Gaydon, Warwickshire, 8 April 2003 - The interests of spectators at all
Pirelli British Rally Championship (PBRC) events have never been so well
looked after, thanks to an initiative between Land Rover and UK based
specialist motorsport company M-Sport Ltd who have teamed up to introduce
the PBRC Freelander spectator and safety control vehicle.
Land Rover's best-seller will star at each of this year's PBRC events
with ex-British and Scottish rally champion David Gillanders at the
wheel. The car will open each special stage with a demonstration drive
and a spectator safety inspection, starting with the Pirelli
International Rally in Gateshead on 25 April.
The spectator and safety control vehicle is a former World Rally
Championship reconnaissance vehicle purpose built for use on the toughest
rally in the world - Africa's Safari Rally. It has been specially
modified for the PBRC programme by M-Sport, who design, build and run
Ford Focus RS world rally cars for Ford Rallye Sport's global World
Rally Championship programme.
This year's seven PBRC events will see the UK's most popular 4x4 tackle
terrains ranging from the rigours of the Scottish Highlands to the world
famous high-speed Manx International Rally on the Isle of Man. The car
is a standard Freelander V6 with just a roll-cage, up-rated suspension
system and brake pads to distinguish it from the cars on Land Rover
During a trial session at Land Rover's proving ground in Warwickshire,
David Gillanders said: "This is the most capable Freelander in the
world. It can take everything thrown at it and more, but it also has a
very serious purpose in the PBRC - to ensure the safety of all spectators
throughout the Championship."
Gillanders isn't the only part of the team with real rally pedigree - the
Freelander served as Colin McRae's reconnaissance vehicle for his
attempts at the 2001 and 2002 Safari rallies. Used to check pace notes
prior to the event and as a support vehicle during the rally itself, the
Freelander's tough, rugged features proved invaluable in such
As a spectator safety vehicle, it has only a 15-minutes head start on the
competition cars, highlighting the need for high performance and the
rallying capabilities that the subtle modifications afford the
Freelander. All PBRC events take place in specifically designated rally
locations, with care taken to protect the surrounding environment.
PBRC manager, Mark Taylor concluded: "Safety is of paramount importance
in rallying these days, and having this purpose-built Freelander at our
disposal for spectator and safety control is of immense benefit to the
http://www.motorsport.com -- your source for motorsport news on the Internet