HENRY TEMP TED BACK TO BRC BY NEW CALENDAR
Fabia driver says refreshed schedule makes the series more cost-effective
Desi Henry says that a more costeffective calendar and more shared events with the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship have convinced him to return to the British Rally Championship next season, after a year out of the series.
Skoda Fabia R5 driver Henry spent his energy on the ITRC and Northern Irish championship in 2018 after taking delivery of an upgraded Skoda Fabia earlier in the year.
The BRC has dropped the Border Counties, Wales Rally GB and Rally Isle of Man, and added West Cork, Cambrian Rally and the Galloway Hills Rally to its calendar for 2019.
The BRC and ITRC now share the Ulster and the West Cork Rally, making competing in both more logical.
Cost was one of the underlying reasons why Henry made the switch this year, and says he is pleased British Rally bosses have acted on his comments.
“They have taken some very positive steps in my eyes,” Henry told Motorsport News.
“The changes mean the championship requires a budget that crews can a) get together and b) afford. It’s good to see an event with a profile like Wales Rally GB but as far as costs go, it’s beyond the working man.
“There is some crossover as well between the 2019 British and Irish Championships as both the West Cork and Ulster rallies are a counting round of both. That’s really going to appeal to a large number of competitors.
“They have listened to competitors and they have done a good job.”
Henry says he would’ve considered sticking with the Irish Tarmac series, but is frustrated by World Rally Cars fighting for overall wins when only R5s can score for the ITRC.
Of greater importance for Henry and fellow R5 drivers, though, is to allow left-hand-drive R5 cars converted to right-hand-drive to score overall points in the Irish Tarmac series.
Henry and 2013 Irish Tarmac Champion, Garry Jennings, have been two of the most high-profile figures calling for the change.
“Now is the time to try and push this through,” said Henry. “I was lucky to get into left-hand-drive early – I know nothing else. If we want to increase numbers, and give those in Group N a suitable step up to R5, then we need to pass this rule.
“The powers that be need to be more decisive. They have been promising us change for a while now and we are no further forward.
“Most are happy with the change, so let’s have it.”
Currently only homologated R5 cars can compete at the front of the BRC and ITRC. No right-hand-drive homologated R5s currently exist, making the change tricky, especially on international events.
Fabia driver has been in ITRC Henry impressed by changes