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Steve Brown ended his debut year in the Toyo Tyres British Rally Championship with an impressive third place in the BMW MINI series standings after securing second place in the final round at Croft Race Circuit last weekend (26/27 October).

Brown overcame treacherous conditions on Saturday’s penultimate round and a demoralising fourth place, to bounce back to second in the final round on Sunday in the Lohen and Swift GO backed Mini. His career-best equalling result netted him third place in the hotly contested single-make series, ensuring the rookie ended his season on the championship and race podium.

A new challenge beckoned for the rapid driver in 2019, after spending most of his competitive career contesting stage rallies. After honing his craft in the F1000 Junior Rally Championship the 31 year old made the switch to the forests, before a handful of seasons in the National Asphalt Rally Championship. Latterly Brown had headed to mainland Europe to contest events in Belgium behind the wheel of his familiar Nissan Micra Kit Car, enjoying significant success on the stages.

A taste of Rallycross in 2017 offered him a new avenue and after selected one-off guest appearances over the years, the opportunity to compete in the British Championship presented itself and Brown would become teammate to the fellow BMW MINI contender Drew Bellerby this season.

His campaign didn’t get off to the best of starts, with power and steering failure in the opening round final at Silverstone putting him on the back foot from the off. Fifth place at Lydden Hill was bettered by his first podium of the season at Pembrey in Wales during round four.

A return to Lydden Hill in August netted him a season-best second place which put him in the fight for the championship podium positions and as the series returned to familiar circuits for the second half of the year, Brown’s pace began to significantly improve. Two more podiums at Pembrey followed with just the trip to Croft for the final two rounds remaining.

However, Saturday’s penultimate round would prove to be a tough one for the MINI pilot, with thick mud making the going difficult for the contenders. Despite having to adapt to the torrential rain and muddy conditions, Brown’s fourth place was not indicative of his speed and the final round the following day offered him the chance to return to form which would be essential if he were to secure a championship podium.

Brown’s form returned on a drier Croft Circuit on Sunday however and after two successful heats and semi-final, he stormed through the final to take second place and cementing his championship result.

“What a great way to end a great year” beamed Brown at the finish presentation. “It’s been really tough to adapt my whole way of thinking from rallying to circuit racing this season and get used to other people around you. But once I`d got used to that and changed my driving style it became great fun and to have come away with third in the championship and so many race podiums was well beyond my expectations”.

“I have to thank all of my supporters for helping me get this result” he continued. “I certainly could not have been able to compete so closely with the regular rallycross drivers if it wasn’t for their backing. It’s been a super year and I`m looking forward to seeing what next season holds”.

Steve is sponsored by Lohen, Swift GO, 710 Oils, PIAA, Questmead, Mintex, Yokohama and Fuchs Lubricants.

Image credit Matt Bristow

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