NEARLY 100 DRIVERS WILL COMPETE AT THE OPENING ROUND OF BRITISH RALLYCROSS. MULTIPLE DRIVERS ARE EXPECTED TO FIGHT FOR VICTORY IN THE 7 ROUND SEASON.
The 2021 British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy presented by Cooper Tires springs into action in just a few days time. The series has undergone a few changes ahead of the new season. It also boasts the largest entry list assembled for any rallycross event in Britain in over 5 years.
The Supercar category are set to race across a 7 round calendar spanning 5 countries. This is the first time a double header format will be used to start a British Rallycross season. It is made even odder by the fact the racing will take place on Saturday and Monday due to less noisy hours on Sundays at the Kent circuit.
29th May – Lydden Hill
31st May – Lydden Hill
10th/11th July – Mondello park
29th/30th August – Pembrey
25th/26th September – Knockhill
6th/7th November – Lydden Hill (Night racing on Saturday 6th)
4th/5th December – Spa Francorchamps
A new points format is in place for the 2021 season. Points will now be awarded in qualifying as well as continuing to be given out in the semi-finals and finals. It matches the World Rallycross Championship’s points allocation except for the final. The winner will still be given 8 points but in BRX each place down the order scores 1 less point down to 8th gaining 1 championship point. Winners of semi-finals receive 6 points and whoever top the qualifying intermediate will score 16. Each position down scores 1 fewer point. This new format would still have seen Mark Donnelly as champion with a slightly increased margin of victory. It does mean that drivers are rewarded more for attending every event rather than getting good results but missing some rounds.
The Supercar category has an 11 car entry for the opening round, though will lose a car for round 2 on Monday. Headlining the entry list is the newly crowned champion of Mark Donnelly in the GB1 car. He won the championship in his rookie season and will return to the wheel of the LD Motorsport run Citroen DS3. It was a late decision to defend his title. Even at last month’s test and media day the team were unsure if they would compete this season.
Hoping to retake the crown will be Julian Godfrey in his trusty Ford Fiesta. The aging car (and driver) shows no signs of being off the pace with the engine tuner setting the fastest lap last year. He will have no running ahead of the opening round though this is a familiar situation for the 6 time champ. The last returning champion in the field is Ollie O’Donovan. The Team RX Racing owner is currently in the process of building a new car, a Proton Iriz. This car is still undergoing preparation and will likely make its debut next time out at Mondello Park in July. It means he’ll be in his Ford Fiesta this weekend.
Julian Godfrey – “Maybe not got so much aggression now but hopefully try and be up the top there anyway and give a good run.”
Earlier this month O’Donovan reacquired his 2007 title winning car, the Peugeot 306 that was built by Will Gollop in 1994. He bought it back off of Andy Scott who will return to action this weekend. The Scotsman last raced in 2018 while his Peugeot 208 run by Albatec Racing hasn’t seen action in over 2 years. Another vice-champion returning is Derek Tohill in his Fiesta, Molly. In his debut BRX season in 2019 he scored 4 wins equal to Godfrey. He lost out on the title based on the number of second places each had scored. Tohill had been due to race in 2020 but had to cancel plans at the last minute due to travel restrictions from Ireland. The triple Irish champion will be looking to make amends, especially as he now has experience of most of the circuit.
Andy Scott – “It’s a really good potential to have some really good racing. Hopefully we can be here for the season.”
Steve Hill will once again race his Mitsubishi Evo 10. The now 71 year old showed great pace until a jump start at round 1 last season. Also returning is Welshman, Roger Thomas. Thomas brought his former GRC Ford Fiesta to the opening round. He looked set to challenge for a podium before a gearbox failure brought his race and season to a premature end. Tristan Ovenden and Mike Sellar, both in Citroen DS3s are the only other returning racers from last season. Both are running their own teams and will be aiming for strong and consistent results throughout the year.
Steve Hill – “My car suits the fastest circuits so who knows what’ll happen. I’d like to get up to Knockhill”
2 drivers will be making their Supercar debut this weekend. As prize for winning last year’s Super 1600 championship, Latvian Roberts Vitols will race a LD Motorsport prepared Citroen C4. Vitols has previously claimed titles in Latvia before winning every round last year. He has been rewarded with 2 chances to drive a Supercar this weekend. Rally driver Connor McCloskey will be teammate to O’Donovan on Saturday. McCloskey will drive a Ford Focus during round 1 before heading back to Ireland the following day. He competed in the RX150 buggies in August last year.
Roberts Vitols – “I think and hope that we can fight with frontrunners but it is hard to predict”
There are several notable absences. Sir Chris Hoy and Natalie Barratt were looking to compete in a pair of electric Supercars. They were looking to hire 2 STARD run Ford Fiesta ERX cars but have not acquired the necessary funding to hire the cars. It is currently unknown whether they will try to compete later in the season.
Both Simon Horton and Declan Kelly had signalled their intent to race at Lydden Hill. They will likely compete later in the season, Kelly almost certainly at his home event in Ireland. Kevin Procter had tested his rallycross car in April but decided against returning to British Rallycross this weekend. He will instead be taking part in the Neil Howard Stages on Monday at Oulton Park. Procter’s co-driver, Dave Bellerby will take part at Lydden Hill this weekend. He continues to race the car that is for his daughter, Drew as she has just had a baby. Andy Scott had originally entered the rally event but withdrew his entry so he could race in the BRX.
Kevin Procter – “The last year or 2 I had a lot of reliability issues which put me off it a little bit. We’ll have to wait and see.”
It is likely that we will see other drivers compete in the 2021 championship, though this will be on a round-by-round basis.
As well as the 10 categories returning from 2020, 2 new series will join the support bill this year. The organisers of the Retro Rallycross series have partnered with Elimen Racing to create the Electro Rallycross Championship. All cars will be identical Fiat 500e producing around 90kW or 120hp. 6 cars will be shared between 7 drivers that include Rob Gibson, Hal Ridge and Daniel Welch, son of former rallycrosser, John. The other new series is the All4 Mini championship. 3 Mini Countryman vehicles will compete in the new 4 wheel drive category.
Action kicks off on Saturday morning with each class set to complete practice, 3 qualifying sessions and a final, with 3 of the classes also holding semi-finals. Come Monday evening the championship will be over 1 quarter complete and we will see who is in prime position to challenge for the title.