian looks to be the man to beat, but we will definitely be going to this event with our championship head on. It’s so easy to pick up a puncture in Kielder and it could happen to any of us, and there’s a long way to go in this series, especially with four tarmac rounds now counting. The double scoring Manx International could decide a lot later in the year.”

Callum Black and James Morgan will be back in action in their distinctive black DS3, after some top-six finishes in 2013, and Preston’s James Ford completes the line-up of DS3s having decided to contest the BRC this season.

Stepping up from an R2 to a DS3 R3 is Fermanagh’s Timothy Cathcart, who has the vastly experienced Dai Roberts alongside. Cathcart has shown great pace and the R3 could well provide him with the equipment to provide a real challenge.

Mayo’s David Carney and co-driver Ray Fitzpatrick have also moved from R2, trading up from a C2 R2 Max to a DS3 R3.

Another Citroën interest is Venezuelan Rene Dias Torcato, in his C2 R2 Max. Rene is a Research and Development Engineer for the Lotus F1 team, but this weekend he’s in the driving seat of a Citroën. In the Challenge section of the event, Richard Sykes is gunning for another championship in his modified C2.

The main rally takes place over ten gruelling stages, starting in Carlisle centre on Saturday morning and returning for a lunchtime finish on Sunday.

Citroën Top Seeds, Round One

1 Osian Pryce Dale Furniss Citroën DS3 R3T
2 Daniel McKenna Arthur Kierans Citroën DS3 R3T
3 Callum Black James Morgan Citroën DS3 R3T
4 Timothy Cathcart Dai Roberts Citroën DS3 R3T
5 David Carney Ray Fitzpatrick Citroën DS3 R3T
7 James Ford Michael Gilbey Citroën DS3 R3T

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