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Brown in action at WervikNissan Kit Car pilot Steve Brown returned to Belgium last week to contest the second round of the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC), Rally Van Wervik and scored another confidence boosting run to fifth in class 3F and 39th overall in his rapid 1300cc Micra. His result is made even more impressive thanks to the class accepting cars up to 1600cc, with Brown giving away 300cc to his closest rivals.

Just two weeks earlier, Brown had kicked off his FIRC campaign on the ORC Canal Rally and despite being his first overseas outing, returned to the UK with a solid result under his belt. With just a fortnight between rounds, it was a race against time to ready the Nissan for the next event and thanks to a clean run on the season opener, had nothing more than a routine spanner check to ready the car for the Wervick based event.

The 28 year Questmead Sales Engineer was once again guided by regular co-driver Paul Stringer and the duo would head to the event with the aim to finish the tough 100km route and build pace on the unforgiving Belgian roads. With deep ditches and slippery asphalt to contend with, Brown had always planned to learn the terrain throughout the year and aim towards a podium result towards the close of the season.

Boosted by his earlier result however, Brown immediately settled into the West Belgium closed public roads and sat comfortably inside the top 60 overall after the first loop of stages. But as his experience of the region grew, Brown guided the Micra through the muddy stages to creep inside the top 40 and maintain his 100% finishing record this year and giving his FIRC championship point tally a welcome boost.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend for us” said Brown at the finish. “Having two events so close together has actually helped as we are pretty fresh from the last rally so we can be a little quicker out of the box.  I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered the roads here in Belgium yet, but we are learning all the time and with more experience, I’m sure we will be looking towards a class podium before long”.

“We had a lot more confidence this weekend than the first round” he says.  “Now I have started to take same cuts in the road that the leading cars take, it’s easier to find a rhythm in the stages and it’s certainly a lot more rewarding. I also have to bear in mind we are up against some much more powerful machinery in the 3F class so we are doing really well considering. Either way, the year is going to plan so far and I can’t wait to head back across the Channel for the next round”.

Brown will now look to the fourth round of the series after the summer due to work commitments.

Brown is supported in 2016 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, PIAA and Pirelli

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