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Such has been the acclaim of these models, a one-make rally series was introduced in 2001 – the Mitsubishi Ralliart UK Evolution Challenge. This inaugural championship was won by Leon Pesticcio (photo), a talented 20 year old from Bridgend, scoring four wins from four rounds.
Partnered by experienced co-driver, Howard Davies from Machynlleth, the Welsh pair also piloted their Evolution VI to victory in the National Group N title, the BTRDA Group N title and to take the overall Welsh Championship Crown. They also enter the Rally of Great Britain this year, Leon aiming to make a name for himself on his home ground and in front of the Works Teams.
Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship will see three other Evolution Challenge competitors taking part: Graham Presswell from Henlow, driving for the CSMA team, David Bagshaw from Market Drayton and Jeremy Nolan from Leeds, the Yorkshiremans first time in a WRC event.
Other British drivers in Group N Lancers to look out for include: Olly Clark, from Leicester, son of legendary Roger Clark – twice winner of this event. Olly joins both Mike Brown from High Wycombe and Nik Elsmore from Coleford in the elite group of drivers who have this year won a national rally outright in a Group N Mitsubishi. These victories were achieved against a host of far more powerful Group A machinery, further endorsing the dominance of the Mitsubishi Evolution in modern-day rallying.
Natalie Barrett from Manchester will be the only female Evolution driver in this year’s Rally GB, having embarked on an extensive world rally campaign during this year.
Front running overseas entries in Group N Lancers are; Swedens Kenneth Backlund, 1984 World Champion Stig Blomqvist, Perus Ramon Ferreyros and former New Zealand Champion Reece Jones.