MH Motorsport Juniors endure tough Scottish
Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) Junior front runners Oscar Solberg and Callum Devine, endured a tough weekend at the third round of the series, the RSAC Scottish Rally (19th/20th May).
The MH Motorsport Junior squad of Solberg and Devine were both in contention for category wins during the weekend, before misfortune befell both crews during the rough and tricky two-day event in Dumfries and Galloway. The duo will now look to the next round in Belgium to resume their fight for the BRC Junior title. Piloting the MH Motorsport Ford Fiesta R2T, Devine would head to the event straight off the back of losing out on the Junior win by just 0.4 of a second on the final stage of the Pirelli Rally. He was undeniably aiming to reverse that misfortune in Scotland. With regular co-driver Keith Moriarty unavailable, Devine was joined by Brian Hoy for the event and he had high hopes of taking his first Junior BRC win of the season. However, the event would not start well for the newly formed duo as Devine was hit with a double puncture in the Mount Joe test on Friday night but despite this, he ended the leg third Junior. Leg two saw Devine consolidate his overnight position and remained in third during the opening loop. The notorious Scottish stages proved hard on both cars and crews as Devine held firm his third spot until stage six when a component change at service was found to be faulty. The subsequent loss of power blighted any progress up the leader board and he crossed the ceremonial finish in Moffat in fifth. “It’s been quite an event hasn’t it” quipped Devine at the finish. “We only managed a couple of truly clean stages this weekend and those felt really good. With the punctures on Friday night and then the lack of power, I’m glad we made it to the end and pick up some valuable points for the championship. I’ll be relieved when I`m back on the asphalt though!” Solberg and co-driver Patrik Barth were in command of the BRC Junior rankings from the outset. A ninth overall fastest time on the darkness of Mount Joe on Friday night showed that Solberg meant business and the Norwegian led the category going into day two.
Oscar Solberg & Patrick Barth in action at the Scottish Rally. Image credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography
However, just two stages into the second day, Solberg’s turbo pipe became dislodged and his rally was over. “Of course, I’m very disappointed to retire from the lead” said Solberg. “We made it back to service and the team fixed the problem so we went back out for experience. We were not on the limit but still set some good times. We now have to think about the next rally”. Devine’s fifth place in the Junior category slots him into third place in the rankings with Solberg just one point behind in fourth. The championship now makes the move onto asphalt as crews head to Belgium for the Ypres Rally in June. Team principle Mike Harris believes there is much more to come from the MH Motorsport Junior team on a sealed surface. “If you look at the results for the Scottish it doesn’t paint a great picture, but look at our performance throughout the season so far and its s different story” says Harris. “We have won over half of the stages completed in the BRC this year and have led every rally so far. Oscar failing to finish is our first R2T retirement since Rally GB last year.” Harris is now focused on the next round and the move to tar. “Things like this should not happen and it’s important to learn from them rather than getting despondent" he continues. "I’m looking forwards to Ypres. I really do think we will be a driving force even though many people feel the R2T is not a good asphalt car. However we know the truth and it is quite the contrary, dont forget M-Sport Fiesta’s have a good track record on the surface. Add Oscar and Callum into that equation a bit of luck and I believe that as per the previous rounds, we will yet again be the ones to beat”. -Ends
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