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After a podium finish on last year’s Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC), Rochdale rally driver Steve Brown will return to the series once again in 2017 thanks to backing from sponsors.

Brown will head back across the Channel in a bid to improve on his third place in the two-wheel-drive category.

The Belgium based Championship proved to be a hotly contested affair for the Nissan Micra driver last season and along with co-driver Paul Stringer, the duo have set their sights on a class win after using last season to settle into the unique nature of the Flanders closed public roads.

Brown has secured backing from Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, PIAA and Pirelli to assist in his assault on the series. He is also pleased to welcome Brake Prep to the team for the first time this season.

The 28 year old Questmead Sales Engineer rounded off his 2016 season with a top ten finishing position in the Challenge and was buoyed by a category win on the final round in Kortrijk.  Brown will have one eye on the class spoils once again, despite facing much more powerful machinery in the group.

In a twist to the start of his campaign, Brown has secured a deal to drive a Honda Civic on the opening round (Rallye Salamandre.) Brown believes it will be worthwhile exercise as the team make some important changes to the Nissan.

“We do suffer with a brake horse power shortage in the class as the Micra has less than 1400cc and we are up against guys with 1600cc” says Brown.

“We really can’t match that kind of power output so we have been making improvements to other areas of the car during the winter which should help us in other areas. Its taking a bit of time to get sorted but we want to get it one hundred per cent right. Using the Honda on the first round puts us in the same class so we can still score points towards our 2WD championship. We had a brief test on Monday (20th March) and it went really well, I`m looking forward to it.”

Brown enjoyed his first season competing overseas and is convinced it has made him a better driver.

“It was a steep learning curve last year and after we sorted out a few teething troubles with the car, we really started to improve our pace” he says. “I loved every second and the roads are very unique out there and very unpredictable to you need to be at the top of your game to be competitive. I have to say a huge thanks to all our backers who have enabled us to head back out there for a second season. I truly cannot wait.”

Brown will also contest the three-day Rally Isle of Man in an attempt to repeat his dominant class win from 2016.

You can follow his progress throughout the season via his website, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2017 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, PIAA, Mintex, Brake Prep, PIAA and Pirelli.

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