The British Rally Championship support series, the BRC Challenge, has received registrations from former BTRDA and one-make champions which look set to make the 2009 season an interesting and competitive year.

The six-round championship, which has an innovative format allowing a choice of 'overseas' events, has attracted a good range of competitors, notable amongst them the Constantine Brothers, who are joining the fray with their distinctive green Corsa. They have several class victories in the highly competitive BTRDA series to their credit, and should be a force again.

Also bringing bags of experience as the most senior of drivers is Martin Shaw. The five-time Lada Challenge champion, Shaw has been rallying for over 20 years - longer than some of the drivers have been alive.

Related Articles

As if to emphasise the point, the other end of the age scale is represented by 17-year old Callum Black, who has just three events to his credit but has dad Steve to provide good advice to steer him on the right track.

Brother and sister crew James and Helen Alexander will be out in their specially-converted Peugeot 106. James is the only paraplegic driver in British rallying, and has hand controls for the accelerator and brake, while the electric clutch is operated by use of a button on the gearstick.

Neil Matthews adds his experience - and class wins in ANCRO and Welsh Championships - to the mix, along with Julian Wilkes, who has had success at both BTRDA and national level. Neil Coalter is a former Northern Irish, Scottish and Stars of the Future championship contender, taking class wins along the way and should be another contender for honours.

The BRCC will also see some returnees, including James Watts, who finished third overall in 2008, and quick Ka driver Callum Bendall. However, the majority of runners are either new to the series, or haven't contested it for a number of years.

The Challenge gets underway with the Bulldog Rally on 28 March, before taking in some of the best rallies in the British Isles, including a choice of either the Isle of Man or Ulster - both of which are double-headers - to make up six rounds, all of which will benefit from TV coverage on Sky Sports.