Pirelli UK Weekend Motorsport Round Up

Pirelli Star Driver McKenna all set for BRC bid Daniel McKenna, the Pirelli Star Driver for 2014, will get his MSA British Rally Championship bid underway on this weekend’s Pirelli Carlisle RB Foundation Rally.

Driving a Citroen DS3 R3T, the 27-year-old from Ireland will be one of the contenders for outright victory in his Pirelli-shod DGM-run entry. And he will take the start in the centre of Carlisle on Saturday morning (May 3) on a high following two confidence-building practice rallies, including last Sunday’s Monaghan Stages Rally where he won his class in third overall behind winner Sam Moffett’s Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

“I felt comfortable in the car when we tested on gravel back in February,” said McKenna. “We’ll get another test on Friday afternoon and my team DGM know what’s required in terms of the set-up because they have a lot of experience running the Citroen in the BRC, and that makes my job easier. The rallies I’ve done recently were on Tarmac but they’ve kept me sharp and hopefully we can get a good result.”

Pirelli will bring the renowned K6 and K4 gravel tyres to suit the fast forest tracks of Cumbria, with K6 being a softer compound – well suited to cool weather and mud – while K4 is a slightly harder compound. The unique tread pattern is especially designed to disperse loose gravel, stones and mud, which is what makes it especially effective on some of the most demanding stages in Britain.

The Pirelli Carlisle RB Foundation Rally marks the opening round of the 2014 BRC season. It consists of six stages on Saturday and four on Sunday over a competitive distance of 90 miles. All BRC ccompetitors use Pirelli control tyres as standard.

Thorburn extends Scottish championship lead Euan Thorburn has extended his lead of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship after scoring his second win from three events on last weekend’s Granite City Rally.

The Duns-based driver now tops the nine-round series, for which Pirelli is an official tyre supplier, by eight points after defending champion and main rival David Bogie retired his Ford Focus WRC with engine problems following the first of four long forest stages.

Fellow Focus driver Thorburn, who was co-driven by Paul Beaton, said: “There was thick fog on the first stage, so it was a real wake-up call. Then David went out and we had to manage our lead. We’ve never started the Scottish championship this well, so to have built a cushion is a real confidence boost ahead of my home event, the Jim Clark Rally.”

Jock Armstrong was second on the Aberdeen event in a Subaru Impreza, just over a minute ahead of Mike Faulkner (Mitsubishi Lancer). Fourth-placed Quintin Milne scored his 13th consecutive SRC finish to move into second in the points behind Thorburn.

Balfe is triple winner in GT Cup opener Shaun Balfe got his GT Cup Championship campaign off to a flying start by winning all three races in the opening round at Donington Park.

Pirelli supplied the tyres for the varied 33-car field, but it was Balfe in a Ferrari 458 GT3 who led from pole on each occasion to win the 37-lap feature race and two shorter 15-lap and 12-lap sprints.

Joining him on the front row of the starting grid each time was Jim Geddie in a McLaren MP4-12C GT3, and indeed he finished all three races second to Balfe. Iain Dockerill was third in race one in his Porsche 997 RSR, albeit a lap down on the leading pair, while Will Plant (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) was third in race two and Richard Chamberlain (Porsche 935) made the final step of the podium in race three.

Race two was held in damp conditions, but that did not deter Grantham driver Balfe, who also set the fastest lap on each occasion. Round two of the GT Cup takes place at the Brands Hatch GP Circuit on May 17-18.

Caudle and Cresswell are MINI frontrunners Luke Caudle was a double winner as the Power Maxed MINI Challenge season got underway at Donington Park.

The London-based Peak Performance Racing driver, who clinched the series at his first attempt in 2009, won the first two 14-lap races at Donington last weekend before losing out to Chris Knox in race three. Caudle is therefore the early series leader, 10 points ahead of Lawrence Davey who scored two seconds and a fourth in the races.

In the Cooper Class Shane Stoney got his title defence off to the best possible start by taking three wins, including the final nine-lap event which was run in wet conditions. The result means he already has a 16-point series lead ahead of Gideon Cresswell.

The next round of the Pirelli-backed series takes place at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on May 10-11.

Coming up next time: British Rally Championship and Irish Tarmac Rally Championship action.