Four-wheel-drive cars for 2016 British Rally Championship revival

The British Rally Championship will return to four-wheel drive competition next year for the first time since 2011

Four-wheel-drive cars for 2016 British Rally Championship revival

International Motor Sports managing director Ben Taylor announced the move at AUTOSPORT International on Thursday morning. He also confirmed an infrastructure helping career-minded drivers progress through the sport in two-wheel drive cars.

Watch live AUTOSPORT International 2015 video

The BRC was shelved at the end of last year, with IMS - the commercial arm of British motorsport's governing body - taking the series in-house in time for a 2016 relaunch.

"This is an exciting move and one which will help to establish the BRC as the pinnacle of UK rallying next year," said Taylor on stage at ASI.

"We understand that competitors and teams need to make long-term plans, so we have made this early announcement about vehicle eligibility to give them as much notice as possible about the future."

The R5 category - which includes M-Sport's Ford Fiesta R5, Peugeot's 208 T16 and Citroen's DS3 R5 - will be the ultimate class in BRC next season.

"The R5 concept was created by the FIA to bring in much needed cost control without compromising on performance," said Taylor (pictured below).

"It has been widely adopted throughout the sport, so now seems like the right time to welcome it properly to the UK market.

"The cars are exciting to drive, great to watch and should provide the perfect excuse for the best drivers

to come and test themselves in a championship that is still revered around the world."

MSA performance director and 2001 World Rally champion co-driver Robert Reid underlined that the revived BRC class structure would encourage career progression.

The championship has previously been won by such stars as Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen and Stig Blomqvist.

"It is clear that the best apprenticeship for young drivers is to learn their trade in the competitive two-wheel drive classes," Reid said.

"It is essential that young drivers understand they do not have to win the outright championship in order to progress, or try to prove what they can do in an R5 car too early in their careers.

"So the challenge is to ensure the incentives for winning in R3 or R2 are great enough to keep them at this level - drivers need to see that it can be an important stepping stone that helps them graduate into ERC Junior or Junior WRC the following year."

Taylor confirmed that Mull Rally clerk of the course and deputy Rally GB clerk Iain Campbell will be working on preparations for the revitalised BRC.

"I am delighted to have been asked," said Campbell. "The start of the 2016 season may be more than a year away, but there is a huge amount of work to do in the next few months to put things in place.

"I look forward to making a contribution to the creation of the new championship and bringing a fresh perspective to the challenge."

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