MH Motorsport aim for glory in Ulster
Hampshire rally team have high hopes of victory at the penultimate round of the British Rally Championship in Northern Ireland British rally team MH Motorsport will field a four car squad at this weekend’s Ulster Rally (18th/19th August) and will be hoping to take victory in both the Junior and Cadet category of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC). After five rounds of the series, Junior BRC front runners Oscar Solberg and Patrik Barth find themselves in fifth place in the standings thanks to an unlucky exit from the Nicky Grist Stages in July. Whilst it’s a tall order, mathematically the Norwegian son of WRC ace Henning has an outside chance at the title and will head to Northern Ireland with nothing but a win in mind. The Ulster Rally takes place on the closed public roads surrounding the Londonderry base and despite asphalt not being Solberg’s preferred surface, the Ford Fiesta 1.0litre R2T ace believes he has the pace to head the pack this weekend. “Of course I am more at home on gravel but we showed in Ypres Rally that we can be at the front” he says. “I have lots or asphalt experience from the DRIVE DMACK WRC Trophy last year but Ireland will be a new challenge for me. We need a good set up and good notes. If we have that then the car is capable and so am I”. The Cadet Cup has been a different story for the MH Motorsport team and has been dominated largely by Josh Cornwell and Richard Bliss. However, Alex Watermanand Harry Thomas showed a sign of things to come with a Cadet victory at the last round in Wales and despite the duo contesting only their first season in the sport, returned a mature drive to bring them back into the title chase. Waterman remains open minded as to his chances in Northern Ireland.
“We have never been to Ireland before to rally and so the Irish lanes are completely new to both Harry and I” he says. “Ulster is a whole challenge in itself however I have opted to play my joker so we will look to learn as quickly as we can on recce as well as the Friday night to see where we can push on Saturday. We are making sure we don't get out of our depth with our win at the Nicky Grist as we have to remember this is still our first year in the sport; however we have a lot of confidence coming to Ulster and will be looking for the best result possible with championship points on our minds.” With the Cadet category providing the opportunity for progressive youngsters to hone their skills in older specification R2 cars, the series was always set to provide close competition this season. The ever-improving Nabila Tejpar took her first ever Cadet podium last time out and her third position in the standings is a testament to her consistency.
“I’ve said all year long that I just want to learn as much as possible this season and if you look at the times on the last round, I’m well ahead of where I was on the Border Counties in March” says Tejpar. “Richard Bliss will be co-driving for this one and hopefully he can help push me on even more in Ulster. My Nicky Grist Stages podium was pretty satisfying so I really want to see if I can repeat that this time around. It will be hard rally but I have been looking back on last year to see where I can gain some time on the stages so progression will be the aim once again”. With four wins from five under his belt, Josh Cornwell heads to Ulster with the greatest chance of sealing the title but needs to finish well if he is to claim the honours with one round to go.
“It was unfortunate not to take the title at the Nicky Grist Stages but that was our first retirement from a leg all year and we still managed to use super rally so I can’t complain too much” says Cornwell. “Ulster provides a big challenge and it’s really easy to get caught out there so I`ll just do my own thing like I have done all year; consistency will be key. Tom Woodburn joins me for this one so I`ll call on his experience to ensure the pace notes are as accurate as possible.” The Ulster Rally offers over 130 miles of closed public roads surrounding Londonderry. Friday 18th August sees crews contest a handful of stages under the cover of darkness before the remainder of the rally takes place during Sunday.
-Ends All images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography Catch up with all the latest news on their social media feeds: www.facebook.com/mhmotorsportuk www.twitter.com/mh_motorsport