‘DMACK threatening BRC pull-out’
‘Bogeygate’ mars Carlisle,
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