Tuesday 20th June 2017
The MH Motorsport Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) Cadet squad will face their toughest encounter yet, as the series heads to Belgium for the Ypres Rally this week.
The Hampshire-based preparation firm will once again field three Ford Fiesta 1.6litre R2’s in the Cadet category of the series. Designed as a stepping stone into the Junior BRC, it has been dominated so far this season by MH Motorsport’s Josh Cornwell and Richard Bliss.
But the overseas event will be the toughest event yet for each of the Cadet contestants as the difficult closed public roads in Belgium offer little room for error.
In his first full season in the sport, Alex Waterman will make his inaugural outing in mainland Europe and will be joined by Michael Gilbey in the co-drivers seat. Regular co-driver Harry Thomas will miss the event due to work commitments. Waterman has been honing his asphalt skills on several local events recently but sees no reason to treat this event any differently to any other in the championship this season.
“I think the approach for Ypres is going to be like the previous rounds, which is to get a finish and points on the board,” says Waterman.
“Rallying in Belgium is totally different from anything I’ve ever done before and will be a real challenge. But one that I am more than up for! It’s great to have Michael alongside for this and I will be looking to make the most of his WRC experience here. Since I started the BRC earlier this year this is the round I have been looking forward to the most. My dad used to do a lot of events over in Belgium and to follow in his footsteps is a real dream of mine.”
The two- day event is one of the longest in the calendar with around 250km of notoriously tricky competitive driving ahead and for MH Motorsport’s Nabila Tejpar, it brings additional challenges. Another of the team never to have competed outside of the UK, she will be joined by a new co-driver in Brian Hoy for the event.
“It’s certainly going to be a difficult event and totally different to anything I have done before,” says Tejpar. “I`ll be writing my own notes for the first time which I saw was an important part of my development this year and I`m hoping having Brian in the car with me will help with that process. I know how tough the event is so the plan is certainly just to stay out of trouble and get to the end. I`ve played the Joker for bonus points too so that makes it more important than ever. It will be an event to do my own thing on for sure”.
Championship leaders Josh Cornwell and Richard Bliss took their third win of the season at the RSAC Scottish Rally in May and are firm favourites to make it four-from-four as the series makes the move onto asphalt for the first time this year. However, the change of surface will mean Cornwell switches to relatively unfamiliar territory so will need to work hard for a fourth victory in Ypres.
“I’ve spent most of my career on gravel rallies so my experience on tar is pretty limited,” says Cornwell. “I know that this will be the toughest round of the championship for me this year. It’s not just any sealed surface rally either, the closed road stages are unique over there and nothing like what I`m used to. But we need to maintain our momentum from the first three rounds and do our best to be back out front on Saturday night”.
The Ypres Rally takes place on 23rd/24th June around the closed public roads in the Ypres region.