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Capacity entry for Brands Hatch stage rally this January

Monday, January 09 2017

A capacity entry of 90 cars will contest the MGJ Engineering Winter Stages Rally at Brands Hatch on Saturday 21 January and the provisional entry list includes a wide variety of classics, hatchbacks and rally specials, all competing for the MSVR-run Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship.

The classic rear-wheel-drive Ford Escorts of the late 1960s and 70s remain a hugely popular choice, and the small saloon's penchant for oversteer also makes it a firm favourite with fans. Over 20 have been entered for the event, making up a quarter of the entry. The MkII model outnumbers its predecessor, but from the latter there are four of the famous Mexico editions, which should be sure-fire crowd-pleasers.

The Escort's biggest rival in its latter years was the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, a rare rear-wheel-drive hatchback that benefitted from a series of performance modifications from the Norfolk-based sportscar marque. Four Sunbeams will take to the stages this month, recalling the glory years of the early 80s.

Ford's rallying heritage is also represented with the Escort Cosworth, which was as recognisable on the streets of the UK as it was in the forests with its outrageous bodykit that at one stage included a whale-tail spoiler. Two of these appear on the provisional list as well as four Subaru Imprezas and a Mitsubishi Evo V that rivalled the fast Ford in the affections of rally fans.

French favourites include the Peugeot 205 Rallye special edition from the 1980s, a stripped-back version of the classic hatchback built for competition, plus the 306 Maxi from the following decade. From more recent times there's a Citroen DS3 R3 Max from when Peugeot's stablemate ruled the stages in the first decade of the current century.

The most unusual entries for the event, however, hail from Italy's legendary Ferrari marque. Despite being better known for its circuit-based exploits, tuning firm Michelotto introduced it to the stages by preparing the 308 model for rallying's Group 4 regulations. One of these will be driven by Michelotto builder Kevin Jones, and there's another two, including one for his son Lee, who previously navigated for Jones Sr.

The cars will compete on eight stages, which will be formed from the Indy circuit, pits, paddock, access roads and the venue's dedicated rally stage. The event will run from 9am until after dusk, adding an additional challenge for the drivers.

Click here to view the current provisional entry list - note that this may change prior to the event.

Tickets for the MGJ Engineering Winter Stage Rally at Brands Hatch on Saturday 21 January are now on sale for just £12, or £8 to 13-15 year-olds, with free entry to under-13s. For more information or to book, call 0843 453 9000 or click   here.