The Association of National Championship Rally Organisers (ANCRO) has announced a second successive year of sponsorship from Pirelli Tyres and along with a number of innovations planned for the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship, it is hoped that competitors new and old will contest the series.
As well as incorporating rounds of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and the introduction of the recently announced Mintex Two-Wheel Drive Championship, the various car manufacturers are being encouraged back with the re-introduction of the Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Manufacturers Award for both Group N and Group A cars.
There will be no registration fees applicable to manufacturers in a bid to encourage as many as possible to compete.
In addition, the class structure has been radically rationalised from thirteen down to nine in order to enhance the competition and out of the eight rounds, competitors' best five scores count towards the championship.
Competitors in all classes must use Pirelli tyres for the 2009 Championship in both wet and dry patterns and these must only be purchased from Pirelli via their designated outlet, ATL Events.
Each competitor must have their tyres branded by Pirelli before starting any event and any competitor who uses unbranded tyres will not be eligible to score championship points.
"We're delighted to be associated with ANCRO and that they have chosen to use our control tyre," said Martin Pallot, Pirelli's Motorsports events manager. "It underlines our commitment and allows everyone a level playing field whilst allowing Pirelli to move the championship forward.
"It is very important to support the sport and allow the younger drivers to emerge and we're pushing hard in that direction. Our support will hopefully allow the championship to grow through 2009 and well into the future."
Four times National Rally Champion Marcus Dodd, who has won the ANCRO Championship for the past two years added: "I've got a good track record on Pirelli tyres with some excellent results and the Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship really is one of the best there is what with the superb events and great cars and drivers. I'm thoroughly looking forward to the 2009 season."
"2009 really is going to be an interesting year, with several innovations, new events, revised classes and a control tyre, only five from eight events to count, plus the fantastic 2WD offer, we truly believe that it is offering competitors good value for money," summed up ANCRO's Rick Smith and director of Rallye Sunseeker, which comprises the opening round of the 2009 Championship.