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Monday, 27 February 2017

Rhys Yates bags new sponsors for Prestone MSA British Rally Championship season.

Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography

After a successful debut in last year’s MSA British Rally Championship, Chesterfield rally ace Rhys Yates has secured backing from a raft of UK businesses in support of his assault on the series in 2017.

As title sponsor of Yates’ driving career since he began back in 2013 Brettex Site Services will return once again in 2017 ensuring the popular Brettex livery can remain on the Ford Fiesta R5 for the coming season.  Fondly known and Team Brettex, the small family run outfit will run the car for a second season and will be joined by experienced co driver Carl Williamson.

Tyre giant Michelin will also support Yates throughout his BRC campaign after supporting him in 2016.  The performance arm of the French manufacturer also supplies the control tyre for the World Rally Championship, enabling the firm to create arguably the best competition tyres in use today.

British race wear manufacturer Zenith Racing is a welcome newcomer to the team. Providing bespoke motorsport apparel to drivers in both racing and rallying, they are one of the fastest growing companies in the business and are the choice of many British Touring Car and British Rally Championship drivers.  They are complimented by Simpson Racing products who re-join the team after supporting Yates last year.

Another new-for-2017 supporter is the UK’s leading independent supplier and fitter of tyres in the UK, Protyre Motorsport.  A familiar sight on race circuits around the world, the Hampshire firm will support Yates throughout his competitive season in the BRC.

Jordan Road Surfacing also becomes a partner this year. The Newark based civil engineering firm have a long standing connection with rallying thanks to owner Barry Jordan. Jordan is also a regular competitor on events throughout the UK in his immaculate Hillman Avenger.

Yates is certainly proud of the backing he has for the forthcoming season.
“It’s a real honour to have names such as Michelin, Simpson and Zenith Racing supporting my rallying career” he says.

“Just a few years ago I was riding in the British Moto X Championship and now I am knocking on the door of my second season in the BRC.  The support I have this year certainly shows how far I have progressed and having Protyre Motorsport and Jordan Road Surfacing joining the team will certainly give my chances a boost this year."

“I was a little unlucky last season and everything didn’t quite come together like I would have hoped. But when it did, the pace was undoubtedly there and thanks to the support of our backers this year, I`m confident that we will be a front running team in the championship.”

Yates is also supported in 2017 by H&F, PES, Maun Motors, MFA, Calow Lane MOT Centre, The Mobility Shop, Glazebrook Transport, Woodleigh Motor Sales, Juice Motorsport and Clear Edge Filtration Group.



  • China F4 podium finisher Cao joins Lundqvist and Massaad at Double R.
  • Multiple Chinese karting champion set for UK debut in Ford EcoBoost-powered series.
  • Double R’s 2017 line-up completed with six weeks to go until season start.
Chinese racing driver Zhuo ‘Daniel’ Cao will make his UK track debut in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, having now been confirmed as Double R Racing’s third signing for 2017 – completing the Woking squad’s full line-up.

The 15-year-old joins Linus Lundqvist and Karl Massaad in Double R’s three car entry for the new campaign. The squad intends to build on its strong race-winning season last year, which saw Australia’s Zane Goddard claim four victories and multiple podiums.

Cao made his ‘official’ F4 British Championship test debut last week at Brands Hatch where he joined his two new team-mates and a host of 2017’s British F4 drivers. Completing just shy of 170 laps, the teenager – one of the youngest drivers in the category – ended the day just a few tenths outside the top 15.

“It’s fantastic to complete our British F4 line-up with plenty of time left before the start of the season. We’re all looking forward to working with Daniel this year,” commented Double R team boss Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt.

“He’s still very young and has a lot to learn, but he’s enjoyed some great success in karting and on his debut in Chinese F4 last year so there’s a lot to build on.”

Cao started out in karts at the tender age of six in 2008 and went on to claim his first title in 2011, winning the China CKC Junior Karting Championship. He then graduated to the senior ranks the following year, ending the campaign as vice-champion.

Branching out into Japan Rotax Junior and Asia Rotax Junior, finishing third overall in both categories in 2013; Cao travelled to Europe to compete in the WSK Belgian GP Academy and WSK German GP Junior at 12-years-of-age.

