After a two month break, the 2023 British Rally Championship resumes on Friday evening with the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders. The Duns-based event marks the first of four summer tarmac rounds on the BRC calendar, before the series returns to the forests in September and October. Ballylickey driver, Keith Cronin, and his Killarney co-driver, Mikie Galvin, won last year’s Jim Clark (Cronin also triumphed in 2012), and they return this weekend with the same Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 that took them to victory twelve months ago, in a bid to make it two-in-a-row. The Irish duo currently lie second in the BRC standings behind Malcolm Wilson Rally winners, Adrien Fourmaux and Alexandre Coria.
“We had a good start on the Jim Clark in 2022”, recalls Cronin. “We had lead of eight seconds after the first stage, everything just clicked into place. Then Osian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan picked up a puncture on the second and were disqualified for running on the flat. That took some of the edge out of it. Hopefully everyone will have a good clean run this year.”.
Cronin is clear that the presence of Fourmaux represents his greatest challenge to achieving a repeat victory this weekend: “Adrien won the Malcolm Wilson Rally and leads the BRC, and he has been out on the WRC events in Mexico and Portugal since then, he actually led the WRC2 field in Portugal before he had to change a wheel. We just did a small test last week, that was my only time in the car since March. We know that M-Sport and Ford have been developing the Fiesta lately too and that work seems to be paying off for them. We’ll certainly be up against it”.
Fourmaux is seeded at No. 1, with Cronin at 2. Behind them, a trio of Fiesta pilots, Callum Black, James Williams and Elliott Payne, will also hope to capitalise on the recent Ford developments. Local driver, Garry Pearson, will be making his first appearance in the Melvyn Evans Motorsport Volkswagen Polo that carried Osian Pryce to last year’s BRC crown, and may well prove to be the dark horse.
The Jim Clark Rally will get under way at 7pm on Friday evening, with the ceremonial start taking place in Duns Square. There will follow two runs over the Longformacus stage, the second after nightfall. Saturday’s action will consist of two loops of the Edrom, Ayton and Fogo stages, with the Finish celebrations taking place back in Duns just before 2pm.
The British Rally Championship will provide live updates from the Jim Clark Rally on its facebook page, @brcrally.
Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin’s British Rally Championship campaign is supported by Molson Group, M O’Brien Group of Companies, Michelin Tyres, Keohane Seafoods, Cremin Coach & Mini Bus Hire, Inver Energy, Cronin’s Homevalue Hardware, Cronin’s Centra (Ballylickey, Leap and Union Hall) and Westlink Service Station. Their Volkswagen Polo R5 is prepared and run by Tom Gahan Motorsport.
2023 Jim Clark Rally – Timetable (First Car Due)
Friday, 26th May, 2023
Start Duns Square 19:00
Stage 1 Longformacus 1 19:21
Service Duns 20:07 – In
20:37 – Out
Stage 2 Longformacus 1 21:05
Control Duns Square 21:40
Saturday, 27th May, 2023
Re-Start Duns Square 10:00
Stage 3 Edrom 1 10:10
Stage 4 Ayton 1 10:38
Stage 5 Fogo 1 11:14
Service Duns 11:43 – In
12:13 – Out
Stage 6 Edrom 2 12:29
Stage 7 Ayton 2 12:57
Stage 8 Fogo 2 13:33
Finish Duns Square 13:49
2023 Jim Clark Rally – Top Ten Seeds
1 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria Ford Fiesta Rally 2*
2 Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin Volkswagen Polo GTi R5*
3 Callum Black/Jack Morton Ford Fiesta Rally 2*
4 James Williams/Dai Roberts Ford Fiesta Rally 2*
5 Elliot Payne/Tom Woodburn Ford Fiesta Rally 2*
6 Garry Pearson/Daniel Barritt Volkswagen Polo GTi R5*
7 Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton Volkswagen Polo GTi R5*
8 David Bogie/Kevin Rae Ford Escort RS
9 Dale Robertson/Keir Beaton Ford Fiesta Rally 2*
10 Neil Roskell/Andrew Roughead Ford Fiesta Rally 2
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