Crealey Focused for 2005
Current National Production Champion, Brendan Crealey, has this week tested VRS Motorsport’s Ford Focus WRC, the car he intends to use in next year’s National Forest Rally Championship.
Having won the 2003 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, a highly competitive one make series for Group N Lancer Evolutions, Crealey, from Portadown, together with his co-driver Steve Harris, from Sheffield, were awarded a works drive with Mitsubishi Motors UK in 2004.
Their performance throughout the season saw them secure the Production Cup in the National Rally Championship with one round remaining. Their efforts were also good enough to see them finish the season in fourth place overall – an excellent result driving a near standard specification car against a host of other teams in highly modified WRC machinery.
With his Mitsubishi contract concluding at the end of this year (the Evo Challenge prize drive standing for one season only), Crealey feels he has some unfinished business to attend to and now targets even higher overall positions in 2005:
“The National Rally Championship has become very competitive and attracts some of the country’s top drivers in some of the best machinery. Having won the Production Category for the past two years I really would like to take a shot at the overall Championship and I believe this is the car that can help me do it.”
The ex-works 2001 Ford Focus will be maintained and run on events by Chesterfield based VRS Motorsport, the team that built and prepared the winning car in this year’s Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge.
Crealey’s first drive in the Focus took place at Blyton Airfield on Thursday (18th November), where he was able to get a brief taste of things to come:
“I’m impressed! It’s transmission is the most different feature to that of a group N car, which makes it handle very differently. Although I only drove the Focus a few miles I can see its potential. I’m going to need more time in the car to really get used to it, especially being left hand drive, but I can’t wait to get it into the forests.”
Crealey’s regular co-driver, Steve Harris, was also impressed following his first acquaintance with the Focus:
“Although it’s difficult to get a true picture on a wet and slippery airfield of what the Focus can really do, the car felt very good and I’m sure it won’t take much to get Brendan up to full speed. One thing’s for sure though, I’ve got an exciting year ahead!”
The team are currently in negotiation with sponsors and will announce further details of their campaign before the opening round in February.