His second title came in 2015 after winning the Japan Rotax Junior Championship, and he swiftly made it a hat-trick of championship victories last year with back-to-back title success in Rotax Junior through a successful defence of his crown.

Going on to make his debut in cars during the season finale of the 2016 China F4 Championship at Zhuhai last November, Cao made an immediate impression with two third place podium finishes from three races contested.

“I’m very happy to be making my UK debut in British F4 with a team as experienced and high profile as Double R,” said Cao.

“There’s a lot for me to learn, the car and the circuits, but I’m sure it’s going to be a great season and I’m really looking forward to it. Everyone knows how tough the championship is, with a lot of quick drivers, but I’m hoping to make strong progress as the season unfolds.”

The inaugural rounds of the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA - powered by Ford will take place at Brands Hatch Indy circuit over the weekend of 1-2 April, 2017. The UK’s most competitive single-seater series will once again star on the live-televised TOCA package alongside the ever-popular BTCC.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Class battles reign on the Snowman Rally

Iain Wilson & Callum Atkinson - Subaru Impreza - Image credit: Lindsay Photo Sport

Scottish rally championship season gets underway with battles across the 100 strong field

David Bogie and Kevin Rae kick-started the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) last weekend with their third victory on the Inverness based Arnold Clark Jury’s Inn Snowman Rally.

The Skoda Fabia R5 crew may have taken the overall spoils, but there were plenty of class battles across the 100 strong field, as the SRC was welcomed to the event with unseasonably warm conditions in the Highland forests.

Sauchen crew Neil Coalter and Hannah Cessford took a dominant class one victory in their Suzuki Ignis, taking 33rd overall ahead of Steven Crockett’s Peugeot 205 and Stephen Fraser’s rare British Leyland Mini.

Neil Coalter & Hannah Cessford - Suzuki Ignis - Image: Lindsay Photo Sport

Andy Chalmers took the start of the Snowman back at the wheel of a Peugeot 205 GTI having rallied an Escort Mk2 last year and duly won the class two battle in Inverness with co-driver Martin MacCabe alongside. Chalmers beat class-regulars Robbie Beattie and David Findlay by 41 seconds with David McLoughlin making it a trio of 205’s on the class podium in third with co-driver Graham Robertson.

Class three saw one of the hottest battles of the weekend between young Irish driver Marty Gallagher and reigning SRC Junior Champion Thomas Gray. The Peugeot 208 R2 pilot would ultimately keep the advantage he held right from the first stage, but Gray in his Fiesta R2 certainly kept the Junior British Rally Championship driver honest, finishing just one second behind at the finish.

His determination and front running pace came after a season ending crash during last year’s Mull Rally. His drive during the event was enough to see the Muir of Ord driver awarded the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award for the Snowman rally. Drummuir driver Alex Pirie completed the class podium in his Citroen C2.

Ullapool duo Fraser MacNicol and Keith Boa guided their Ford Escort Mk2 to the class four victory, over a minute ahead of the sister car of Paddy and Chris Munro. Scott McQueen and Andrew MacKinnon took third in class in their 205.

Defending historic class champions (class five) Ian and Sandy Milne were once again first to finish on the opening round of the 2017 season. The Brechin crew brought their Escort home 47th overall ahead of local duo Michael McKain and Ryan Dunbar in their Ford Anglia.

Class six belonged to Luke McLaren on the Snowman as the Blanefield driver continues to make progress in his little Ford Fiesta. McLaren, with Phil Kenny in the co-driver’s seat, beat Michael Renton and Kenny Foggo’s Peugeot 306 GTI home, who in turn finished ahead of Kevin Gray and Daniel Christie who had a good day out in “Bumblebee” the Astra.

Luke McLaren & Phil Kenny - Ford Fiesta - Image: Lindsay Photo Sport

Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford finished as top 2WD runner in their Escort Mk2, scooping up the class seven and Scottish 2WD honours in 20th overall. Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross brought their similar car home second in class, with Steven Ronaldson and Gordon Chalmers finishing in third.

Former Scottish Rally Champion Ken Wood took his ultra-rare Triumph Dolomite Sprint to first in class 8 with co-driver Gordon Wood. The pair finished five places higher overall than their class rivals Colin Campbell and Josh Paterson in the Ford Sierra.

