Rochdale rally ace Steve Brown will make his last trip across the English Channel this season as he contests the final round of the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC), Zes Uren van Kortrijk.
Driving his familiar Nissan Micra Kit Car, Brown will be aiming to replicate his penultimate round class podium and take third place in the hotly contested two wheel drive category in the process. With regular co-driver Paul Stringer alongside, the duo will face over 100km of competitive miles which takes place over two days in the Kortrijk region of Belgium.
Brown has enjoyed a successful first season in the popular European championship and despite giving away a chunk of horsepower to other contenders in the class, has pushed the 1300cc Micra to its limits and has quickly mastered the tricky closed Belgium public roads. His mainland Europe rally campaign was complimented by a class win on Rally Isle of Man and the 28 year old Questmead Sales Engineer is delighted with how the season has gone.
“We said at the start of the year that we wanted more experience of other events and heading to Belgium was certainly a steep learning curve that we have happily grabbed hold of” says Brown. “The Micra really suits the roads and despite the power disadvantage it has against others in the class, we do get the very best out of it. It feels like a real achievement to be competing for the two wheel drive podium places in our first year out there.”
Rally Kortrijk provides an additional challenge of one stage under the cover of darkness on Saturday 21st November with the remaining 14 stages taking place the next day. Whilst this will mark the first visit to the stages in the region for Brown, he still believes a class podium is achievable.
“We have been right in the mix of local drivers pretty much throughout the second half of the season so I think we can fight for class honours again” says Brown. “We have to take what we learnt in the other events and apply them here. Keeping out of trouble and the ditches will be key to making this stick. It’s been a fantastic year and it would be great to end it on a high”.
After pre event reconnaissance on Saturday 21st November, Rally Kortrijk kicks off at 5.00pm that day with one night stage before an overnight halt. The event resumes on Sunday morning before the finish celebrations at around 5pm.
Brown is supported in 2016 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, Mintex Racing 710, PIAA and Pirelli
Image courtesy of FlatOut.be