Here comes Jonny! Milner set to return

by Phil Hay

Former British Rally champion Jonny Milner is poised to confirm his full-time return to the series on Friday.

Milner will meet with potential investors later this week when the Yorkshire driver is expected to finalise plans for a British title challenge this year.

The 37-year-old’s schedule for 2005 was written off after financial problems forced Team Dynamics to withdraw from the BRC days before the opening round in Wales, and the two-time champion managed only a handful of competitive races last season.

But Milner, who was planning to run a Subaru Impreza in 2005, looks likely to turn to the Mitsubishi Evolution this year after renewing his partnership with Team Dynamics, and the agreement would strengthen his hopes of reclaiming the title he won back-to-back in 2002 and 2003.

Systems

The six-round championship begins in May with the Pirelli International Rally, and Milner said: “We’ve got a meeting on Friday with a couple of key people. I’m expecting us to confirm everything then.

“If we get the green light, which I hope we will, then it’ll be all systems go for the British championship.

“The first round doesn’t start until May so we’ll have plenty of time to get ourselves ready and test the car. The Mitsubishi’s cost-effective and competitive, and it should give us a good chance of winning the title.”

Team Dynamics’ decision to scrap their BRC plans and commit to the British Touring Car Championship last year came amid the widespread financial problems caused by the collapse of MG Rover.

Milner had turned down the chance to race in the Asia-Pacific Championship to fight for the British Rally crown he surrendered to David Higgins two years ago, but the loss of thousands of pounds worth of sponsorship destroyed his season before it had started.

The Huggate-based driver later secured a one-off appearance in a Toyota Corolla – the car which brought him both British titles – during the 2005 Pirelli International Rally, where he and co-driver Nicky Beech finished eighth, and he drove a Mitsubishi to victory in the Group N Production Class of the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire in October. Milner said: “We did manage to keep our hand in from time to time, but it was a frustrating year.

“It was one of those unavoidable situations because the MG Rover collapse was a big hit for Team Dynamics. But things seemed to have improved and I’m looking forward to signing on the dotted line.”

The loss of the Impreza is unlikely to worry Milner, who experienced a problematic year with Subaru in 2004.

Milner and Beech opted for a change of car after a successful spell with the Toyota Corolla, but the Impreza’s lack of reliability prevented them from claiming the British title for a third year running.

The BRC have implemented new rules ahead of the 2006 series, preventing teams from using cars of World Rally Championship specification.

The restrictions will allow Group N models, such as the Mitsubishi Evolution, to dominate the series.

phil.hay@ypn.co.uk