Ed delivers the drive of his Life…
Jerseyman Ed Fossey delivered one of his best drives to date on the Motul Rally van Wervik (9 June) claiming the R2 class win and a impressive 39th overall on the third round of the Protyre MSA Asphalt Championship in a Peugeot 208 R2, backed by Yokohama.
After claiming the 1400 championship in the BTRDA gravel series last season, 19-year-old Ed Fossey decided to make the closed season switch to the MSA Asphalt Championship to further his knowledge on the sealed-surface. After missing the second round of the championship on the Isle of Man due to exam commitments – the Bournemouth University student would travel to Europe for the very first time to compete in Rally van Wervik in Belgium.
As well as focusing on his own championship commitments, the Channel Islander would have some impressive benchmarks, also in Peugeot 208s. Although not registered for the Asphalt series, Ed would have William Creighton and Marty Gallagher as competitive benchmarks as both Irish drivers were using the event to prepare for the world famous Ypres Rally – the next round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship later this month.
Fossey was last seen on the fast and flowing Epynt Ranges in Wales, which simulated a high-speed rallying roller coaster. Rally van Wervik couldn’t be more different as the flat Belgian roads provided a more technical challenge with the young-gun having to learn how to cut into the fields to find those extra few tenths of a second in every corner.
151 entries took to the start line with Ed joined by the experienced Welsh co-driver Yan Griffiths for the 12-stage event in the Yokohama-backed Peugeot 208. Further aiding his development on European soil, Ed was supported by the Belgian Pevatec team who prepared the front-wheel-drive pocket-rocket for the event. From car 43, the Jersey driver set about climbing the leader board, jumping into the class lead and hanging onto the coat tails of his more experienced British Championship counterparts. Getting off to a confident start, the teenager flourished on the smooth Belgian Tarmac – growing in confidence with every stage mile.
By the halfway halt the 208 R2 driver was holding his own against the experienced locals and was pleased to be just 30 seconds behind 2017 Junior BRC runner-up William Creighton after 46 kilometres. In the afternoon loop, Fossey was on song with the French machine as he threaded the 208 through the Belgian lanes. On the final stage, Fossey pushed Creighton hard – finishing a mere 3.3 seconds slower than the Northern Irishman on the 9.3km stage.
Nearly 100km later, Fossey brought home the Peugeot into 39th overall and most importantly the Asphalt Championship class win after a successful day in the Flanders region.
Speaking after his European excursion, Fossey was pleased with his trip to Belgium.
“What a great weekend,” enthused Fossey. “I was cautious going into the event as I have never competed outside of Britain before, so it was all about taking as much experience from the rally as possible. The stages were repeated in the morning and afternoon so the first loop was finding out what Belgium rallying was all about and in the afternoon loop, find our feet and push on.
“Although it’s Tarmac, it is completely different to what I have driven on before. It ‘s quite shinny and slippery when all the gravel and grass gets pulled onto the road from the cuts you have to take, so you are constantly searching for grip and trying to make up time by taking those necessary cuts. On the last pass through each stage the ruts were quite deep as in the first pass you could take a lot of angle off the corner but on the last pass you have to be careful as the ruts can chuck you out on the other side.
“To get the R2 win in the Tarmac championship was goal one and the second was to see how we could get on with the likes of Marty [Gallagher] and William [Creighton] who are at the very sharp end of this class in the British Championship. Considering they have been to Belgium before and have 2 years more experience in the car, I am pleased with our times against.”
The next round of the championship will be the Downs Rally on 21 July. After sampling Welsh and Belgian Tarmac, the education continues for Ed as he travels across the Irish Sea to sample the challenging bumpy Irish Tarmac in Northern Ireland.
“Rallying in Ireland is completely different again from Wales and Belgium and is very specialist. The roads are quite undulating and bumpy and the weather can throw a massive curveball in as half the stage could be dry and the other half rain soaked. I always want to get to the finish – that is the first thing that comes into my head. Another class win would be good but the main priority will be to adapt to the car even more and put some Irish Tarmac miles under my belt.”
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