Press release: 15 May 2022
Matthew Hirst, pictured above, will be targeting an unblemished hat-trick of wins in the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship when he contests the Plains Rally on Saturday 21 May.
Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear have made the perfect Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Championship start by winning both the WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales and Rallynuts Stages in their Pirelli-shod Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+.
Having conquered the famous Pantperthog, Dyfi, Big Ray, Gartheiniog, Myherin, Sweet Lamb, Hafren and Cwmysgawen forest stages, Hirst hopes his winning streak will continue as he prepares for 44 more stages miles in Aberhirnant, Llangower, Alwen and Clocaenog.
Dylan Davies, pictured below, has been Hirst's nearest rival on both rounds this year and is second in the drivers' standings, six points behind. His Å koda Fabia R5+ hasn't been so sympathetic on tyre wear and a lack of traction has hampered the Llanon driver's progress, but he hopes for improvements as he and co-driver Mark Glennerster aim for their first win of 2022.
Tom Llewellin arrives at the Plains Rally third in the overall drivers' standings. The 2019 Welsh Junior champion's first full season in the Brace's Bakery Mitsubishi Mirage has started well and he's quickly gaining confidence in the car. Dale Bowen, who partnered Tom on the opening round, returns to the co-driver's seat.
James Giddings also had a fantastic result on the Rallynuts in his first appearance in his newly acquired Group N Fordpad Mitsubishi Evo 9. Co-driven by Aled Davies, the former Fiesta ST Trophy and CitroÃ«n C2 Challenge champion should go well on the Plains too.
Bob Morgan, pictured below, has made a great start to the 2022 Welsh Championship and currently leads the Ravenol Challenge and is fifth in the overall drivers' standings in his Winner Garage Å koda Fabia R5+.
Benj Ceen has been one of the revelations of the season so far. In only his first year in a four-wheel drive car, the former Renault/Alpine Formula 1 test engineer has scored two fantastic results in his Ford Fiesta R5 and arrives at the Plains Rally sixth in the overall drivers' standings and third in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge. The car is run by MSL (which is owned by Mat Long, who is married to Benj's sister and four-time Welsh Under 25 championship winning co-driver Sarah Ceen) and the results have been achieved despite the car running with an Evo1 spec 32mm restrictor and over 30bhp down on the other Fiesta R5s.
Benj's father Richard Ceen, pictured below, has been troubled by sensor failures and his Ford Focus WRC05 engine stalling at every opportunity this year. With over six minutes lost on the first two events, he hopes that as a former instrumentation engineer he can get the problems fixed to enable him and co-driver Alun Hayward to enjoy a clean run on the Plains.
Richard's slightly younger brother Bob Ceen is having a good season. The 2001 and 2015 Welsh champion has successfully switched from a Subaru Impreza S9 WRC to a right-hand drive 'National spec' Ford Fiesta R5, which has been transformed by MSL and has run faultlessly so far this year.
Simon Rogers/James How will be aiming for a more trouble-free run having driven around several problems so far this year in their Mitsubishi Evo 6, while Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley will be hoping to bounce back from beaching their Axon Ford Fiesta R5 - a simple case of running a bit wide ruining a good run last time out on the Rallynuts Stages.
One of the most experienced drivers in the Welsh field will be Wug Utting,pictured below, who contests the Plains Rally for the 17th time! He'll be co-driven by Bob Stokoe in their Subaru Impreza N12b. Also back in his Green Paw Subaru Impreza will be Paul Walker, this time partnered by Geraint Thomas.
Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham, pictured below, arrive in Bala leading the Welsh 2WD class having finished second on Rally North Wales and first on the Rallynuts in their Burton Power/G&B Finch/Deranged Trucks Ford Escort RS. Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees have also won their class this year, but fifth on the Rallynuts sees them five points behind in The Flying Kiwi Escort Mk2.
Matthew Jackson, pictured below, is third in the 2WD class after two magnificent results in his MJ Rallying Ford Fiesta R2T. He and co-driver Sasha Heriot also lead class W4 in the flying front-wheel drive car.
Kevin Metcalfe, pictured below. (co-driven by Ian Jones) is the top placed BMW driver and is just one point behind Jackson in his 3-litre BMW E30.
Philip Jones/Ryan Griffiths (Ford Escort), Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox (Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325), Michael Sawyer/Gareth Price (2350cc Datsun 1600) and Geoff Phelps/Colin Jenkins (Hartpury Farms Escort) will also be aiming for strong 2WD results.
The incredibly close Restruct Welsh Historic class battles will resume on the Plains, with the top three registered finishers in each class giving themselves a chance of winning the end of season David Stokes Historic Challenge for drivers and the Guy Weaver Award for co-drivers' awards.
Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell, pictured below, head the Historic class W8 after two victories in their Pirelli-shod Fiat Abarth 131. The development work done to improve the RSD-prepared car came good in the afternoon of the Rallynuts Stages, and if that pace and reliability continues on the Plains then the three-time British drivers' champion will be hard to beat.
Nick Elliott quickly reacclimatised to his own Fiat Abarth 131 on the Rallynuts, having not driven it in competition for over three and a half years. Now that he's stopped driving it like his Escort RS1800, Nick and co-driver Peredur Davies should be on the pace from the word go this time.
Roger Chilman (Securcom Escort Mk2) lies third in class, just ahead of Rudi Lancaster (co-driven by Guy Weaver in his Woolacombe Holiday Parks Escort RS1800), with Alan Walker (together with John Connor in his JWC Financial Solutions Ford Escort RS1800) fifth. Meirion Evans kick-started his class W8 title challenge when he and co-driver Gwynfor Jones collected third-place points in their Wales Motorsport Escort Mk2 on the Rallynuts.
