Brown races in for class ti­tle tri­umph


NIS­SAN Mi­cra Kit Car pi­lot Steve Brown rounded off his third year in the Flan­ders In­ter­na­tional Rally Chal­lenge (FIRC) in style, win­ning the com­pet­i­tive M2-B class and fin­ish­ing 58th over­all from 120 starters at the 6 Uren Van Kor­trijk Rally, bag­ging him the M2-B Class ti­tle in the process.

Brown, from Rochdale man­aged to guide his Nis­san through the treach­er­ous con­di­tions on the roads sur­round­ing the Kor­trijk rally base in the West of Flan­ders to win the hotly con­tested class, de­spite a sig­nif­i­cant power deficit to his ri­vals.

His re­sult in the rain-soaked event also means he fin­ishes the FIRC se­ries in fifth over­all, his best re­sult in the Bel­gian cham­pi­onship.

Hav­ing nar­rowly missed out on a class vic­tory in the 2015 Na­tional As­phalt Rally Cham­pi­onship, Brown and reg­u­lar co-driver Paul Stringer turned their at­ten­tion to the Bel­gian roads in 2016 to con­tinue to de­velop their skills and knowl­edge of events out­side of the UK.

A dif­fi­cult two years fol­lowed, thanks mainly to an un­de­vel­oped car, but Brown took much of last year off to up­grade the pop­u­lar Mi­cra.

With the Nis­san now up to full strength, Brown has en­joyed a suc­cess­ful third sea­son in the car and would head to the fi­nal round of the se­ries aim­ing to end the year on a high.

Heavy rain would make the closed-road stages dif­fi­cult for all crews but with Brown run­ning to­wards the lower end of the field, he would also have to deal with a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mud and gravel pulled out onto the “rac­ing line” on the cor­ners.

The open­ing stage took place on Satur­day, with the fol­low­ing thir­teen stages on Sun­day, to­talling over 80 com­pet­i­tive kilo­me­tres.

Brown stamped his author­ity firmly on the time sheets from the off, set­ting a top 30 stage time through the first test of the event.

With a long day ahead, a ten­ta­tive ap­proach was re­quired to the stages to en­sure the Nis­san stayed on the road and not end in one of the in­fa­mous Bel­gian ditches.

Not only would he have to cope with the in­clement con­di­tions, but the Mi­cra be­gan to lose wa­ter over the clos­ing stages and Brown would need to keep an eye on the tem­per­a­ture gauge in the tests.

Top­ping it up at ev­ery stage start, Brown nursed the Mi­cra through the event to se­cure his best FIRC fi­nal re­sult of his ca­reer.

“It’s al­ways nice to end the sea­son on a high and to bring the Mi­cra to a class win is a very sat­is­fy­ing end to the year,” said Brown.

“The team have worked ex­cep­tion­ally hard on de­vel­op­ing the car this year and whilst we are still about 200cc short of our class ri­vals, the other up­grades have made up for that.

“Kor­trijk was one of the tough­est events of the year and when you are run­ning down in the hun­dreds on the road, the con­di­tions were not so nice.

“But we bat­tled on re­gard­less and clearly had the pace to be out front de­spite the mud. I so have to say a huge thanks to Paul for sit­ting along­side me and all my spon­sors for all their help this sea­son.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what 2019 holds for us now.”

‘To bring the Mi­cra to a class win is a very sat­is­fy­ing way to end the year’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.