British Rally Championship firms up Ypres Rally for 2017 calendar

The Ypres Rally has been confirmed on the British Rally Championship calendar for 2017 as the series released a raft of rule changes

British Rally Championship firms up Ypres Rally for 2017 calendar

The possibility of the famous Belgian asphalt event joining the BRC was first predicted by Motorsport News and Autosport earlier in the summer

Ypres will hold its traditional June date, with the RSAC Scottish Rally moving to May to accommodate it.

The only other change in the calendar is the loss of the Circuit of Ireland, which will not run in 2017 due to funding troubles.

Ypres Rally manager Alain Penasse - also Hyundai's World Rally team boss - is confident the BRC has what it takes to recapture its 1980s heights.

"I'm a certain age that I remember in my young days where the BRC was something everyone looked up to," said Penasse.

"So for me I think the British championship can go back to that age. All the best drivers were there for a reference.

"You have everything in Britain for this to happen again. We [Ypres] can be part of that and it's a fantastic opportunity for us.

"I've been keeping an eye on the British Championship this year and it appears to be a formula that is working well."

Penasse also refused to rule out Ypres remaining part of the European Rally Championship too, despite recently complaining the series was going "backwards".

"The discussions are still ongoing [with the ERC]," added Penasse.

"It's clear we have some concerns. We still want to be part of it but we need certain conditions or it will be very difficult.

"It's still an option."

As well as the 2017 calendar, the BRC has also restructured its points system, falling in line with the FIA's World Rally Championship structure: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1.

The 'joker card' - which can be played on one round per year - will also change. It will now add five points for a win down to one point for a fifth place finish on the driver's selected event rather than doubling their score.

The Isle of Man season finale will remain a double points round next year, but rather than double scores being allocated for the final results, half the score will be awarded at the end of each leg.

BRC 2017 CALENDAR

March 4/5: Mid Wales Stages (gravel)
April 29/30: Pirelli Carlisle Rally (gravel)
May 19/20: RSAC Scottish Rally (gravel)
June 23/24: Ypres Rally (asphalt)
July 15/16: Nicky Grist Stages (gravel/asphalt)
August 18/19: Ulster Rally (asphalt)
September 14-16: Rally Isle of Man (asphalt)

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