4 December 2006
Q&A: Mark Higgins – EXCLUSIVE.
Returning to the BRC, the championship has obviously finished this year with the Rally GB. The 2007 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship schedule looks set to be pretty much exactly the same. Do you think it is a good idea to finish off with Rally GB? Also should there be more events?
Rally GB is a tough one. It is just how you score the points. The points are the same as they are for any other round. I mean we have just come from the Trackrod, which is a one-day event and now we go to a three-day – nearly three times the mileage.
The SupeRally system is very confusing too [Mark was speaking before the finish on Sunday and the confusion over who actually won the BRC category - ed]. They don't know whether to come back in or what is going on - and from a competitor and the general public's point of view, I think it really is, a bit of a problem. How they get around that I don't know.
The calendar itself though is a good one. It would be nice to have a few more events in there as well in an ideal world. But everything is down to finances and these cars get more and more expensive to run. Getting sponsors and making it all work is tough. They did a great job with the BRC in 2006 though and let's hope it continues in 2007.
In 2007 they are going to allow the Super 2000 cars in. Is that a good decision?
I think it is a good decision if we can regulate the cars so they are equal with the Group N cars or whatever. That is going to be very hard to do though until you actually get out on the rallies and there is no point putting a weight penalty on after the events, because they will have already have got the points. If they are all equal and everyone can fight, yeah great, bring in as many cars as we can. But the last thing anybody wants is a runaway car, which is going to take the victory on every event. We want to have close fights, like we have had this year and a good scrap to the end.
That's been the good thing about the BRC this season hasn't it - the competition has been very close and for you, from a personal point of view, it must make it even more satisfying to have come out top?
Yeah it has been good this year, because last year we got a bit of criticism that there was no real competition with the WRC cars. But we still had a great crack when we went to Ireland [and drove a WRC car a few months back]. When we won it in 1997, it was a great year with all the F2 cars. So it was nice to have had a go with the three different categories. But yeah, nobody wants to win a rally when there is no competition and we have definitely had plenty of that this year.
WRC wise, looking to 2007, what are your predictions?
I think you will see Sebastien [Loeb and Citroen] come back and win, they have got a lot of development time that has gone into this new car [the Citroen C4]. They are going to be very, very strong. Ford has done a great job this year - and I am sure the fight will be between Marcus [Gronholm] and Sebastien again. Petter [Solberg] and Subaru should be working better too and they will be up there as well. They have put some good times in now and then and they are always fighting hard. I think those are the three drivers that will be scrapping it out for the title – but I think my money would probably be on Loeb again.
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