There were no finishers in the class nine, Group N category, after sole entrant and previous class champion Fraser Wilson left the road on SS4 in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Wilson and co-driver Craig Wallace were running 20th overall before the incident.

Class ten was won by Dalbeattie pilot Iain Wilson with his new co-driver Callum Atkinson aboard the Subaru Impreza. Wilson had an impressive outing, finishing 14th overall and claiming the SRC Challengers victory in the process. Simon Hay and Calum Jaffray were not far behind in their Mitsubishi Evo VI finishing one place behind.  Scottish Borders crew Ian Baumgart (Hawick) and Mike Dickson (Galashiels) grabbed third in class and 19th overall in their Subaru.

Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe powered their recently rebuilt Subaru Impreza to the class 11 win on the opening round of the season. The Castle Douglas driver finished just two seconds away from the podium in fourth overall. Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts took second in class and sixth overall, edging out the impressive Steven Clark and Paul Brown in the final stage to finish a mere two seconds ahead at the finish.

Jock Armstrong & Paula Swinscoe - Subaru Impreza - Image: Lindsay Photo Sport

David Bogie and Kevin Rae took the class 12 spoils courtesy of their outright win in Inverness. Shaun Sinclair and Jamie Edwards signalled their intent for the year ahead with a strong second place in the Subaru Impreza S14 WRC, ahead of Euan Thorburn and local man Paul Beaton who were easing themselves into the new Fiesta R5 the Duns driver acquired for 2017.

Colin Baxter and Donald John Campbell took the first Cup victory of 2017 on the Snowman rally, finishing 32nd overall. Michael Robertson and Gary McDonald came home in second, with both crews receiving vouchers courtesy of the Subaru Cup’s sponsor, Used Car Parts.

The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship comprises of seven forest events across Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles. The next round of the championship is the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally, Jedburgh, in under four weeks’ time (18th March).

The SRC is partnered by Pirelli, Reis Motorsport Insurance and Coltel Communications.

You can keep up to date with the SRC via the website or through Facebook andTwitter using the #SRC17.

Full results from the Arnold Clark Jury’s Inn Snowman Rally can be found

Marty Gallagher & Dean O'Sullivan - Peugeot 208 R2 - Image: Lindsay Photo Sport

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


Britain’s Guy Wilks has confirmed he will enter all 12 rounds of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy at the wheel of a Volkswagen RX Polo Supercar.  Wilks – a two-time British Rally Champion and ex-WRC driver – will compete in Johan Kristoffersson’s old Supercar, the same vehicle which helped the Swede finish runner-up in last year’s drivers’ standings.
Wilks has previously competed in five World RX events (Lydden Hill 2015 and 2016, France, Barcelona and Latvia). In 2015, the Englishman reached the final at World RX of Great Britain but was denied a podium spot due to a puncture.
“To get an opportunity to do a full World Championship is something I've always wished for,” explained an elated Wilks, who will enter as an independent entry and be backed by energy drink LOCO.  
The 36-year-old added: “To compete in a car that finished second in the Championship last year adds pressure but is the ingredient that can make it realistic for me mix it at the top, even though the bar in World RX is getting raised year on year. I want to thank LOCO energy drink and Marc Blackburn for this opportunity - he saw me drive at Lydden and Loheac in 2015 and believed in me from the start. I'm going to give it absolutely everything to prove his beliefs and also my own and we want to put ourselves up against the best. There's still a lot of work to do but 2017 is going to be an awesome journey!”
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Guy is very familiar with rallycross – he’s regularly commentated alongside Andrew Coley on our TV show.  There’s no denying he’s a talent behind the wheel and proved this when he reached the final on his RX debut at Lydden Hill back in 2015.”
LOCO will also back World RX driver Janis Baumanis, who yesterday confirmed he will drive for the all-new STARD team. The Latvian explained: “There are lots of great things going on in our World RX activities before the season starts. We have our partnership with Manfred Stohl and his STARD team and now I am glad to announce that I have got a new and very important sponsor, LOCO. Together we will aim to reach the highest level in the sport.”