MSN Rally Championship | Round 5 – Snetterton Stages Preview
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Round 5 – Snetterton Stages Preview

The fifth round of the 2021/22 Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship takes a blockbuster field to Norfolk and the Snetterton Stages, with the championship fight heating up nicely.

The visit to Snetterton is always one that tests drivers, and the rally stages it accompanies are equally as big a challenge when the MNCRC makes the trip. A healthy field of just under 90 teams are set to make the start for the fifth event, with one in particular hopeful of using it to extend their championship lead.

That team in question is the Ford Fiesta of in-form duo Neil Roskell and Andrew Roughead, who are seemingly yet to put a foot wrong this season. They will however feel that one win does not perhaps do those performances as much justice as deserved, but the absence of race-tied Frank Bird this weekend gives the Cadwell victor a chance to double his tally.

He will also be looking over his shoulder in Norfolk for the Darrian T90 GT-R of his season-long chaser Barry Morris, who was struck by poor mechanical luck in the recent visit to Brands Hatch last month. That moment will ultimately play into Morris’ hands when dropped scores are considered, and his recent performances at Snettetton will give him hope of success when the tight and twisty infield sections come into play.

The Ford Fiesta brigade will line up in numbers once again, hoping to make use of the high-speed straights and long sweeping corners that Snetterton has become famous for over the years in motorsport. Alongside Roskell, Brands Hatch podium finisher John Griffiths will want to maintain his success with the new R5, after impressing so greatly in Kent.

Andy Scott returns for another crack and will be competitive once again you can be sure, but the spoiler of the event could well come from the number one seeds. With Rob Hughes unavailable while repairs to his Fiesta continue, regular navigator Sion Cunniff has former Escort peddler David Henderson in the driving seat this weekend. If his showings in older machinery were a sign of things to come, a shock could be on the cards when Henderson is in full swing.

‘Mr Rallycross’ Ollie O’Donovan upped his pace further at Brands Hatch and returns for a third crack at the whip with Ashleigh Morris co-driving for the Ford Fiesta crew, switching from a Hyundai R5. Alistair Ingliss has shone with his speed also, so cannot be discounted for a podium challenge.

Should Morris falter in class D, the Escort battlers will again take centre stage as Steve Tilburn and Martin Hodgson resume their epic fight from Brands Hatch. Similarly in class B, Ben Wilkinson (Peugeot 106 Maxi) and Alex Cannon (Ford Fiesta) continue their tussle for class honours after a tense season thus far for spoils.

Class C’s dominant performer has often been Josh Payton, and after missing out on Brands Hatch and suffering a non-finish at Donington Park, the Escort Mk2 star will be wanting to put his title charge back on track with a strong showing in Norfolk. Phil House will chase hard, among a stong class C list.

Weather remains a potential spoiler as it always is in the ever-unpredictable early months of the year, but it will not dampen – pun definitely intended – the spirits of rally fans who can flock to Snetterton to enjoy the sideways action across tarmac and gravel in close proximity.

Visit the MSV website right here for more information and tickets for the event. 

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