Damian Cole will drive the top seeded Škoda Fabia R5 on the Neil Howard Stages, which takes place at Oulton Park Circuit, near the village of Little Budworth in Cheshire, on Bank Holiday Monday (31 May).
Over 140 cars will start the event, which includes almost 30 R5 cars from six different manufacturers – Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Proton, Peugeot and Škoda.
Having guided the Get Connected / TCL-backed Fabia R5 to an impressive second place finish on the car’s debut on the Corinium Stages at Down Ampney, the Neil Howard Stages is another great opportunity for Damian to become more acclimatised to the ex-Jan Kopecký car, ahead of more challenging close road stage rallies and events on rollercoaster military ranges such as Epynt and Otterburn.
With cars starting the eight stages at 30 second intervals, split junctions, chicanes, high speed sections on the main Oulton Park race track and tight and twisty sections around the circuit’s perimeter roads, both Damian and co-driver Dale Bowen will have to be on top form – for whilst it might seem like a relatively relaxed single venue event, nothing could be further from the truth.
The 2021 Neil Howard Stages will be the first time that a round of the British Rally Championship has been held entirely at a race track, while the event is also a round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship, MSN Rally Champ Michelin Cup, MSN Rally Champ Protyre Challenge, ANWCC Stage Rally Championship and the SD34 MSG Stage Rally Championship.