Seven Suzukis will contest the fourth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship's Suzuki Swift Sport Cup on the Todd's Leap Ulster International Rally this weekend.

Mark Gamble has had back-to-back victories on the last two events, but they have not been without drama, as he put the car off the road a couple of times on the Jim Clark, then dropped several minutes on the Isle of Man.

The latter incident actually re-enlivened the battle after Ross Forde had seemingly dropped out of contention with a holed sump, the only Irish driver in the series left languishing in sixth overall after a non-score on the Pirelli, despite taking runner-up spot on both subsequent occasions.

First round winner Gordon Nichol had a lacklustre home event around Duns, but he would have wished for a repeat of that rather that the spectacular off in the appalling conditions on the Isle of Man. He cleared a stone wall on a right-hander, but not before demolishing a good part of it with his previously pristine Swift.

An international feel to the class is enhanced by Danish Federation-backed driver Niki Bjerg, who also competes in a Swift at home. Whilst used to asphalt events, he is in unity with the other crews in describing each successive event as the best and most taxing they have contested. He currently lies second overall, but the challenge of the Ulster lanes will be another test on his British Rally Championship debut.

Nichol is currently fourth, with David Higgins' prot?g? Nick Rowland is a place behind following a stunning podium place on the Pirelli. Rowland actually retired but managed to use SupeRally rules to his advantage, scoring valuable second place points.

Evo magazine's Henry Catchpole may be used to writing reports on car tests, but even he is beginning to run out of superlatives in his first season competing at BRC level. Improvement has been steady but noticeable over the three events thus far, culminating in a very well-earned third place on the Isle of Man.

Husband and wife crew Richard and Emma Boot missed the first round, but are also improving as the season progresses. Steady runs on the first tarmac events bode well for another step closer to a podium finish before the end of the year.


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