Elfyn Evans and co-driver Craig Parry have won the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally, claiming the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship title.
Ford and DS
The DMACK British Rally Team crew continued their impressive success rate, making it four wins from six in Britain’s premier rallying series in their Ford Fiesta R5. Jonathan Greer, in a Citroen DS3 R5, equalled his season best with a smooth and controlled drive to second, whilst Scottish driver David Bogie took the final step on the podium in his Skoda Fabia R5 – making it three manufacturers in the top three.
Evans enjoyed an opening day battle with series returnee Keith Cronin and non-registered Alistair Fisher. The World Championship star struggled with tyre choice on the first day but still got the best out of his DMACK-shod Fiesta to chalk up a 4.5 second lead over a hard charging Cronin overnight. On the final day the Dolgellau-based driver showed his class as he eked out a 1:07.6 second lead over Fisher at the finish, to take the 2016 Ulster Rally spoils and with it the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship title.
Ulsterman, Greer, piloted his Pirelli-backed Citroen DS3 R5 to a fine second, equalling his season best, which he achieved on the Circuit of Ireland back in April. Greer had a trouble free run to capitalise on his ‘Joker’ nomination, doubling his points to put him in hunt for the runners up spot going into the season finale. Meanwwhile, Rhys Yates has been improving as the season has unfolded and the Michelin-supported Fiesta R5 driver took a fine seventh place at the Derry/Londonderry finish.
BRC2 Champion Matt Edwards wrapped up the title on the previous event and decided to step up to the BRC1 category for the final two rallies. Edwards set some promising times for his first run on Tarmac in the Fiesta R5 and took home two championship points with a promising ninth place in the BRC. Tarmac-ace Alex Laffey took his first outright points on the Ulster, improving on every stage to round out the top ten BRC runners.
In the DMACK Junior British Rally Championship, Vauxhall ADAM R2 driver Robert Duggan has been the man to beat all season long and the Ulster Rally was to be no exception. Duggan had waited all season to play his ‘Joker’ to double his points and he timed his decision to perfection. With Gerard Conway sat alongside, the Irish pair didn’t put a foot wrong as they led from start to finish, taking their fourth victory this season and with it the Junior BRC laurels. The pair, like Evans and Parry, have an unassailable lead in the series heading into the final round on the Isle of Man.
Behind Duggan there was an initial fight between Norwegian Sindre Furuseth and local driver Adam Bustard. The pair traded times until an inspired Furuseth, in his Renault Twingo R2, found his form to edge clear of the Ulsterman by the end of the first day. Bustard has had a troubled week as he sustained heavy damage on a local gravel rally the previous weekend. Burning the midnight oil, an inspired drive by Bustard saw the Ford Fiesta R2T driver claim his third podium position in 2016 – making it three marques of cars in the top three and highlighting the competiveness of the series.