19-year-old Ed Fossey returned to rallying action to wrap-up the R2 Championship with a round to spare in the Protyre MSA Asphalt Championship on the recent rain-soaked Mewla Rally last weekend (26 August) in the Yokohama Peugeot 208 R2.
After championship success in the British forests last season, Fossey backed up the 2017 effort with another class triumph – this time on the Tarmac roads across Britain – another string to his rallying bow.
Ed for the first time this season would return to a venue where he has previous experience, as the Jersey Sport supported driver gathered knowledge on the Tour of Epynt back in March which used the same challenging and demanding roads as the August event. Joining the Channel Islander in the Peugeot 208 R2 was the experienced local co-driver Michael Gilbey who has co-driven in both the World and British Rally Championship’s and running the French pocket-rocket once again was the experienced Melvyn Evans Motorsport.
Over 75 entries took to the start line for an action-packed day over the rollercoaster roads on the Miltary Ranges. Ed and Michael faced the 13-stage event with over 120km in prospect in the Yokohama-backed Peugeot 208. From car 34, the Jersey-based driver looked to press on and use his experience gained this season to push for a strong result. And push on he did as Fossey came out of the blocks in fine fashion –punching in the 23rd quickest time on stage one.
By the halfway halt the Jersey teenager was holding his own against the experienced locals and more powerful machinery around him and was improving on his seeding as he sat on the cusp of a top-20 result.
As the afternoon loop developed, Ed was on song – enjoying the Welsh asphalt and at the end of the 13-stage event Fossey brought home the Yokohama Peugeot into 21st overall and most importantly the Asphalt Championship class win to give him the R2 category with a round to spare. Fossey also did enough in Wales to importantly hold his sixth in the overall championship standings, and even more impressively he sits in championship order as the highest placed two-wheel-drive driver.
Ed Fossey – Speaking after a fine result on the Mewla Rally
“The Mewla was a really good rally for us in so many ways,” explained Fossey. “It was good to come back to roads that I had driven before but actually with the torrential weather the stages were completely different in character as well. As always we wanted to get round and finish but actually we set some decent times to put us in a good position. Michael Gilbey was fantastic to have alongside, he has some World Rally Championship experience which helped when it came to managing yourself and working on set-up and tyres in the conditions.
“It was really nice to bag the class championship win so early in the season but actually my focus has solely been on developing myself and looking at my own personal results. To sit sixth overall in the standings and highest placed two-wheel-drive driver is way above what I expected and if we can keep pushing on the last round that would be an amazing result as well.”
The final round of the championship will be held in Northern England as Ed and his team head to the Cheviot Stages. But first, Ed is coming home. Next on the agenda for Fossey will be his home event – the Roberts Garage Jersey Rally (12-13 October).
“I can’t wait to come home to compete in Jersey. Having driven across the UK, Ireland and Belgium, my highlight of the year is always going to be the Jersey Rally – to compete on your home roads can never be beaten and we will be pushing for a strong result as I think the Peugeot will be a perfect package for the tight and twisty narrow lanes.”
2018 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship
Round One – 10/11 March – Melvyn Evans Motorsport Tour of Epynt (Wales)
Round Two – 11/12 May – Manx National Rally (Isle of Man)
Round Three – 9 June – Rally van Wervik (Belgium)
Round Four – 21 July – Carryduff Forklift Down Rally (Northern Ireland)
Round Five – 25/26 August – Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally (Wales)
Round Six – 27/28 October – Keldine Autos Cheviot Stages Rally (England)