MSA British RallyChampionship Round One Bulldog International Rally of North Wales - 28th March 2009
· David Bogie brings new car home in fifth place· JRM-built Evolution X shows great potential · Team pleased with car's debut outing and says performance can be improved before round two
David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae brought the brand new JR Motorsports built Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X home in fifth place on this weekend's opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales.
Although many members of JRM are familiar with participation in the British Championship, Saturday's rally was a first in many respects: It was the first event for the team as JR Motorsports, the first event for the new Evo X and the first event for David in respect of his prize drive after winning last year's Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - the UK's one-make series for Group N Lancer Evolutions.
Following a successful test and shakedown earlier in the week, the team prepared the new Lancer in readiness for its BRC debut, the car appearing in striking JRM/Mitsubishi Ralliart livery.
Starting and finishing in Bala the event featured a competitive distance of 80 miles, split into three loops of two stages in the forests of North Wales. With intermittent rain throughout the day, the gravel roads proved to be more slippery than many crews had anticipated and, with this in mind, David and Kevin opted for a cautious approach to the first of the day's tests - a nine-mile run through Dyfnant Forest.
However, with the time sheets showing the team in seventh place following SS1, it appeared that their pace was a little too cautious. On inspection at the service halt following SS2 it was discovered that the car's turbo-charger was not producing the right amount of boost and therefore the engine was down on power.
Although the component was replaced as a precaution following the pre-event test, it appeared there was problem with the new unit and, although a few adjustments were made, there was not enough time for the team's technicians to change the turbo within the service time allowed.
David headed to the next two stages intending to make the most of the Evo X's impressive handling in order to compensate for the reduction in straight-line speed, a course of action he executed well - albeit with his progress punctuated by a few edgy moments. The plan proved successful, as he emerged from SS3 in fifth.
Still getting used to his new car's characteristics, the engine stalled as David went to leave the start-line of stage four, the delay costing 20 seconds and seeing his good work in SS3 undone.
At the second service halt of the day David reported that he was confident that the car's stability and speed through the corners would see him make up the lost time in the final two stages and, as others experienced problems, his prediction proved right and he crossed the finish line in Bala in a creditable fifth place.
"I'm really pleased with the way things went today and if someone had told me this morning that we would finish fifth in our first event with the new team and the new car, I would have been more than happy", said David. "It is a credit to the whole team that, apart from the unexpected turbo problem, there were no other issues at all. In fact, because of the way the car handles and the performance it showed on the test, I know there is great potential for the season ahead and I'm already looking forward to the next event."
Prior to the Bulldog Rally JR Motorsports joined forces with the Lico sponsored Mitsubishi team of Stuart Jones and co-driver Andy Bull - who finished third - to form Team JRM Lico. This two-car association means that both crews scored points for the MSA British Teams Championship and, following round one, Team JRM Lico lies second in the standings.
Following the outcome of the weekend, JR Motorsports is confident that its Evolution X has the ability to challenge for the leading positions and is intending to further develop the car in advance of round two of the British series, the Pirelli International Rally, which takes place in Kielder Forest on 17th & 18th April.
JR Motorsports' 2009 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: Oakbank Services, Exe-tc competition suspension, Lico, Opie Oils, PPG Transmissions and SJS Designs.
MSA British Rally Championship Round One Results 1 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Evolution IX) 1:20:59.7 2 Mark Higgins/Brian Thomas (Subaru Impreza) 1:21:08.7 3 Stuart Jones/Andy Bull (Mitsubishi Evolution IX) 1:23:20.3 4 Adam Gould/Sebastian Marshall (Subaru Impreza) 1:24:09.9 5 David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 1:24:30.6 6 Dave Weston Junior/Neil Shanks (Subaru Impreza) 1:24:37.7 7 Alistair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Evolution IX) 1:24:42.3 8 Jonny Greer/Anthony O'Connail (Mitsubishi Evolution IX) 1:26:06. 9 9 Tom Walster/Tim Sturla (Renault Clio) 1:28:06.9 10 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta) 1:29:42.4
Championship positions Drivers 1 Keith Cronin 20 Pts 2 Mark Higgins 18 Pts 3 Stuart Jones 16 Pts 4 Adam Gould 15 Pts 5 David Bogie 14 Pts 6 Dave Weston Jnr 13 Pts 7 Alistair Fisher 12 Pts 8 Jonny Greer 11 Pts 9 Tom Walster 10 Pts 10 Craig Breen 9 Pts
Teams TEG Sport Pirelli 36 Pts JRM Lico 33 Pts Revolution Wheels 0 Pts
The diversity and talent does not end there, however: the National Class, for younger, less experienced drivers using older chassis, promises to be no less entertaining this season. The championship's third chassis - the SLC R1 - adds spice to proceedings courtesy the Litespeed F3 team and its talented young Brazilian driver, Victor Correa, who was both a team-mate and race-winning adversary for Wayne Boyd in Formula Ford last season. He faces three Dallara-borne rivals in the shape of Russian Max Snegirev for Team West-Tec, another Brazilian, Gabriel Dias, in a T-Sport car and, for Fortec, 20-year-old Dorset driver Daniel McKenzie.
The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series enjoys the backing of US tyre manufacturer Cooper Tire and is further supported by motorsport insurance specialist AON, by Sunoco Racing Fuels and by Anglo American Oil Company.