2020 Asphalt Rally Championship Drivers
All of the drivers for the 2020 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship have been confirmed and can't wait to get started. Can Jason Pritchard retain his crown for the 3rd consecutive year? Will Damian Cole rise again to claim his seventh title, or, will a new driver take the glory come the end of the 2020 season? Whatever the final result, this year is set to be one of the most exciting yet!
Overall winner of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship for the last two years, Jason Pritchard is by day Sales Manager at the family’s North Road Garage Toyota dealership in Builth Wells and at weekend’s one of the UK finest and most celebrated rally drivers. Having also won the British Historic Rally Championship a record-breaking three times in a row (2015, ’16 and ’17) means that Jason has won a major British rally title five times in a row. Together with co-driver Phil Clarke, Jason will be a serious contender for the 2020 Asphalt Rally Championship title in his Ford Focus WRC05.
One of the most experienced drivers in the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, John is a potential winner on every event he starts. He drives an ex-Mikko Hirvonen Ford Fiesta WRC, which you’d think was prepared and maintained at M-Sport. In fact, between rallies it’s sat in the corner of his Legend Fires workshop and is prepared by himself and a group of loyal supporters. As well as a fierce competitor, John is also the sponsor of the opening round of the 2020 series, the Legend Fires North West Stages (20/21 March).
The only driver to win a round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in an R5 car returns in 2020 with an upgraded Cairnsmill Caravan Park-backed Ford Fiesta – with his sights firmly set on overall success. Victory on last year’s Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally was an incredible result, and there could well be more results like that to come from the rapid St Andrews-based driver.
The switched from a Subaru Impreza WRC to a Ford Fiesta R5 has suited Chris well, and the development of the car during the 2019 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship will also serve him well in 2020. This year the Preston-based driver is joined in the Century Autosport team by his son James, who has swapped his Escort Mk2 for a Fiesta R5. Given the speed at which James pushed the rear-wheel drive car last year, he’ll undoubtedly go well in the modern four-wheel drive Ford.
The rapid Bristol-based driver brings an exciting and completely different car to the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship – a Spencer Sport-built and Hopkins Motorsport-owned Mitsubishi Mirages. A lot of development work makes the car a real title contender, and Oli isn’t afraid to explore its limits. His brother Philip, who broke an ankle in a horse riding accident last year, sometimes drive the car as they swap between the Mirage and a MacWhirter Motorsport-run Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.
Paul is an ardent supporter of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, contesting the series every year since 2012 – except in 2017, when his co-driving brother Julian was side-lined with a shoulder injury. They bounced back in style, becoming class B11 champions in 2018. Their flat-out approach is a joy to watch, as they push their immaculately self-prepared normally-aspirated Cosworth engined Drockspeed Motorsport Ford Escort Mk2 to the limit.
Read Paul Doroszczuk's story here
Mark returned to the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship on last year’s Manx National Rally, having been out of rallying since a big accident in a Metro 6R4 in Ireland five years before. The master baker from Stafford is back in 2020 for a full attack on the Ford Escort Challenge, driving his stunning GEO Preparations-tuned black Ford Escort Mk2 – which is powered by a Smith & Jones 2.5-litre engine.
Mike prepares his immaculate Escort Mk1 RS2000 himself in his Bedlinog garage, and it’s become a fans favourite on the stages. The Welshman has owned the 1974-built car since 2013, and doesn’t hold back – winning back-to-back Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship class B12 titles. Despite its age, the Escort is super-reliable and hasn’t failed to finish a rally in over three years.
Read Mike Pugsley's story here
Reigning Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship class B10 champion Rhidian Daniels is building an Escort Mk2 in preparation for the new Ford Escort Challenge category. The rapid Nantgaredig driver has sold his Citroën C1 Max in which he and co-driver Tomas Whittle won the B10 class title in last year and aims to be out in his new car my mid-season.
Geoff has contested more rounds of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship – 105 at the end of 2019 – than anyone else, all in his self-build and completely unique rear-wheel drive Vauxhall Astra. Against more powerful Escorts, he has finished runner-up in the B11 class in both 2018 and ’19 and is as fiercely competitive as he was on his first Asphalt rally – which was some time ago!
You cannot miss Adrian’s duck yellow Drury Deliveries-backed Peugeot 106 GTi pocket-rocket, as it flies down the stages on the limit. Co-driven by Cat Lund, a few mechanical problems say the class B10 title slip away – but having finished runner-up the Derbyshire driver, who runs a flat bed truck engineering delivery service out of an old bus garage, will have his sights set on the class title this year.
Read Adrian Drury's story here
The double 1400cc Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Champion is back to try and make it a hat-trick in his Ray Thomas & Sons/WCS Environmental-backed Vauxhall Nova – and it will take some doing to stop the Llandysul driver from achieving his three-in-a-row titles! The phrase ‘giant-killing’ is often used, but as an example of his exceptional speed and commitment, Will finished 21st overall on the 2019 Rallynuts National Tour of Epynt, coming home just nine seconds behind a Subaru Impreza WRC and winning his class by seven and a half minutes! Now that’s giant-killing for you!
Chris won the hotly contested BRC3 British Rally Championship title in 2016, and the 2020 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship marks the first time he has contested a full major national rally series since then. Co-driven by Shaun Layland, the Torquay-based driver finished every rally he contested last year, so bring a lot of speed and reliability with him in his rapid 1.6-litre turbocharged Citroen DS3 R3T.
Read Chris Wheeler's story here
Jonathan won the B12 class both times on last year double-header Manx National Rally – which makes the Perth-based Welshman a serious contender for the title this year. His road rallying experience will be of benefit on as the 2020 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship has more closed road stage events than ever before and Jonathan has fantastic hand-eye co-ordination, having previously represented Wales at Clay Pigeon shooting. Co-driven by his stepfather Aled Davies, he’ll contest the series in a self-prepared 1.9-litre engined Peugeot 205 GTi.
Read Jonathan Stepney's story here
Geoff contested the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in the 1990s, with a best result of sixth overall and first in class in a 1600cc Vauxhall Nova in 1995. He then won the N3 class title in 2000 in a Nissan Almera, before family and business commitments limited the North Yorkshire-based driver to mostly local events. He purchased a Ford Fiesta S2000 in 2016 and returned to Britain’s premier asphalt series for some rounds in 2018, and will now make a full assault on the series in 2020.