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NATIONAL NEWS 

British Rally Championship canned for 2015 before '16 MSA relaunch

Dan McKenna, Pirelli Rally 2014, British Rally Championship

The British Rally Championship will not run in 2015, for only the second time in its near-60-year history.

British motorsport's governing body, the MSA, will run the BRC itself from 2016 as it is not satisfied with a tender process to source a promoter for next season.

It will set aside 2015 to consult with the rally community over the championship's longer-term future.

MSA chief executive Rob Jones believes the radical move is necessary to revitalise the BRC.

"This is certainly a bold move, but we gather a lot of feedback from around the country and one thing our members tell us is that they really want us to govern and lead the sport," he said.

"The BRC is one of the top three premier championships in the country. Indeed, the full MSA Board had a very animated discussion on the subject last week before agreeing this direction."

The BRC has come in for increasing criticism for its focus on front-wheel drive cars and specifically Citroen's DS3 R3. The French machine filled the podium on every one of the six BRC rounds last season and will likely do the same again this year.

Ben Taylor, head of the MSA's commercial arm IMS, acknowledged that this had been an issue.

"The current championship has become largely a single class," said Taylor, "and almost a single-make championship, contested only by young drivers with career aspirations on the international stage.

"We have looked very carefully at whether we could set up the championship in time for 2015, but we concluded that that would inevitably involve rolling over much of what is already in place.

"The advantage of taking a year off is that it gives us a clean sheet of paper to work with."

Before now, only the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease had stopped the BRC running since its inception in 1958.

Past champions in the series include Colin McRae, Richard Burns, Jimmy McRae, Malcolm Wilson, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist.

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