Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Fredrik Ah­lin fea­ture, p26 Photo: M & H Pho­tog­ra­phy

Ju­nior Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship driver Meirion Evans says the pace shown by Gus Greensmith on Rally Por­tu­gal demon­strates the strength of the re­vamped BRC.

Greensmith was the fastest driver in the Drive DMACK Tro­phy in Por­tu­gal af­ter top­ping the times be­fore two front punc­tures and two drive­shaft fail­ures ruled him out. Osian Pryce, an­other BRC ex­po­nent, won the class.

The DDFT sup­ports the World Rally Cham­pi­onship pack­age and uses Ford Fi­esta R2TS, which Greensmith used to fin­ish first and sec­ond in the Ju­nior BRC ear­lier this year, be­fore be­gin­ning his DDFT cam­paign.

Evans – who also drives an R2T – said of Greensmith’s pace: “It was im­pres­sive. I thought Gus per­formed well over the week­end. OK, he’s had a test be­fore the event and he’s had seat time, he did DDFT last year but I though the oth­ers would be closer.”

Greensmith beat Nor­we­gian Sin­dre Fu­ruseth in Mid Wales – the open­ing round of the BRC – and was headed by Ir­ish­man Robert Dug­gan’s Vaux­hall Adam in Carlisle af­ter a tough event.

“In the Bri­tish se­ries [the fron­trun­ners] weren’t too far away [from Greensmith],” con­tin­ued Evans. “I think it’s en­cour­ag­ing you know you can go there and you aren’t go­ing to be a mile away. It shows the strength of that as you had prob­a­bly four or five driv­ers on the pace in the BRC, whereas in the DDFT, there was only four or five [on Greensmith’s pace].”

The prize for win­ning this year’s Ju­nior BRC is a sub­sidised drive in the DDFT.

Dug­gan leads the standings by a point over Greensmith af­ter three rounds, with Fu­ruseth 20 points fur­ther back in the ta­ble. ● Evans is hop­ing a new en­gine from M-sport Poland will re­turn him to fron­trun­ning form af­ter com­pet­ing on the last event in Carlisle with only 60 per cent of the power usu­ally on of­fer from the Fi­esta R2T. He and co-driver Jonathan Jack­son still bagged a fourth place fin­ish on the event de­spite the ail­ment.

Hurson, who won the event last year, will take to the wheel of the car that Atkin­son drove in Rally Ire­land in 2007. He up­grades to the S12B from the S10 he has driven since the be­gin­ning of 2015.

Hurson will need the up­rated car as he trails cur­rent cham­pi­onship leader and Ford Fi­esta WRC driver Roy White by 24 points.

White said: “It’s a com­pet­i­tive top 10 and Peadar [Hurson] with the new car will be a big threat, as will De­clan [Boyle], and Garry Jen­nings should he have his Subaru ready in time.”

White, who is in his first full sea­son with the Fi­esta, added: “We are mak­ing progress with the car the whole time. There are a cou­ple more things we want to try be­fore the rally. The ter­rain in Ca­van will be dif­fer­ent to what we have seen so far this year and that will be an­other el­e­ment. I haven’t driven on those roads with the new car but I’m hop­ing we can put in a good per­for­mance.”

Sand­wiched be­tween White and Hurson in the standings is Niall Maguire, who starts at car four in his Subaru Im­preza.

Eight of the cars in the top 10 seeded starters are WRC cars. The Ca­van Stages event will also fea­ture a large pro­por­tion of Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship driv­ers, who aren’t out in action in the se­ries un­til Done­gal in June. Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Martin Walsh

Hurson has re­placed his S10 Im­preza White leads 2016 points af­ter Fi­esta WRC switch

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