Matt Edwards of Llysfaen and Pwllheli co-driver Darron Garrod took their third victory of the year in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship at the weekend while, with two rounds of the series remaining, there is a tie for the Championship lead.
The opening stages of Saturday’s Nicky Grist Stages, organised by Quinton Motor Club, saw a battle between Edwards and Garrod’s Fiesta and the Mitsubishi Mirage of Tom Cave and James Morgan with the lead changing hands on several occasions.
However, an error by Aberdyfi’s Cave and Morgan, from Swansea saw them inadvertently refuel their R5 specification car in a restricted area, eliminating them from the event. That left the North Wales duo to take overall victory ahead of former champions Luke Francis and John H Roberts. The event had taken its toll on the Rhuddlan driver, however, Luke heading straight from the finish venue at the Royal Welsh Showground to hospital after injuring his back in a compression on the Route 60 stage.
Third place went to Martyn and Dawn England, the West Country couple really getting to grips now with their R5+ specification Fiesta. Championship table toppers Dylan Davies and Llion Williams were forced out of the event when their Subaru Impreza suffered a broken ball joint on the penultimate stage of the event. The Aberystwyth driver and his co-driver, from Caernarfon, now share the Championship lead with Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe, the English duo also leading the Group N category in their Impreza.
With Edwards and Garrod moving to third in the Championship standings, fourth place is held by Matthew Hirst from Doncaster and Woking’s Declan Dear. The Mitsubishi Evo driver also heads the junior category for drivers aged under 23 ahead of Treorchy driver Kalvin Green. He and co-driver Osian Owen, from Rhyl were forced out of the event late on with fuel pump problems on their Ford Fiesta ST. Owen continues to lead the junior co-driver standings.
Another impressive drive by Max Utting sees the Fiesta driver move to fifth in the overall standings and extend his advantage in the two-wheel drive category. Behind the front-wheel drive competitor, Hereford driver Colin Griffiths holds second place. Colin had burnt plenty of midnight oil just to get out on the rally after damaging his BMW Compact heavily on the previous round, the Red Kite Stages just three weeks earlier. Third place is held by Hillman Avenger pilot Barry Jordan, just two points behind Griffiths.
Among other impressive performances was that put in by Keith Parry who now lies sixth in the overall standings while Eryl Evans moves to 5th among the co-drivers. Meanwhile Zak Hughes admitted to taking a few chances on the opening stage of the rally but it paid off for the Fiesta driver and co-driver Tom Wood as they went on to a class win.
The RAVENOL Welsh Challenge, for competitors who have not finished in the top 10 of a National B event sees Max Utting head the driver standings from Matthew Hirst and Colin Griffiths while Declan Dear continues to lead the co-driver standings ahead of Mike Ainsworth and Geraint Thomas.
The next round of the Championship, the Ludlow based Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally, takes place on Saturday 1st September. More information about the Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club organised rally can be found on the event web site, www.woodpecker-rally.co.uk. You can learn more about the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter, @WnRC.
Credit for the image:-Rally Sport Media
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship