Pirelli International Rally – 23/24 April 2010
Swift Fins favourite, but Manxman ready to fight
A dominant display of driving on the opening round of the 2010 Swift Sport Cup means that the favourite for victory on the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, the Pirelli International Rally, must be Finnish duo Mikko Pajunen and Janne Perälä.
However David Harrison and John Connor, the only other crew contesting the Suzuki based one-make championship, had a serious wake-up call in Wales in March and will certainly not want to be caught out again on the Cumbrian event.
There are still some difficulties for the Fins to overcome before the start in Carlisle on Friday though, the dust cloud from the erupting Icelandic volcano meaning a long drive and ferry crossing, as flights into UK air space remain disrupted.
However Manxman Harrison should have no such problems crossing the Irish Sea, so he and his Midlands-based co-driver will take advantage of a relaxed recce of the stages, both having contested the event in previous years. Like Harrison, Connor has made the step up from the BRC’s support series, the BRC Challenge combined youth and experience making a successful new partnership for 2010.
Pajunen and Perälä are contesting their first season in the UK, so each event is a new experience, but judging by their pace on Bulldog Rally North Wales, the Swifts will be worth watching in the forests of Kershope and Kielder on Friday and Saturday.
PIRELLI INTERNATIONAL RALLY
The Pirelli International Rally is based entirely at the Carlisle Racecourse from where it starts at 18.30, heading out for three stages in Kershope Forest. The event re-starts at 07.00 on Saturday with three loops of three stages, before returning to Carlisle for the ceremonial finish just before 19.00.
For more information on the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship’s Swift Sport Cup visitwww.swiftsportcup.com