‘DMACK threat­en­ing BRC pull-out’

‘Bo­gey­gate’ mars Carlisle,

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon Photos: Jakob Ebrey

Lead­ing Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship team DMACK has threat­ened to walk away from the se­ries af­ter El­fyn Evans de­scribed tim­ing prob­lems on last week’s Pirelli Carlisle Rally as a “joke”.

The Pirelli Carlisle Rally or­gan­is­ers came un­der fire from teams and crews as bo­gey times in­ter­fered on three of the rally’s seven stages.

On SS4, DMACK Bri­tish Rally Team driver El­fyn Evans beat the bo­gey time by just un­der half a minute, while on Sun­day morn­ing no fewer than 13 driv­ers beat the bo­gey on SS6. Be­cause Evans was still awarded the bo­gey time, his re­cov­ery from a punc­ture was ham­pered

DMACK and CA1 Sport – re­spon­si­ble for the top two driv­ers in the BRC – re­acted an­grily to the han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion as did mul­ti­ple crews and teams. DMACK man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dick Cor­mack went as far to say as he was con­sid­er­ing the out­fit’s place in the se­ries un­less the is­sue is re­solved.

“There’s no point us putting all this into the cham­pi­onship and bring­ing the cars here if we can’t com­pete,” said Cor­mack. “We won’t be in Scotland [for the RSAC Scot­tish Rally, next round of the BRC] un­less we get as­sur­ances that this sort of thing doesn’t hap­pen again.”

Cor­mack’s driver El­fyn Evans mir­rored the sen­ti­ments stat­ing that a fix must be found so that the prob­lem doesn’t rear its head again. “We’re here try­ing to show­case the best of Bri­tish ral­ly­ing and this is what hap­pens, it’s a joke,” claimed Evans.

“But I think mov­ing for­ward it’s very, very im­por­tant we don’t come across this sit­u­a­tion again be­cause oth­er­wise the cham­pi­onship will be com­pro­mised.”

Evans also stated that the event should have in­ter­na­tional sta­tus, which would have raised the bo­gey av­er­age speed to around 75mph rather than 70mph, al­low­ing ex­tra breath­ing room.

“It needs to be an in­ter­na­tional rally as far as I’m con­cerned, it’s an in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship,” the Welsh­man added. “I don’t see why, we’re here for two days why not have an in­ter­na­tional rally? It wouldn’t cost a lot more re­ally. Maybe I’m miss­ing some­thing, I’m not an event or­gan­iser so it’s not fair, I know it’s dif­fi­cult and a lot of peo­ple give their time up, but this has to be a show­case for Bri­tish ral­ly­ing. We’ve got the likes of Fredrik [Ahlin] com­ing over say­ing ‘what the hell is go­ing on?’ He didn’t un­der­stand. It’s very dif­fi­cult for the peo­ple at home to un­der­stand too.”

CA1 Sport boss Martin Wilkin­son added: “Bri­tish ral­ly­ing has an obli­ga­tion to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen again.”

On Satur­day evening the or­gan­is­ers is­sued a state­ment that stated: “At this stage of the event, post recce, there is noth­ing that we can do to to­mor­row’s route, within the MSA rules, that can make any dif­fer­ence to the sit­u­a­tion.”

When the crews ar­rived on Sun­day morn­ing, how­ever, the or­gan­is­ers had added three chi­canes at set junc­tions in or­der to try and slow the av­er­age speed to al­low the driv­ers to com­pete.

This forced a re­ac­tion from some driv­ers and crews as the fron­trun­ning R5 cars would be flat out in fifth gear ap­proach­ing the junc­tions. As they had been added in on Sun­day morn­ing the crews had not seen the chi­canes be­fore and had no brak­ing points marked, and no cer­tain idea of where the chi­canes would ap­pear.

James Mor­gan – nav­i­ga­tor to Tom Cave – said: “It wasn’t the pro­fes­sional thing to do. It would have been bet­ter to shorten the stages. It didn’t help that the chi­canes added in were dif­fer­ent to those seen on the recce.”

There was a feel­ing of sym­pa­thy to­wards the or­gan­is­ers who had clearly mis­judged the speed of the R5 cars. The last time a top-rank­ing cham­pi­onship ran through Kielder with up-to-date Wrc-level ma­chin­ery was the BRC in 2005. Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing sus­pen­sion and tyres, means speeds on gravel are higher than ever.

Evans (l) and Cor­mack (r) rue bo­geys Evans says prob­lem must be fixed for BRC

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