Welsh­man bullish as BRC ti­tle bat­tle reaches fever pitch

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon

Elfyn Evans be­lieves work on the DMACK as­phalt tyres and set-up of his Ford Fi­esta R5 puts him in good stead to chal­lenge for the Ul­ster Rally win on Au­gust 18/19.

Evans re­tired from the Cir­cuit of Ire­land on SS3 with a bro­ken al­ter­na­tor belt, but was fastest on all but two of the event’s stages in­clud­ing the Glens test he stopped on.

“The Cir­cuit was a fan­tas­tic rally,” ex­plained Evans. “I re­ally en­joyed it and now we’ve learned a lot with the tyres, and also the car, we’ve got a good set-up go­ing into the Ul­ster. It will be new to me, I don’t think I’ve been on those stages. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing.”

The Welsh­man holds a 45-point gap over third-placed Fredrik Ah­lin with a dropped score taken into ac­count. Tom Cave is cur­rently sec­ond, 39 points be­hind, but he has a score of eight points to discount.

After the Ul­ster, the se­ries closes on the Isle of Man from Septem­ber 15-17 where all driv­ers score dou­ble points. De­spite a sig­nif­i­cant cham­pi­onship lead, Evans be­lieves a strong fin­ish on the Ul­ster will give him cru­cial breath­ing space ahead of the Manx fi­nale where the win­ning driver will land 50 points.

“A good re­sult on the Ul­ster re­lieves a bit of pres­sure off the Isle of Man,” added Evans. “It’s a long rally, if Tom or Fredrik can win that and Ul­ster doesn’t go well for us we’ll be un­der a lot of pres­sure. We re­ally need to fin­ish Ul­ster, how­ever I’d still like to win it and we’re cer­tainly aim­ing to.”

Evans be­lieves the BRC’S points sys­tem should be ad­justed for next year as many driv­ers have been ruled out of cham­pi­onship con­tention due to not win­ning on their joker rounds.

“For me at the minute there’s too much of a gap be­tween first or sec­ond,” ex­plained Evans. “Award­ing 15 [for sec­ond] to 25 [for a win] is a big gap es­pe­cially when you look at what hap­pened on the Pirelli where we had the pace to win the rally but had a punc­ture and fin­ished third. It’s ru­ined some peo­ple’s cham­pi­onships, if you hap­pen to non-score on your joker it’s bad for your sea­son.”

BRC cham­pi­onship man­ager Iain Camp­bell con­firmed the points sys­tem is un­der re­view for 2017.

“The cham­pi­onship scor­ing sys­tem this year has been de­signed to re­ward win­ning not con­sis­tency,” said Camp­bell. “The ‘joker’ cards have pro­vided an­other talk­ing point on events but we are look­ing at op­tions of re­view­ing the value of a ‘joker’ win for 2017. It is one of the many things in the melt­ing pot for next year.”

Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Evans won on the Nicky Grist Stages

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