Mintex Racing backed driver Steve Brown made a return to the stages on Sunday [20 February], tackling the Questmead Stages at Three Sisters near Wigan, but endured a weekend of mixed fortunes as he tackled his first competitive event of 2022.

Guiding his popular Nissan Micra Kit Car through treacherous conditions as the UK was battered by Storm Franklin, Brown and co-driver Andy Rose had built an impressive one minute and thirty second class lead, before aquaplaning on a tricky part of the circuit, sending the car into the barriers and instant retirement.

After securing the British Rallycross BMW MINI title in 2021, Brown would elect to make the switch back to stage rallying this season. The Fuchs Lubricants backed driver had enjoyed two full seasons in the popular race series, culminating in the championship spoils after a tense end to the series.

After honing his racing skills across the two-year campaign, Brown would set his sights on returning to the stages in 2022 and would head to the Three Sisters Circuit to tackle his first stage rally in the car in over a year and was well aware that he would need to bed himself back into the discipline.

But the difficult weather which gripped the country during the weekend had meant conditions would be the biggest challenge of all, with high winds and driving rain bringing standing water and an ultra slippery surface for the crews to deal with.

Twelve stages would make up the day’s action and Brown wasted no time in acclimatising back to the sport and soon built up a substantial gap to his nearest challengers. As the confidence grew, Brown extended his lead but with four stages to go, the Nissan hit a large river of standing water, sending it into the tyre wall at high speed and into instant retirement.

Despite the premature end to the day, Brown was happy to make his rallying return.

“It was great to finally be rallying again after so long in the rallycross championship and although today didn’t quite go according to plan, I`m happy with our pace in what was pretty horrific conditions,” he said.

“The car had been running well all day and we were just settling into a good rhythm for the second half of the day and I just got caught out a high speed on a large amount of deep water, which sent us onto the grass and into the wall. It was an unfortunate end to the day, but it’s just cosmetic damage and we will be out again soon. A huge thanks to our partners for their support this weekend, I`d certainly missed the sport!”.