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Steve Brown made his trip back to Belgium a worthwhile one, by storming to a Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) class win and taking his Nissan Micra Kit Car to 34th overall from a start position of 112 at the Hemicuda Rally last weekend (21st October).

The Rochdale driver overcame a significant power deficit to his class rivals, to finish the tough closed-road event sixth in class 3F. His result also secured him maximum points in the FIRC M2B category and third two-wheel-drive machine home, meaning he now heads into the final round of the series in second spot.

Brown has enjoyed a busy fortnight of competitive action having piloted a Bellerby RX BMW Mini Cooper to third spot in the BTRDA Clubmans Championship “B Final” at Blyton Park Race Circuit the previous weekend. His guest appearance in the series was the second of his career, arranged by sponsors Fuchs Lubricants and 710 Oils.

But he wouldn’t have time to enjoy his circuit success as he headed across to mainland Europe to resume his FIRC campaign in the popular Nissan. Co-driven by Paul Stringer, Brown has not been able to secure the use of the Micra on all rounds of the season due to much-needed upgrades to the car taking longer than expected.

However, the penultimate round of the FIRC offered the chance to use the car with most of the changes undertaken and he would head to the Kortrijk based event in West Flanders with the intention of pushing the Kit Car harder than usual to test if the upgrades have been successful.

Starting well over 100th on the road, Brown would endure difficult conditions thanks to the gravel being pulled out onto the road by the front-running crews, but he showed no sign of that being an issue from the off, putting the Nissan well inside the top 50 on the opening test, the longest of the event.

As the stages passed, the confidence in the car grew and Brown would be trading stage times with others in the hotly contested 3F class. Despite still giving away significant horsepower to the leaders, the stage times tumbled. The occasional off-road excursion would be a testament to how hard he was pushing the Micra but after nine special stages and almost 100km of driving, Brown secured his best result of the season.

“I`m thrilled with this result and it really is a great feeling to have finally found my feet with the Micra, it’s been a long labour of love recently,” said Brown.

“It was a difficult rally and running down the order didn’t really help out stage times against other guys in the class but we persevered and I so pleased with the pace we managed to set. It was a pretty much trouble free run too which is encouraging. I also know there is more to come from the car and me so it’s certainly given me a real confidence boost heading into the final round next month. It’s great to be back!”

Brown is supported in 2018 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.

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