“The BRC title race is still wide open”
It’s at this point we could potentially switch off all the lights and vacate the building. After romping to a dominant victory in Scotland, Elfyn Evans surely has one arm in the BRC victory sash? No! Thanks to the forward thinking of the BRC organisers, at the start of the year they introduced the double points finale on the Isle of Man. Bearing in mind it’s 25 points for a win, that means someone 49 points behind the series leader can still win entering the final round.
The purists among you may shiver at that thought (me included) as the best driver should win. In the same way Sebastien Ogier shouldn’t be pegged back by road conditions for the entertainment of WRC fans, a dominant Elfyn Evans shouldn’t be denied a championship if the wheels fall off on the Manx.
What it does mean is the championship is open. Next up we have the Nicky Grist Stages, which you can learn more about on these pages next week. But, in summary, it’s Rally GB gravel stages on Saturday, and some of the most testing Tarmac anywhere in the world on Epynt on Sunday. That in itself will produce fireworks and a few issues for championship frontrunners I’m sure.
Then there’s Ulster, which I’ve never heard referred to as an easy rally. A return to more northern stages won’t help out competitors either. For an asphalt event, attrition and errors are higher there than most.
With all that in mind, there’s plenty of mileage in this year’s title race in the British championship. Not only could the Nicky Grist and Ulster throw up some shocks, but the Isle of Man provides that last chance saloon.
You can bet that the BRC frontrunners will also be pushing like crazy if the rumoured entries of Mads Ostberg and Kevin Abbring materialise. No one will want to be given a hiding by two drivers who haven’t competed in their championship all year.
Remember 1997? It may be 19 years ago but it stands as one of the best finales in BRC history. Alister Mcrae, Martin Rowe and Mark Higgins all stood a chance of title honours, and guess where it happened? That’s right – the Manx.
Mcrae crashed out relatively early, while Higgins also had an off late on. But he recovered to score enough points from second place, while all Rowe could do was give the Renault Megane a thumping victory.
That year also featured an Ulster-manx combo to finish. If this year’s championship mirrors the closeness and the epic battles of 1997, we couldn’t ask for much more.