Nigel Feeney attracted by new challenge of Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship – as Mini WRC joins growing list of top cars entered in the revamped 2018 series

Nigel Feeney will make his competition debut on the Isle of Man, in Northern Ireland and in Belgium this year after committing to a full six-round Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship programme in his Mini John Cooper Works Mini WRC.

Feeney was North of England Rally Champion in 2015, the year he also finished runner up in the Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship in a rapidly driven Subaru Impreza. The 46-year old driver, who lives just outside Troon in South Ayrshire, purchased his current Prodrive-built ex-Piero Longhi Mini WRC last year, winning one event (the Crail Stages) and scoring three second place finishes on the seven rallies that he contested in the second half of the 2017 season.

The car will be run on all rounds of the 2018 Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship by Kilmarnock-based Mayfield Garage Services.

Co-driven by Elgin’s Sean Donnelly, Feeney’s 2018 programme will be supported by GWF Energy and Wild West Foods, while his Pirelli tyres will be supplied by Protyre Motorsport – making him eligible for the event-by-event Protyre tyre prize fund and on-event technical support.

Feeney said: “My main focus this year is the 2018 Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship. It’s the only championship I’m going to do, although I’ll also do three or four Rallying With Group B events, starting with Race Retro at Stoneleigh Park, for fun. I’m looking forward to the 2018 season. We had some good results in the Mini WRC last year, so I hope to be there or there abouts. Most of the events will be new to me, as I’ve never rallied on the Isle of Man, in Northern Ireland or in Belgium before. I’ve done the Tour of Epynt once in 2016, but it was my first time out in a B13 Subaru Impreza and we had a lot of mechanical problems, so our result [19th overall] wasn’t representative of our true pace or the performance we hope to put in on the opening round there in March. We also did the Cheviot Stages Rally last year, and after early problems we were just three or four seconds off Damian Cole’s pace, despite running down the order and catching cars ahead of us, so that’s encouraging.

“It’s going to be a very competitive Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, and with half the events completely new to us we’re just going to give it a good go and see where we end up at the end of the season. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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