It’s no secret that the UK rally scene has endured some tough times of late; the British Rally Championship was even cancelled in 2015. But this year it returned and, with more than double the entries of recent times, it’s stronger than it’s been in many years.
Ben Taylor is the managing director of International Motor Sport and responsible for both the British Rally Championship and Wales Rally GB. He says: “We all remember the days of Colin McRae and Richard Burns, when everyone was talking about rallying. Then we lost them and, in the meantime, Jenson and Lewis came along, became superstars and people stopped focusing so much on the rally world.
“But now we have in Kris Meeke a genuine contender for the 2017 WRC title, while Elfyn Evans proved this season he’s got the talent to earn a seat with a top team. Better still, we have some fantastic juniors coming through, like Osian Pryce and Chris Ingram.”
As for the reason behind the recovery of rallying in the UK, Taylor has no doubts: “By 2014, British rallying was for front-wheel-drive cars only. Actually, they were really good to drive but perhaps didn’t look that spectacular from the outside. We knew we were on to a good thing when we announced the new top class for 2016 would be for four-wheeldrive R5 cars and got three times the number of entries we expected. They look like WRC cars, are almost as fast as WRC cars in the right hands and look spectacular.”