Rally Team News
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The two-car Culina Palletforce Racing team is set to contest the 2013 MSA Brittish Rally Chapionship (BRC).
MSA Team UK driver John MacCrone will spearhead the attach and is joined by experienced Welsh co-driver, Phil Pugh.
The second car will be crewed by Carlise ace, Peter Taylor with co-driver Andrew Roughead from Newcastle calling the pacenotes.
Both crews will drive identical Citroen DS3 R3 rally cars.
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Drivers Set For Borders Battle on Jim Clark Rally
After a solid start to the 2013 MSA British Rally Championship on gravel in Cumbria, the Culina Palletforce Racing team switches to Tarmac for round two at the Jim Clark Rally next weekend.
Famed for being the only closed public road rally on mainland UK, the event will see both team crews race along the fast country lanes around Kelso and Duns in the Scottish Borders.
Named in memory of double Formula One world champion Jim Clark, Scotland's biggest motor rally event will host over 300 cars and crews, across a variety of modern and historic categories, when the action kicks off next Friday.
But, for the Culina Palletforce Racing drivers, the event has got somewhat of a local feel – even though both have extremely limited experience of their CA1 Sport Citroen DS3 rally cars on sealed surfaces. For Scot John MacCrone, the stages bear some resemblance to the Tarmac lanes around his home on the Isle of Mull and he acknowledges that it's his preferred surface.
However, the MSA Team UK driver, who is partnered by experienced co-driver Phil Pugh, has never turned a wheel on his new DS3 in asphalt competition and will be at a distinct disadvantage when the rally roars into action on Friday 31 May. Twenty-three-year-old MacCrone has tackled the Jim Clark twice before, in 2010 and 2011, and will start the event with a renewed confidence after setting fastest time on the last stage of round one in Carlisle.
Despite dropping to 13th overall after losing three minutes with a puncture, MacCrone powered back to fifth overall on his debut for the team at the Pirelli Richard Burns Foundation Rally.
Team-mate Peter Taylor from Carlisle, however, is also on home turf. Although he's from across the border, Taylor's family-run holiday park at Lilliardsedge is just down the road from the rally base at Kelso and he's pretty familiar with the special stages.
The 21-year-old tackled the Manx National Rally two weeks ago to get some important asphalt mileage in his Telford's Citroen DS3 and, alongside co-driver Andrew Roughead, the pair will be pushing to improve on their seventh overall finish from round one.
Next weekend's event, which is characterised by smooth roads, fast lanes and flowing stages, is also a round of the one-make Citroen Racing Trophy. But it's also an event that can bite back pretty quickly. The high-speed jumps can easily pitch a car off the road and the stages become ultra-slippery once it starts to rain.
Super Season Start For Culina Palletforce Racing
The newly-formed Culina Palletforce Racing team made a solid start on the opening event of its 2013 MSA British Rally Championship campaign when both team drivers completed the Pirelli Richard Burns Foundation Rally today in Carlisle.
John MacCrone led the way with a fantastic fifth overall after setting his, and the team's, first fastest stage time on the last test to jump two places on the leaderboard. He was followed home by Peter Taylor in a super seventh place after the 77-mile, two-day event through Kielder Forest.
The Pirelli Rally was a tough way to kick off the new season. Not only are the super high-speed stages some of the fastest and most ferocious in the series but, for both team drivers, it was their first competitive outings in the new CA1 Sport-prepared Citroen DS3 rally cars.
The gravel special stages across Kielder are renowned for their ability to catch out unwary drivers and their deep ditches lie in wait for anyone pushing too hard.
Speedy Scot MacCrone, however, was also competing for the first time with new co-driver, and former British rally champion, Phil Pugh. They were quick right from the off and matched times with the top British crews on the opening tests. But a puncture on stage five on Saturday slowed their challenge when they lost over three minutes to the other drivers and dropped back to 14th place.
However, 23-year-old MacCrone powered his way through today's four gravel stages in Kershope forest on the hunt for a top-ten finish. He set two second fastest times and went quickest overall on the final 9.66 mile dash through Glen Dhu to leapfrog his way up the leaderboard – jumping an incredible seven places and finishing the event in fifth overall.
Scot John MacCrone targets British rally title
Scots rally ace John MacCrone takes his first step this weekend to lift the coveted British Rally Championship. The 23-year-old from the Isle of Mull is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Scots, Colin, Alister and Jimmy McRae, and David Bogie, all former British champs.
MacCrone heads into the wilds of the Kielder Forest, along with 90 other crews, to tackle the opening round of the championship, the Carlisle-based Pirelli International.
After an impressive season last year in the World Rally Championship Academy, where he bagged a couple of podiums and a series of fastest times, MacCrone is up for the challenge.
"I remember when I was younger saying to myself that I would like to at least try and win the British Rally Championship, like Colin did," MacCrone admitted.
"I'm now in the right position to do that. I'm in the right car, have a good team, and experienced co-driver. "It's obviously too early to make predictions and say I'm going to win it, but obviously that's the aim."
MacCrone will lead the Culina Palletforce Racing team, which will also run Carlisle's Peter Taylor, in his all-new Citroen DS3 R3.
And the Scot also has a new co-driver, the immensely experienced Welshman, Phil Pugh. "Phil has obviously been there, done it: he's got loads of experience," MacCrone explained, "and it's great for my confidence. We've been working well together in testing: now we just need to do it on the Pirelli.
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