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  • Writer's pictureDrew Bentham

Wishlist Checked - BRC 2024

Probite BRC

There's a lot to be cheerful for in British Rallying right now, and things have never looked so good. It seems like someone was listening after all. From a championship that had fallen into the shadows with no sign of a return, Motorsport UK and the championship organisers have worked hard to add back the spice of its former years. We as the fans can no longer lament over the old days of the 80's and 90's, for in 2024 the British Rally Championship is right back where it belongs. On Top!

Of the many changes to happen, the first came from Wales and Ralli Ceredigion back in November last year. The championship had not long been claimed when the organisers announced that this years rally would not just be back but will form part of the prestigious European Rally Championship too. Great! The world would be watching at least one of the British rounds via the Rally TV app, bringing with it a huge boost to the local economy. Good News indeed as I'm sure the commentators will be waxing lyrical about the Welsh event and British Rallying alike. That will be a big weekend.

A month earlier the championship got a new sponsor in Probite brakes, who have invested heavily into promotion on many British Rallying series. That level of support is great to see and ensures much needed stability across those championships. No doubt this new deal helped to secure what was to come.

Only a few weeks into the new year and another announcement. Stellantis group (Citroen/Peugeot et al) announced The Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup. A manufacturer supported series offering a €75,000 prize fund and a supported drive in the 2025 FIA Junior European Rally Championship (Junior ERC) for the leading young driver. Open to all ages, the Cup will offer €6,000 of prize money in each round, with €3,000 going to the highest-placed competitor in every event. The second place receives €1,750, third €750, fourth €500 and fifth receives one tyre from control tyre provider Michelin. A manufacturer supporting the British championship?? Oh my.

Just 4 days later, the BRC dropped the biggest news in years. In what is a very tricky environment for motorsport, The BRC announced that the series would receive full TV coverage in the form of an hour highlights slot on primetime ITV4, with repeats and available on the ITVX streaming platform. The channel will broadcast to the drama from the stages to a national audience, nay international for the first time since 2018. Once again and finally, the sport will have the potential to reach not just the existing fan base but a potential whole new audience, helping to cement its future but also will raise the platform of those drivers in the series, maybe even making heroes of some.

This isn't just great for the fans though. As a direct result of this monumental step forwards, the series has exponentially become more attractive. As if proof was needed, after BRC regular Elliott Payne dropped his new ride along with his intension to compete, there followed 2 other major contenders for this years crown. Having already set his sights on the Irish Tarmac Championship, 4-time winner Keith Cronin couldn't resist the challenge, and coverage, of the British crown.

Another big name lining up on the start line will be Manchester's Chris Ingram. He had started the year with his sights on the WRC2 and entered the Monte, unfortunately falling foul in the icy conditions. One of Britain’s brightest rallying talents, Ingram has been drawn back to the BRC for 2024 co-driven by Alex Kihurani. On the BRC website he said

Chris Ingram
The BRC will provide more return on investment than competing in WRC2 as a privateer. With the BRC gaining momentum, featuring exciting new events, national television coverage, and top-tier competition, the choice is clear.
My intention is to return to WRC2 stronger, later in the year, once we have established solid foundations for the future.

Max McRae

The latest in this whirlwind recovery is the news that MSport will return to the stages, though thankfully not with a sole WRC driver at the wheel this time. As great as it was to have Adrien in the series, the result was inevitable. This year MSport will help bring back a name to the series, a name that is quintessentially British rallying. The McRae name is back. Max McRae, son of Alistair, will initially compete on four rounds of the BRC in the aim to develop and hone his skills in the Fiesta Rally2, solidifying his step up into the championship’s top-flight. Fighting in a highly competitive entry in 2024, McRae will partner with British co-driver Cameron Fair and the pair will look to find their feet amongst more experienced drivers as they increase their knowledge and speed over the course of the season.

Gary Pearson

Gary Pearson will take on his third full BRC season with M-Sport. He will continue his partnership with highly experienced co-driver, Daniel Barritt, as the pair take on the rest of the BRC field. To prepare for the season ahead, Pearson will participate in M-Sport’s local Malcolm Wilson Rally, to begin to re-familiarise himself with the latest specification Fiesta Rally2.

The first event in the calendar is the Legend Fires North West Stages on March 22. Still lots of time to manifest something else. Now, what else was on the wishlist?

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