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A new rally championship has been launched this week which aims to rejuvenate the camaraderie and prime quality gravel conditions for two-wheel drive competitors in 2018 across five forest events in the UK.

In an idea devised by well-known Scrutineer John Cooper, the Rally2 Championship will follow the newly announced Rally 2WD format, which has been widely praised as a transformation of rallying for the 2wd fraternity.

With the loss of the ability to run lower powered and two-wheel drive machines at the head of the field in 2015 thanks to a regulation change, both front and rear driven cars have suffered from lowly seeding positions in recent times and entry numbers have begun to dwindle across the country.

Thanks to the Rally 2WD format, Rally2 has been devised to recreate the atmosphere and friendliness as well as predominantly smooth roads which were lost when the new “fastest first” road position and seeding was brought in. Two wheel drive crews will now be able to take advantage of prime road conditions and will effectively run in their own event and enjoy the forests at their best.

The class structure allows both beginners and seasoned experts to compete alongside each other and vie for class honours. The Tyro category offers a cost-effective entry-level option whilst the One-Four class should appeal to the under 1400cc crews. The Open and Open-Plus category ensures those with more power can still qualify.

Promoted by the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club, who are responsible for the Fuchs MSA British Historic Rally Championship (BHRC) and Roger Albert Clark Rally, the series will follow the BHRC calendar, starting with the North Wales Rally Services – Rally North Wales on 24th March in Dolgellau, Wales.

For the series opener, crews will start at around 8.30 in the morning before a lunchtime finish allows the four-wheel drive event to follow on behind. Whilst other events in the championship are finalising details, many are set to follow a similar pattern.

Round two will head to the North West for the Pirelli Carlisle Rally in April and not only will Rally2 crews enjoy top road conditions in the Kielder forest, but all stages on the event will be single use giving additional protection for lower powered and older cars in the field.

The Carlisle Rally will also head into Kielder, but unlike the Pirelli, will utilise the Kershope & Newcastleton complex. The event will also offer competitors their first taste of stages under the cover of darkness on the Friday night of the event. The two-day rally will run to Rally 2WD format on Friday, switching to a traditional format the following day with stages selected for their smoothness.

The Red Kite Stages in June will run to the Rally 2WD format and is set to take competitors into South Wales for the first time in many years. The final round of the series, the Trackrod Cup in September, will run to a similar format to the Carlisle Stages, offering several stages in the dark, again on the Friday night.

Championship creator John Cooper, believes this is just what rallying needs in the UK at the moment and should inspire many crews to start competing again after a lengthy hiatus.

“The loss of so many two-wheel drive crews in forest rallying over the past few years has been significant and of course it’s had a detrimental effect on event entry levels on even the most popular of rallies,” says Cooper.

“I was very impressed by the Rally 2WD format which was devised by Paul Lawrence and Simon Wallis and saw how much interest from the historic community it had. The initial idea was a championship for beginners to be able to cut their teeth in the sport but after talking to Matt Cotton who has now offered to become championship co-ordinator, it soon snowballed. From the initial response by crews, we had to build something a little bigger and now it seems we are dragging many drivers out from semi-retirement”.

There is something for everyone in the new championship but the organisers have concentrated on keeping it simple.

“We have a very simple class structure and ethos and there will be no huge prizes at the end of it in year one,” says championship coordinator Cotton.

“We really just wanted to ensure that we could give people a reason to come back to the sport again and have a great atmosphere both on and off the stages whilst having a great time. We seem to have lost that in rallying recently. Crews will all be welcome at the RACRMC tent in service for coffee and biscuits during service breaks and generally have a good chat about the day with a family atmosphere. We can build on what we have in the coming months but for now, let’s just get people out there competing.”

Class awards at the end of the year will be presented at the Fuchs MSA British Historic Rally Championship awards evening.

2018 Rally2 Calendar (subject to MSA approval):
24th March 2018 Rally North Wales Rally 2WD format
28th April 2018 Pirelli Carlisle Rally 2WD first, all single use
8th / 9th June 2018 Carlisle Stages Day one: 2WD format, day two: traditional
24th June 2018 Red Kite Stages Rally 2WD format
29th/30th September Trackrod Cup Day one: 2WD format, day two: traditional

Championship regulations and more information can be found online at:

More information on the championship can be obtained from the championship

Matt Cotton T: 07870 216931
Bex Hinton

Or follow the championship on social media:

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