Twenty-one year old Meirion Evans will return to the British Rally Championship in 2017 with a renewed attack on the Junior British Rally Championship title.
Following a disastrous 2016 season where Evans was hit by mechanical issues on nearly every round, which ultimately resulted in the youngster withdrawing from the series following the Nicky Grist Stages, Meirion will make the move to a Peugeot 208 R2 for the new season. The new machine will continue to be run by Melvyn Evans Motorsport, the multi-National title winning team run by Meirion’s father, Melvyn.
Joining Meirion for a fourth season is co-driver Jonathan Jackson, the pair not allowing a challenging 2016 season to deter them from their long-term goals. A busy schedule over the winter break has meant Meirion and 27 year old Jackson have worked hard to remain ‘match-fit’ ahead of what is set to be another competitive season in 2017.
Key changes to the Junior British Rally Championship over the closed season confirmed a return to the series as the most attractive option for the pair in 2017 – the cash prize of an incredible £30,000 and a move to an open tyre format proving a popular move by the Championship organisers;
“We had a few options on the table for the 2017 season, after last year I had to ensure that I did what was right for myself. There were a few things I wasn’t happy with last year and thankfully we’ve moved away from them and are now fully focused on the year ahead. The move to an open tyre formula is a bold one from the organisers but its one I’ve fully supported from the first time it was mentioned to me. I haven’t driven much of the 208 yet but the early impressions are quite impressive. We’ve built a great relationship with R&R-the UK’s Peugeot and Citroen retailer over the past couple of years from my time in Citroens, so for us it made sense to go for the Peugeot ”
The Junior British Rally Championship crews are set to compete over seven highly competitive rounds in 2017, including a trip to Belgium for the Ypres Rally in June, once again providing drivers under the age of 26 the opportunity to fight it out on some of the World’s most renowned special stages, a challenge Jonathan is relishing;
“To have the opportunity to return to the BRC this season and tackle some of the most challenging stages in the UK is fantastic – a huge thank you to Melvyn, the team and all those who support us for this opportunity. We had a fairly well documented season last year so it made sense for us to come back and try and right those wrongs in 2017 – it won’t be easy, I’m sure there’ll be a number of quick crews again this year to make it a good battle!”
In addition to competing in JBRC, Evans hopes to expand his programme to take in selected European or R5 outings in 2017, a situation the crew will look at as the season progresses. The Junior British Rally Championship kicks off with the Border Counties Rally on the 17th and 18th March, the two day event providing a new challenge for all the crews as it steps up to the BRC for the first time in 2017. Before all that however, Meirion and Jonathan will look to gain some valuable mileage aboard their new 208 R2.