Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux added his name to a spectacular list of champions last weekend, by sealing the coveted Motorsport UK British Rally Championship title with victory at Trackrod Rally Yorkshire [22 – 23 September].
The M-Sport factory ace and co-driver Alexandre Coria blitzed the opposition throughout the two-day event, returning a flawless performance behind the wheel of his Pirelli-shod Ford Fiesta Rally2 to take the overall rally win and with it, the sought-after crown which would head back to the squad’s Dovenby Hall in Cumbria for the first time since 2019.
After the opening 12-mile Dalby Forest test on Friday night, a battle was brewing between Fourmaux and his nearest championship rival Garry Pearson. Fourmaux stopped the clocks just over one second faster than the Scotsman and would need to call on all his World Rally Championship experience to extend that advantage in the daylight of Saturday.
And extend it he did, blasting through the tricky Yorkshire stages with apparent ease to win every single stage of the rally, ensuring he could scribe his name on the trophy alongside superstars such as Colin McRae, Richard Burns, Stig Blomqvist, Ari Vatanen and Elfyn Evans.
“Champions” shouted an elated Fourmaux as he lifted the famous trophy with Coria.
“What a fantastic season in the BRC and it is really nice for me to have my name alongside so many famous names on the trophy, we can be really proud of what we have done this season and I have really enjoyed coming to Britain and competing on so many different events”.
“Five wins is a nice feeling actually and the team have done such a good job on the car. We came here for time in the car and to try some new things and it has worked really well. I have really enjoyed my time in the championship and actually, it’s been a tough season, I am happy to win the trophy”.
Fourmaux has been a tour-de-force in the British Championship this season, winning every one of the events he has contested, meaning he and co-driver Alex Coria take the crown with a round to spare. Further proof, if needed that a return to Rally2 machinery could well put him in good stead for a shot at the World Rally Championship Rally1 top-flight once again in the near future.
That left second place to Pearson and co-driver Daniel Barritt who were sampling their Volkswagen Polo GTi on the gravel for the first time. Complete with a change to Pirelli rubber for the weekend, the pairing put in their best performance of the season so far, ensuring the title was within grasp should Fourmaux falter.
Keeping Fourmaux honest in the darkness of Dalby was a confidence lift but once the daylight arrived, it became a tougher prospect to match his times and despite a gallant effort, would have to take runner up spot away from the weekend.
The battle for the final podium places was less clear cut however but taking third would be Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson. Switching to Michelin for the event, Petch entered into a tussle with Tom Williams who returned to the BRC for the first time since 2021, both drivers swapping times throughout the weekend.
Some set-up changes to Williams’ and co-driver Ross Whittock’s Fiesta Rally2 helped matters on Saturday, but it was too late to catch the Skoda Fabia Rally2 driver and Petch would go on to make good use of his bonus point-inducing Joker card, with third spot and a career best BRC result to boot.
Steve Waugh had been working flat out since his Ulster Rally crash to rebuild his Fiesta R2T and his efforts were rewarded with a solid finish. The BRC4 contender, along with Mark Broadbent on the notes would ease their way back onto the gravel, having not been on the surface since March, but duly returned to Filey with a class win.
As the sole Junior BRC entry this weekend Kyle McBride and Liam McIntyre ensured they are still firmly in the title fight after taking maximum points haul in their Fiesta Rally4. A rally ending off at Rali Ceredigion meant a good score here was vital, and they duly delivered to head to the Cambrian Rally in a two-horse race with Kyle White’s Peugeot 208 Rally4. Their result also handed them their maiden Junior BRC victory.
The British Rally Championship was also able to crown another champion at the weekend, thanks to a solid performance from Northern Ireland’s Alan Carmichael in his Hyundai i20. The return to gravel saw the switch back to his trusty right-hand drive example after sampling a brand new i20 N Rally2 at Rali Ceredigion and that move proved a fruitful one, becoming a back-to-back National Rally Title Champion despite a rollercoaster of a season.
The co-driver’s crown is still up for grabs and could well be decided at the final round in Wales at the end of October.
Stuart McLaren suffered with the ruts in the Yorkshire forests thanks to being one of the last cars on the road, but would still reach the finish in Filey in his Opel Kadette GT/E. McLaren and co-driver Adam Entwhistle enjoyed a trouble-free run to secure their second National Rally Title finish of the season.
With the overall BRC and the National Rally Title decided, the focus now switches to the runners-up spots and the Junior crown at the final round of the season, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally at the end of October.