Robert Proudlock and Steven Brown became the second ever winners of a Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup IRE & UK round as they secured top spot on an action-packed Severn Valley Stages [April 13].

The Scotsmen were victorious by 23.7 seconds over Kyle McBride/Darragh Mullen, who enjoyed a tight tussle with Keelan Grogan/Ayrton Sherlock.

Promoted by Race & Rally, the new-for-2024 one-make championship for both Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa Rally4 machines allows drivers to compete for a staggering €75,000 prize fund across eight epic events in Ireland and the UK.

A cash pot of €6,000 is available to the first five crews home on each event, with the winner collecting €3,000, sliding down to €500 for fourth place. The fifth placed driver receives one Michelin Motorsport tyre from distributors Protyre Motorsport Ireland. Plus, the Junior champion at the end of the season will receive registration to the 2025 FIA Junior European Rally Championship, entry fees to six rounds of the Junior ERC and 12 tyres per round contested in the series, worth almost €40,000.

Courtesy of a hard-fought opening round win last month, Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams started the Cup’s first UK and gravel-based event with a target on their back, but didn’t appear fazed. Stopping the clocks a stunning 6.1s faster than anyone else on SS1 ensured the Welshman took an early lead on home soil.

Three stage wins from four across the morning had their rivals wondering if they could be caught as Lloyd made an inspired decision to select a softer compound Michelin, leading the pack by 23.1s as the parade of Peugeots returned to service in Builth Wells.

But, agonisingly, Lloyd’s hard work would be undone on the first stage out of service as he spun his 208 Rally4 and was stuck fast. Although he managed to free the car, he went OTL and was therefore eliminated from the standings.

Proudlock was only too happy to accept Lloyd’s gift. The only driver to beat Lloyd to a stage win while he was still running, the Scottish ace moved into the lead after SS5 and didn’t look back to scoop vital championship points following his non-finish in West Cork.

“I’m sorry for Ioan, he was absolutely flying this morning,” said a magnanimous Proudlock. “He made the right decision on tyres – he was the only driver out on softs in the morning, we were all on mediums – so you have to hand it to him, he’s really talented.

“But of course I’m happy to have won, it’s a really good result for us. When we did get out on the soft tyres, it totally transformed the car – what a difference it made. It was a really demanding rally – under the trees it was soaking and when you came out it was dust clouds so we had a bit of everything.

“After our troubles in West Cork the plan was to win coming back to gravel. I’m buzzing that we managed to do it.”

Behind the smiling Scotsman, a storm was brewing between two rapid Irishmen, McBride and Grogan, as they both threw everything at trying to beat the other for what eventually became second place. Less than one second split the pair after three of the rally’s seven stages, but a strong run over the last stage assured McBride of second spot.

Cian Caldwell/Liam Egan bedded themselves back into gravel driving well with an under-the-radar run to fourth place, but following their second place in West Cork they now lead the championship standings.

He also earned himself €500 in prize money, with Grogan (€750), McBride (€1,750) and Proudlock (€3000) the other beneficiaries.

A typically consistent run from Michael Fitzgibbon/Carrie Ryan netted fifth spot, almost a minute up the road from Casey Jay Coleman/Lorcan Moore and Joe Kelly/Killian McArdle who were seventh.

Kalum Graffin/Richard Crozier had entered the Severn Valley Stages on the crest of a wave following a breakthrough Junior British Rally Championship win a few weeks earlier. But unfortunately they would fail to finish their second Stellantis Cup event in succession, bowing out of the competition after a sizeable roll on stage two.

After a run on British gravel, the Stellantis Motorsport Rally Cup IRE & UK returns to Ireland and asphalt for Killarney’s Rally of Lakes on May 4-5.


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