BRC CONFIRMS YPRES FOR 2017
Championship reveals calendar and new points system
The British Rally Championship has confirmed the Ypres Rally as one of its rounds for the 2017 season, MN can reveal.
The BRC – in its first year since a hiatus in 2015 – will keep the majority of the events seen in 2016, with Ypres replacing the Circuit of Ireland, which won’t run in 2017 due to a funding struggle.
To allow the addition of Ypres, the RSAC Scottish Rally has moved from its June date – which clashed with Ypres in 2016 – to May 19/20. Although the event is listed as two days on the calendar, it hasn’t been confirmed whether the event will move to a two-day format having run on a single day this year.
IMS chief Ben Taylor believes the addition of Ypres brings an important international element to the calendar.
“We were sorry to lose the Circuit, but I am absolutely delighted that we are able to add Ypres to the BRC calendar for next year,” said Taylor.
“Not only is it an exciting prospect for the competitors who get to take on a legendary event, but for the BRC it demonstrates an increasingly international perspective as we strive to create the best possible series for drivers from around the world.”
Ypres manager Alain Penasse – also team manager for the Hyundai WRC team – believes that the British championship is close to returning to its halcyon days of the 1980s.
“I’m a certain age that I remember in my young days where the BRC was something everyone looked up to,” said Penasse. “So for me I think the British championship can go back to that age. All the best drivers were there for a reference. You have everything in Britain for this to happen again with gravel and Tarmac. We [Ypres] can be part of that and it’s a fantastic opportunity for us.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on the British Championship this year and it appears to be a formula that is working well.”
Penasse also said that the door wasn’t closed for the European championship to visit Ypres again in 2017, despite growing discontent towards the championship by the rally organisers.
“The discussions are still ongoing,” added Penasse. “It’s clear we have a right-hand-drive car available. The car is yet to be homologated so won’t be eligible to fight with the current crop of Irish Tarmac frontrunners. This year the R5 car is the quickest eligible to score points in the series. While WRC cars can win events and compete for a WRC Cup, their drivers aren’t eligible to become Irish Tarmac Champions. “I’ve been watching the development of the car since it was launched,” said Jennings, 2013 Irish Tarmac champion. “It looks fantastic and I’ve heard some excellent reports. They say it’s great to drive but there’s really only one way to find out. “I know it’s going to be different from the WRC car I usually use, but I’m looking forward to finding out what the Mirage is like and working the team to establish a good Irish Tarmac set up, as well as helping them promote the car over here.” some concerns. We still want to be part of it but we need certain conditions or it will be very difficult. It’s still an option and discussions are still going on.”
The BRC and ERC intersected with success on the Circuit of Ireland in April this year.
In addition to the 2017 calendar, BRC heads have also released an update to its points system. The championship will move to the WRC system implemented by the FIA, which awards points to the top 10 as follows: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. The controversial ‘joker’ card will remain but with less impact. This year the card doubled the number of points scored by a driver on an event of their choosing. This created a large points rift with the drivers who won with their joker events and those who didn’t. Instead drivers will score five extra points for a win, down to one point for fifth. They will still have one joker to play per season.
The Isle of Man finale will again be worth double points, but will be scored over two legs rather than the single event.
Iain Campbell believes dialogue between the BRC and its stakeholders should help to improve the championship as it continues to grow at a fierce pace.
“Having listened to the competitors, teams, events and sponsors, we have a clear understanding of what has worked well this year,” said Campbell. “But also the increasing expectations and requirements as the championship progresses.”
Rallying is getting faster. Fact. Without doubt, the current crop of rallying’s top level machinery is the fastest we’ve ever witnessed on rally stages throughout