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Close rally title battle to be fought at Brands Hatch

Wednesday, January 18 2017

An intense Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship battle continues at Brands Hatch this Saturday (21 January), with vital points at stake in the opening event of the Kent circuit's 2017 season. Tickets for the rally are available on the gate on Saturday.

The Brands Hatch Winter Stages marks the halfway point of the MSVR-run championship, which began at Oulton Park last November and has also visited Cadwell Park and Rockingham. Following a seven-week layoff over the Christmas break, the drivers are raring to go.

The Drivers' Championship is led by Paul Swift, who took a class win at Oulton Park, and followed this up with two overall fourth place finishes. The MkII Ford Escort driver has a slim three-point advantage over the similar car of Ian Woodhouse, who is tied on points with the Renault Clio 172 Cup of Steve Quigley.

Woodhouse's co-driver Paul Rowland heads up the Co-Driver's Championship standings by two points from Peter Littlefield, who'll be sitting alongside Quigley this weekend. With third-placed Jim Smith not on the entry list for this event, Rob Hopewell will be egging on Wil Owen, who holds fifth in the driver standings, in their MkII Ford Escort.

The capacity entry of 90 cars also includes a huge variety of cars, from humble hatchbacks, classics including the Escorts and Talbot Sumbeam Lotuses, to World Rally specials, such as the Ford Escort Cosworth, Subaru Impreza and Mitsubish Evo V. There are also three Ferrari 308 Michelottos in the field, bringing an exotic feel to the occasion.

The event, which begins at 9am on Saturday morning, features eight stages that consist of sections of the Indy circuit, pitlane, paddocks, access roads and a dedicated rally stage. The competitors will blast around the venue until after dark, when the stages will be lit by headlights.

Driver's Championship top five

1, Paul Swift, 152
2, Ian Woodhouse, 149
=, Steve Quigley, 149
4, Ronald Bruce Edwards, 139
5, Wil Owen, 131

Co-Driver's Championship top five

1, Paul Rowland, 153
2, Peter Littlefield, 151
3, Jim Smith, 140
4, Rob Hopewell, 135
5, John Burton, 116

Tickets for the MGJ Engineering Winter Stage Rally at Brands Hatch on Saturday 21 January are available on the gate for £16, or £10 to 13-15 year-olds, with free entry to under-13s. For more information or to book, call 0843 453 9000 or click  here.