Northern Ireland’s Mark Donnelly and Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts lead Renault UK’s assault on the MSA British Manufacturers Rally Championship on this weekend’s Pirelli International Rally.
Undeterred after a high speed crash in Wales and after a huge effort by his team to repair the car, the youngster will pilot his 250HP Clio Renaultsport R3 in an attempt to emulate his stunning first round victory on February’s Rallye Sunseeker International. However, Renault’s second position in the manufacturers’ tables is not just down to one driver, as the top two cars from each of the registered marques score on every event.
It was Cumbria’s Peter Taylor, accompanied by Newcastle’s Andrew Roughead, who bagged top Renault UK points in Wales, having ably assisted Donnelly to put Renault atop the tables in Bournemouth. The affable 20 year-old should arguably arrive at the Carlisle start most refreshed, living just ten miles from the Carlisle Racecourse rally HQ.
Nick Allen could argue that he has travelled the furthest to contest the infamous Kielder Forest stages, although it has been several months since the Californian left San Francisco to take part in the 2012 British Rally Championship. Now living in the north east of England, it was he and Solihull’s Andy Bull who helped keep Renault UK’s manufacturer title hopes alive, second Renault home on round two of the BRC.
Driving a brace of Twingos, Chris Ingram and Garry Pearson might be fighting for their respective R2 and R1 Twingo Trophies, but they are keen to be involved in the fight for Manufacturers’ honours and will push as hard as they dare this weekend.
The Pirelli International Rally gets underway with a parade of cars in Carlisle City Centre this Friday (27th April) from 5pm. Drivers will be on hand from 6pm to sign autographs and the flag drops from 7pm before two evening forest stages. The bulk of the mileage takes place on Saturday, finishing around 7pm back at the rally’s headquarters at Carlisle Racecourse.