Six chances for BRC glory The final round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship will see a six way fight for the 2010 title, with five nations represented in an all out bid for supremacy in the forests of Rally Yorkshire. It is true ...
Six chances for BRC glory
The final round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship will see a six way fight for the 2010 title, with five nations represented in an all out bid for supremacy in the forests of Rally Yorkshire.
It is true that reigning champion Keith Cronin and co-driver Barry McNulty need only to finish inside the top six to guarantee back-to-back drivers' titles for the Irishman and top eight to seal a first British title for his Northern Irish co-driver. But with the Dulux Trade MSA British Teams Rally Championship at stake too, the Irish pair must try their utmost to help Pirelli TEG Sport retain the prestigious MSA award.
While Cronin may be favourite for the title, it is by no means settled, since the last round of the 2010 season carries a 50% points bonus, any one of six of the current top seven in the table could still mathematically win if Cronin falters.
His position means that it is unlikely to see any heroics from last year's event winner, so it is almost guaranteed that the rest of the field will sense the chance of victory while Cronin adopts an ultra cautious approach.
Topping the drivers' tables since the end of the second round back in April has been Jonny Greer, but after co-driver changes, McNulty heads the co-drivers, a level head all he requires to help secure his place in the BRC history books.
Greer is one of only five drivers of the 41 registered to have scored on all the rounds of the championship so far, an impressive statistic that carries an unwanted penalty. As it will be the best five scores from the six events that count at the end of the season, the young Ulsterman must drop his worst event tally after Rally Yorkshire. But it does mean that with a solid finish he is guaranteed of a top three position in the 2010 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, his previous best fifth in both 2008 and 2009.
From different sides of the border Craig Breen and Alastair Fisher have more in common than Irish roots. Respectively co-driven by Gareth Roberts and Rory Kennedy, neither can now secure the BRC title following season-long bad luck. But after a maiden win in Ulster Breen will compete in Yorkshire to prove his, and his awesome Fiesta S2000's, ability on gravel, while Fisher's two podiums this year put the youngster in a prime spot for his own maiden victory.
Jason Pritchard's co-driver Robbie Durant is in a strong position too, currently second to McNulty, while Pritchard's debut four wheel drive season has gone extremely well, currently sandwiched in third place between two British Rally Champions. A podium place on Rally Isle of Man is the season highlight so far, the 22 year old another with a score from each of the five events and a passion to improve in his Subaru.
The fact the 1996 British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans languishes in fourth place in the tables is no reflection on the 51 year old's commitment this year. A mechanical problem on the opening round on his home gravel aside, the 'Welsh Wizard' admits that this season has been the most competitive he has experienced for many a year.
This must go some way in justifying two uncharacteristic crashes in as many events, JR Motorsports driver Evans having to push harder than ever to keep pace with the youngsters. Two non-scores mean that he must rely on others retiring to add his name to the trophy after a fourteen year gap.
2008 Pirelli Star Driver Adam Gould has had a difficult season financially, unable to secure a single big sponsor to assist in running Mark Higgins' old Subaru this year. But he and Craig Drew have struggled through, even starting the season on the podium in March, a feat they have not managed to repeat despite some fantastic stage times in the old specification car. Their focus on this event must surely be to assist team mate Cronin to help Pirelli TEG Sport retain the Teams' title.
Amazingly Gwyndaf's son Elfyn is sixth in the overall championship tables, but having finished every round he has the same problem as Greer and Pritchard, needing to drop a score. This means that he cannot take the title regardless of others potential misfortunes. The word amazing should not be considered in the context of his position being a surprise though, since he and Andrew Edwards have deserved their excellent results.
Swapping to a new specification Fiesta part way through the season was a good move for the Welsh duo, but with perfect twenties across the board in the Fiesta SportTrophy, they could probably have won the series in the old car, such is the youngster's domination of the one make series.
The final crew with an outside chance of Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship victory is that of brother and sister team Daniel Sigur0x00f0arson and 0x00c1sta Sigur0x00f0ard0x00f3ttir. The multiple Icelandic champion will complete his first full season in the BRC at the wheel of a Mitsubishi, working to help secure the Teams title for JR Motorsports and eager to end the year with a podium place.
International Rally Yorkshire gets underway with an autograph session and ceremonial start on the south end of the town's Marine Drive from 6pm on Friday. A single seventeen mile stage awaits the crews in the Dalby Forest complex, before a service and overnight halt back at Marine Drive.
Saturday sees two loops of Dalby stages split by a another service in Scarborough, before the eventual Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Champion is crowned at the Marine Drive finish at 6.15pm.