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columnist David Higgins will go to the Rally GB in a few weeks time in with a chance of winning the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship and taking the BRC drivers' crown for the second time.
David has had an incredibly consistent season - with four podiums from five events - and while that puts him right in contention, with drivers' only allowed to count five scores from seven the picture is more complex that it might first appear. Crash.net Radio
's Rob Wilkins caught up with the Team TQ.com man recently and got his thoughts ahead of the finale in Wales...
David, the final round of the BRC is coming up and it will mark the end of your first full season running your own team. How would you sum up the year to date?
Eventful, I suppose. It has been a bit of a challenge with the new car and every event has been about learning. It is quite nice now though going to GB with a bit more of a base - except of course things will change again because we will be on a different type of tyre. But it has been a hell of an experience. Running the team is a lot more involved than you think and what makes it harder for us is we have quite a lot of guests at events. We will have 30 for Rally GB for example and we have got to look after them, get passes, sort accommodation and plan where they are going to go. The car side of it is obviously difficult too and the whole overall package is very difficult as well, especially as the championship has been so much more political this season than it has been in the past. That has made things quite strenuous really for everybody.
The new Impreza has been competitive and you have had several podiums, but have you been disappointed not being able to challenge for wins?
Definitely, as a driver you want to go out there and win. When we go out to China we are able to do that against real strong competition. But saying that it is a new car and although it hasn't probably been as good as what everybody had hoped to start with, it is now starting to come good. I think by next year with a few more developments and with the weight limit for the other Group N cars coming up, it will be a stronger package than maybe it was this year.
You are still in contention to take the BRC crown this season. What is your target for the Wales Rally GB?
A lot will depend on what happens next week and the outcome of Mitsubishi's appeal [and the subsequent confirmation of the result for the Rally Yorkshire]. Obviously as a team now to try and win the teams championship is very important. If we have to go to Rally GB and drive for the teams' title we may have to look differently at the drivers' championship. But until that is decided we really don't know how to play things. To try and win the overall drivers' championship is going to take a real disaster for my brother, Mark and obviously I wouldn't wish that on him. But GB is a hard rally to finish and at the moment when it comes to dropped scores we are not so strong. But those dropped scores could be very big scores if things don't go very well on GB for my brother. There is a long way to go. Rally GB is one of those events where you are always going to be trying to work out what is going on. We will be focusing not on making the cars as fast as possible but trying to make them as strong and reliable as possible. The first day of the rally, which also counts as a separate round of the BRC, features no real service. You can only carry parts in the car and there are an awful lot of miles to do without a proper service. We need to make the cars as good as we can then for that and may even sacrifice some speed.
As you said it is a points' double header, does that effect how you will tackle it?
It is difficult and it is a double header. But the way the WRC rules work is a little bit different to how the BRC works with the SupeRally. You can't retire and then put the car in parc ferme. You have to physically get the car over the finish ramp in the WRC, which is good and something I agree with. As such it is important to get a finish on the first day and try and get a strong result on the Friday night. I think I will just play it by ear and see how the rally goes. For sure we will have to go hard though. We have Juho Hanninen and Patrik Flodin, who are both doing it and there is also the young Norwegian guy - Eyvind Brynildsen, and they are all registered for BRC points. You have three very strong runners there, as well as the normal BRC front runners.
You will be registered for P-WRC points too - will that influence things at all?