Duggan’s BRC prize could be safe in JWRC

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

DMACK is ex­pected to an­nounce heavy in­volve­ment in the Ju­nior World Rally Cham­pi­onship this week, safe­guard­ing Rob Duggan’s prize sub­sidy in its se­ries.

Duggan – Ju­nior Bri­tish Rally cham­pion – won £60,000 to­wards a year in the Drive DMACK Tro­phy with his ti­tle win, but the DDFT isn’t ex­pected to run in the for­mat it used this year due to a po­ten­tial JWRC merge with M-sport.

More news on the out­come of the Ju­nior World Rally Cham­pi­onship is ex­pected this week. While M-sport won the ten­der and ran the cars for the Drive DMACK Tro­phy last year, it is ex­pected the DDFT will merge into the JWRC de­pend­ing on the out­come of talks with the FIA.

“Rob’s prize was half of the budget for the DDFT so to take ad­van­tage of this huge op­por­tu­nity he needs to speak with his spon­sors and raise the re­main­ing funds,” said Glenn Pat­ter­son of DMACK.

“Rob’s had a great sea­son in the BRC and this is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to take the next step and push him­self even fur­ther.”

Duggan con­firmed that a DMACKbacked JWRC would be his first op­tion, but that se­cur­ing the spon­sor­ship he needed was dif­fi­cult at this point due to a lack of de­tails to take to prospec­tive back­ers.

“We’re try­ing to do the DMACK and use the £60,000 that we won,” said Duggan. “We’re try­ing to get the money to­gether but to do that we need to know the reg­u­la­tions, how many rounds there are and things like that. Hope­fully we’ll hear more in the next week or so and we can put proper sup­port to­gether.”

Fol­low­ing the trial and adop­tion of new rally spec­ta­tor safety con­trols dur­ing 2015 in Scot­land, this year has been the first full sea­son to im­ple­ment the fi­nal ver­sion of the MSA’S new rules in­tro­duced at the start of the year.

While the new for­mat has frus­trated spec­ta­tors and me­dia per­son­nel alike, and added to the cost and work­load for rally or­gan­is­ers, com­peti­tors have been largely un­af­fected, and that is as it should be.

When mo­tor­sport was first in­vented few re­alised the compulsive at­trac­tion it would ex­ert. That in­tro­duced ad­di­tional prob­lems and chal­lenges.

Over the past two sea­sons, the Scot­tish for­est rally cham­pi­onship has tested the new pro­ce­dures and bore the brunt of new re­quire­ments with good grace and hard work. Along the way the na­tional se­ries lost the Jim Clark For­est Rally, the Mcrae Stages and the Gran­ite City, but there was good news too. A new event was in­tro­duced, the Grampian Stages, with an­other due to ap­pear next year fea­tur­ing a re­turn to the Argyll penin­sula.

It’s 40 years since the hill­sides around Dunoon echoed to the Twin Cams and BDAS of Vata­nen, Clark, Pond, Sclater, Cowan, Gal­lacher and Heg­gie, and 20 years since they last fea­tured in the na­tional se­ries.

There are more chal­lenges ahead. Forestry charges are set to in­crease over the next three years, while the choice of forests and routes is for­ever be­ing re­stricted due to other pur­suits re­quir­ing ac­cess, but there is hope that closed pub­lic roads will again be­come a re­al­ity for the sport.

This is vi­tal for the fu­ture. Cur­rently, the venues used by the Scot­tish Tar­mack Cham­pi­onship can’t ac­com­mo­date any more en­tries, so an al­ter­na­tive to forests has to be found.

The re­cent de­ci­sion by the Lord Ad­vo­cate in Scot­land [to take no le­gal ac­tion against Jim Clark or Snow­man Rally or­gan­is­ers, MN Dec 7] has pro­vided re­lief and hope, but there is much to be done.

There was even more drama on the stages this year. Garry Pear­son was on course to win his first na­tional ti­tle un­til the penul­ti­mate stage of the very last round when fate in­ter­vened. No one was more sur­prised than Jock Arm­strong, who snatched vic­tory and his sec­ond ti­tle.

There was no jus­tice ei­ther for Mike Faulkner. He fin­ished third this year, again. In the pre­vi­ous eight years he was cham­pi­onship run­ner-up four times and was third twice. So close, and yet so far away.

Most im­proved driver of the year was Don­nie Macdon­ald. A win on the open­ing round promised much, but me­chan­i­cal fail­ure on the fi­nal two events ru­ined his hopes. And there’s more, with the likes of Mark Mc­cul­loch, Alas­dair S Gra­ham, Greg Mcknight and Iain Wil­son in the wings, not to men­tion Shaun Sin­clair’s tal­ent masked by un­re­li­a­bil­ity and also John Wink, who shows po­ten­tial, while Michael Bin­nie will be worth keeping an eye on.

Next year’s cham­pi­onships face big chal­lenges, but none more so than the driv­ers and co-driv­ers.

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