Belfast Telegraph

Edwards may assess his approach as Irish target revenge in BRC contest

 

Going west: Matt Edwards will face an Irish onslaught
Going west: Matt Edwards will face an Irish onslaught

By Sammy Hamill

It was something of a slap in the face for Ireland's leading drivers when Matt Edwards won the Ulster Rally back in August 2018.

True, he was the British championship leader and the man who had secured the top drive with the M-Sport Ford team ahead of Ireland's four-time champion Keith Cronin - money talks - but he had no great reputation on this side of the Irish Sea.

Nevertheless, the Welshman left the home drivers in his wake and went on to win not just the rally, but his first British title too.

He's back to face the Irish contingent again this weekend as the BRC series comes to West Cork for the first time and the outcome will surely be different.

In Ulster last year, Edwards didn't have to face Craig Breen or Alastair Fisher, and they are in the Clonakilty line up to bolster an Irish challenge which includes virtually all of the best R5 class drivers in the country, from the Tarmac title-winning brothers Sam and Josh Moffett to five-time West Cork winner Donagh Kelly plus Robert Barrable, Desi Henry, Marty McCormack and many more.

But as the major British and Irish championships come together, there has to be a question mark over what approach Edwards will adopt this weekend.

Will he want to get involved in a battle with the likes of ex-Citroen WRC driver Breen or Fisher when his mission is to secure BRC points?

They are not part of the British series and won't affect his title defence which got off to a winning start in his native Wales last month.

Edwards may well keep his 'sensible' head on, focusing on McCormack, Henry and Josh Moffett, who sit close behind in the championship table, along with Scot David Bogie, the runner-up in Wales, and fellow Welshman Tom Cave rather than chase outright victory on a rally he has little experience of.

Either way, he would have his work cut out to outpace a driver of the calibre of Breen, who made a winning return to Ireland in Galway last month.

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