FRANCIS TAKES ON WALES RALLY GB
Welshman tackles home event in hired Mitsubishi
BTRDA championship runner-up Luke Francis will take on Wales Rally GB National, setting up a potential fight with this year’s champion Charlie Payne.
Through winning the BTRDA championship this year, Payne has a free entry to GB in his Ford Fiesta. Francis crashed his Mitsubishi Lancer E9 on the Woodpecker Rally, costing him the title.
It also meant that his car wouldn’t be ready for GB, so he and co-driver John H Roberts will campaign a similar Lancer E9 to theirs, with this one prepared by Macwhirter Motorsport.
“I’ve had to hire a car as mine’s not ready, it’s a Mcwhirter Mitsubishi,” said Francis. “It’s the same sort of spec as mine and it’s still an E9.
“I’m excited as I’m match fit, I’ve been keeping really fit at the moment. They’re really long stages, which is a bit different to what we’re used to in the BTRDA.”
The national event uses the same stages as the World Rally Championship competitors, but uses each stage only once. The drivers are also not allowed to undertake a recce and compete on safety notes.
After a tough end to the year, Francis merely wants a good finish.
“We just want to go out and have a good run,” he added. “Every time we go out and do Rally GB, we have mechanical problems. We’ve just got to have a nice run and finish the season off.”
Francis is hoping to challenge Jock Armstrong, who was the class of last year’s field before a ball joint broke on the last stage, handing the win to Mike Faulkner.
“I’ve never competed against Armstrong before. We’ve never met before and I’m looking forward to saying hello and putting some times in against him. Dylan Davies is a good friend and he’ll be there or thereabouts too. It should be fun.”
Francis was a regular winner in BTRDA this year