The 2018 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship gets underway this weekend with the Llandudno based Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally. The 2017 season ended on November’s Wyedean Rally with the overall title, two-wheel drive honours and many of the class awards going right down to the wire. All the indications are that the 2018 series will produce similarly close battles.
Reigning title holder Callum Black will be absent this weekend as he is in South Korea for the Winter Olympics so there will be plenty of other crews looking to take an early advantage in the Championship standings. 2016 Champions Luke Francis and John H Roberts will be present, however, in their Ford Fiesta World Rally Car.
One of the more interesting registered contenders in action will be Pembrokeshire driver Julian Reynolds and co-driver Patrick Walsh in their Ford Fiesta R5. Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg, meanwhile, will be out in their Word Rally Car version of the same model.
Among the ranks of Subaru Imprezas will be Keith Parry and Eryl Evans along with Harry Gardner and Elliot Graham while Mitsubishi Evo mounted crews include Simon Rogers and Steven Clark as well as Dan Moss and Sam Allen.
In Group N, for less modified cars, reigning champions Andy Davies and Max Freeman will face opposition from former champions Paul Davy and Roger Allen, also in an Impreza. Others contesting the class include the two litre Ford Fiesta of Brynmor Pierce and Alan Jones and Mitsubishi Evo IX mounted Dan Moss and Sam Allen.
The two-wheel drive category was one of the most fiercely contested awards in 2017 and the class battle looks set for more of the same this year. Among those returning to series are John Rowlands and Glen Latham in their Mark 2 Ford Escort as well as the similar cars of Rob Dennis and Andrew Boswell and Steve Ward and Mike Crawford.
New to the Championship for 2018 is the Challenger title for both drivers and co-drivers. This is open competitors who have not finished within the top 10 overall on any round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship or any equivalent status championship on more than one occasion between 1st January 2007 and 31st December 2017. Marking their fourth season supporting the Championship, advanced lubricant technology company RAVENOL will sponsor the Challenger category providing a prize fund valued at more than £3000.
The first car will cross the start ramp in St Georges Place in Llandudno at 8am on Saturday morning, tackling the opening stage in Penmachno Forest at 9am. Spectators can also see the cars in action on the Llyn Elsi stage from 9:43am. The cars will re-visit those stages at 1:30pm and 2:25pm respectively.
With the world class rally stages of North Wales ahead of them, the Cambrian Rally promises the perfect start to what looks set to be another classic season for the Pirelli MSA Welsh Championship.
You can find out more about the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally at Cambrianrally.co.uk
and about the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship at wnrc.wamc.org.uk
, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship