2004 British Rally champion David Higgins will return to the Chinese Rally Championship this weekend, as he continues his efforts to maintain the teams' title for the WY rally team.
After taking a record breaking seven consecutive wins in the series, Higgins and co-driver Ieuan Thomas were forced to sit out the last event because it was the same weekend as Trackrod Rally Yorkshire where they were fighting for the BRC title.
“Fumio Nutahara did the last event for the WY Rally team in our place so we could focus on the BRC,” the Crash.net
columnist explained. “We had taken a lot of wins, so he had a lot to live up to. Unfortunately though he lost time with a puncture, and then was forced to retire.”
Despite dominating the previous seven events, and being highly praised for his efforts in the country, Higgins cannot become the Chinese Rally Champion because he is not from China.
His aim in the championship is solely to help the WY Rally team maintain the teams' title he won for them last year.
“With Fumio not taking any points for them on the Changbaishan Rally when we were in Yorkshire, the team's championship is becoming harder to secure,” he continued. “But we have been highly successful on every outing in China for the last two years, so we do not expect the Longyou Rally this weekend to be any different.
“Longyou is a round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship too, so it will be great to get back rallying alongside the drivers from that championship again.
“Last year on the event we won top points in the Chinese championship, and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge which it was also part of. It was a really great event for us.”
Higgins meanwhile will be joined on the event by Fiesta SportingTrophy regular James Everard.
It will be Everard's first time competing in China, as he takes the wheel of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, which has previously been driven by Nick Rowland. Rowland will miss the Longyou Rally as he will be competing on the Tempest Rally in his Suzuki Swift instead.
“James is a good young talent who it's nice to be able to present this opportunity to,” David added. “We tried to run him on the Ulster Rally this year but it didn't work out, so it's great to be able to take him to China.
“James is ready to take that step up into a Group N car, so this will be a fantastic experience for him.