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Huge entry set to contest Brands Hatch season-opening rally

Thursday, January 18 2018

The 2018 season gets underway at Brands Hatch this Saturday (20 January), when a packed entry will contest the MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Winter Stage Rally.

The entry has attracted a truly staggering array of cars, with everything from the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus of Mike Taylor and Martin Haggett, to modern examples of the Mistubishi Evo and the ever-popular Subaru Imprezas. Then there is the strong contingent of rear-wheel-drive Ford Escorts, renowned for their sideways attitude to cornering, whilst the Michelotto Ferrari 308s of Kevin Jones, Lee Jones and Neil McMahon will be a rare treat indeed.

The crews will also be competing for the MSVR-run Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship. Now in its third season, the championship has established itself as hugely competitive one, with a wealth of drivers across several classes. The Brands Hatch event comes hot on the heels of rallies at Oulton Park, Cadwell Park and Knockhill, and the title is set to be decided later in the spring with a return visit to the Lincolnshire venue.

The championship is currently headed by the Peugeot 306 Maxi of Chris West, who leads the standings heading into Brands, following a near perfect start to the season so far. West leads the points from fellow Class D1 entrant Alan Kirkaldy, and there is a similar picture atop the co-driver standings, with West's right-hand-man Keith Hounslow topping the table. Click here to download the entry list.

This weekend's rally will incorporate sections of the Indy circuit, venue access roads, paddock, and the dedicated rally stage at the far end of the outer paddock, behind Hailwood Hill. There are eight stages in total, and the first car will take to the opening stage of the day at approximately 9am, with running expected to continue pretty much non-stop until late afternoon, when the stages will be lit with blazing headlights and flaming exhausts. Click here to download the stage maps.

Between stages, the cars will return to the service area along Colin Chapman Way for adjustments and, in some cases, serious maintenance. Visitors are welcome to watch this spectacle before heading back to the spectator banks, or the free-of-charge Pit Straight and Hailwoods grandstands for more rally action.

Tickets for the MGJ Engineering Winter Stage Rally at Brands Hatch on Saturday 20 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.