Plenty of Kerry interest in Saturday’s Grampian Rally – round three of the BRC
The British Rally Championship heads to north east Scotland for the third round of the series, The Grampian Forest Rally
Six classic Kincardineshire forest stages lie in wait for the BRC regulars
Two-time champion Matt Edwards aims to keep his lead of this year’s series despite unfamiliar stages
After a scintillating battle in the Welsh forests of last month’s Nicky Grist Stages, the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship makes the trip to north east Scotland for round three of series, The Grampian Forest Rally on Saturday
The Banchory based event boasts some of the finest stages in Scotland and marks the first time Britain’s premier rally championship has headed to the area since the 1980’s. Just 15 miles west of Aberdeen, the Grampian will provide crews with action-packed yet flowing gravel tests in the Durris, Fetteresso and Drumtochty forests.
None of the front-running BRC contenders have sampled the popular gravel stages before and the addition of a new event to the BRC roster is likely to unearth even more unpredictability across the BRC leaderboards. With different winners from the two events in all categories so far this season, another new name on the top step of the podium is very much a possibility.
The 2021 season has already provided intensely close competition with the asphalt of Oulton Park opening proceedings at the Neil Howard Stages providing the winning margin of just one second. The `Grist` marked the switch to gravel and was equally as thrilling, this time just a six second margin separated the leaders. With the Kincardineshire stages an unknown endeavour for the title protagonists, watch out for more fireworks than normal as crews battle for supremacy in Scotland.
Double BRC champion Matt Edwards will start the event as the number one seed, fresh from round two victory in his Pirelli-shod Volkswagen Polo GTi. With Darren Garrod on the notes, the all-Welsh pairing proved their adaptability to new machinery, taking their Melvyn Evans Motorsport run Polo to a convincing win over BRC returnee Tom Cave at the Nicky Grist.
It was enough to vault him to the top of the points standings and Edwards believes the Grampian offers up a great opportunity to capitalise on his recent win.
Two third-place finishes this season have given Osian Pryce and his Muckross co-driver Noel O’Sullivan a solid start to his year. Another newcomer to the Volkswagen Polo GTi, Pryce has matched team-mate Edwards on times on many occasions and could well stand at the top step of the podium this weekend.
In a welcome return to the BRC, four-time title holder Keith Cronin has embarked on a gravel-led campaign in a Fiesta Rally2 and took seventh spot in Wales. Killarney and District Motor Club member Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin, from Aghadoe quickly got to grips with their new Hankook tyres and could well challenge the front runners.
Round one winners Sam Moffett and Abbeyfeale’s Keith Moriarty struggled to catch the Volkswagens in Wales, but could well fight back in Scotland and they will be eager to hold onto third in the championship in their Fiesta Rally2.
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