Carlisle Pirelli Rally Set to Be Bigger and Better Than Ever

Cumbria’s biggest motorsport event returns for 2017 and this year organisers say the world famous rally is set to be bigger and better than ever.

Carlisle’s 41st Pirelli International Rally will take place between April 29 and 30 and will draw on the successes of past rallies.

This year organisers are thrilled to learn that they have been chosen to host the second round of the FIA Celtic Trophy Rally, and as a result, have regained FIA International Rally status.

Brian Kinghorn, director of the rally, said: “This year’s rally promises to be the biggest and best which is certainly saying something considering the rallies long and distinguished history but with so many major championships bringing a horde of top name drivers to Carlisle we feel that the local rally enthusiasts are in for a real treat.

“The current plan is to run four stages each day; these will be of a good length, varying between 10 to 16 miles which should give the drivers something to get their teeth into.”

Carlisle’s Pirelli International Rally continues to be a round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, along with being a round of the Mintex MSA British Rally Historic Championship and the Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.

Brian continued: “The rally is also a round of the Mintex British Rally Championship and the opening day of the event will see a full field of rally cars from yesteryear sliding their way through the daunting Kielder Forest special stages. Always thrilling to watch and with their own unmistakable sound, the crowds love to see these cars in action and they definitely don’t hang about, hurtling through the forests at a phenomenal rate.”

Each year, the variety of cars attracts masses of attention from both enthusiasts and the public. Brian added: “A feature of this year’s rallying scene has been the emergence of a new generation of rally cars, many of which will be making their debut on the Pirelli International, these are faster and more powerful than last year and should be exciting to watch.”

While the rally will retain its base and main service area at the well appointed Borderway Auction Mart, handily placed just off the M6 motorway, another break with tradition will see the Pirelli International Rally finish in the picturesque market town of Brampton where the cobbled market place and 17th century Guidhall will form a scenic backdrop to the ceremonial rally finish, complete with the traditional champagne spraying.

The Historic Section of the Pirelli International Rally will run over the first day of the event (29) and will run ahead of the BRC entry thus finding the stages in pristine condition. This part of the rally will cover some 50 stage miles and will finish back in Carlisle with its own individual awards ceremony.

The rallies 90 plus miles of special stages are all located in the giant Kielder Forest complex which will see some fast and furious action over the two-day event.

Last year’s rally, was won by Carlisle based CA1 Sport driver Fredrik Ahlin ( with co-driver Mortem Abrahamsen); second placed was Cockermouth’s Matthew Wilson (with Stuart Lowden) and third place went to Carlisle based DMack team driver Elfyn Evans (with co-driver Craig Parry).

Each year, the Pirelli International Rally brings a huge bonus to Carlisle’s hotel and catering trade with over £1 million pounds pumped into the local economy. And following four decades of success, organisers have a good feeling for 2017.

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