Other crews aiming for their first class W8 podium finish of the year include Robert Gough/Jack Bowen (Escort RS1600 Mk2), Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2), Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons (who were flying in the early part of the Rallynuts in their Allglass Escort Mk2) Will Onions/Dave Williams (who survived a Rallynuts roll in their Capital Motorsport Escort Mk2), Pete Littler/Sion Cunniff (RED Preparation & Fabrication/Select Security Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2), Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Wales Motorsport-prepared Restruct Escort Mk2), Philip Clarke/Richard Bonner (Escort Mk2), and defending Historic class W8 champions Paul Street/Ian Jones (PJS Marine Escort RS1800 Mk2).
Jonathan Brace (co-driven this time by Jamie Vaughan) heads the RS1600 Mk1 contingent in his Dave Jenkins Motorsport-built Brace's Bakery Escort, with Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans and David Kirby/Martin Corbett in hot pursuit.
Having finished second in class twice, Neal James/Kevin Jones (Escort Mk2) take a 19 points W7 lead into the Plains Rally. David Roberts/Gerallt Davies won the class on the Rallynuts in their Cwm Engineering Ford Escort Mk2 and Ben and Stephen Smith did likewise on Rally North Wales, while Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim are also capable of winning the class - although head gasket and suspension issues have prevented them scoring a top result this year in their Escort Mk2.
Julian Birley/Emyr Hall (Talbot Sunbeam Ti 1600) have a great opportunity to recapture the lead of the Historic W6 class after missing the Rallynuts.
Rory McCann, co-driven by his father Paul, will also resume their Welsh title battle in their Metalways Hillman Avenger, as will Mark Tugwell/Steve Pugh in their Lotus Twin Cam engines Metalways Ford Escort Mk1 and Malcolm Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh in their 16BAO Rally Team Ford Escort Mk1.
Liam Griffiths, pictured below, (co-drive this time by Andrew Sankey) will be aiming to extend his 24-point lead at the top of the OnThePaceNote.co.uk supported Welsh Junior points table in his Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST.
This brother Callum Griffiths finished on the Welsh Junior podium last time out in only his second ever rally and he'll be aiming for another good run with co-driver William Lewis in his Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST.
Gethin Price/Matthew Baddeley lead class W3, although the gap has been closed thanks to a non-finish last time out in their Keith Price Haulage Nissan Micra. Hefin Lloyd-Davies (co-driven by Rich Jones) returns, having won the class on Rally North Wales in his Jones Bros Engineering Vauxhall Corsa. Meanwhile Dave Brick (Vauxhall Nova) and Freddy Brick (Opel Corsa) will be aiming for their first championship finish of the season.
Having scored maximum Road Rally class points last time out, Brynli Thomas/Steve Griffiths will be looking to take the lead of the category in their Peugeot 306 Rallye.
Martin Walters/Marie Fletcher have made a successful return to rallying after spending the past two years rebuilding their Honda Civic and head to the Plains aiming to extend their class W10 lead.
Organised by Knutsford & District Motor Club, the 2022 Plains Rally will see the first car leave the start ramp at 07.01 on Saturday 21 May from the Penllyn Leisure Centre in Bala. The event will contain two high-speed passes of Aberhirnant, Llangower, Alwen South, Alwen North and Clocaenog forests and after all 10 stages/44 stage miles have been completed the finish will be back in Bala from 15.00.
Spectator information is available at plainsrally.co.uk and on the Sportity app (password: PlainsRallySpectators22).
For those unable to make it to the North Wales forests in person but would still like to watch the event, the action will be live streamed on facebook.com/WELSHRALLYCHAMPIONSHIP with commentary from Howard Davies.
Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship, together with registration information, can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk
Pictures courtesy of Paul Mitchell. Please credit 'Paul Mitchell Photography' if used.
2022 Plains Rally: top 10 2WD starters
1. Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell.......Fiat Abarth 131
2. Nick Elliott/Peredur Davies.......Fiat Abarth 131
3. Matthew Robinson/Sam Collis.......Ford Escort RS
4. Henri Greham/Daniel Petrie.......Ford Escort Mk2
5. Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons.......Ford Escort Mk2
6. Will Onions/Dave Williams.......Ford Escort Mk2
7. Robert Gough/Jack Bowen.......Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2
8. Sacha Kakad/TBC....... Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2
9. Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg.......Ford Escort Mk2
10. Simon Webster/Jez Rogers.......Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2
2022 Plains Rally: top 10 4WD starters
401. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear.......Ford Fiesta R5+
402. Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster.......Å koda Fabia R5+
403. Tom Llewellin/Dale Bowen.......Mitsubishi Mirage
404. David Henderson/Chris Lee.......Ford Fiesta R5
405. James Giddings/Aled Davies.......Mitsubishi Evo 9
406. Bob Ceen/Shaun Layland.......Ford Fiesta R5
407. Bob Morgan/Ade Williams.......Å koda Fabia R5+
408. Benj Ceen/Caron Tomlinson.......Ford Fiesta R5
409. Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas.......Subaru Impreza
411. Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley.......Ford Fiesta R5
Two wins out of two for Hirst as he extends his MSUK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship lead after Rallynuts Stages victory
Matthew Hirst, picturerd, has increased his lead at the top of the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship drivers' standings after winning the Rallynuts Stages Rally.
Co-driven by Declan Dear in his Pirelli-shod Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+, Hirst was an incredible 24 seconds faster than his nearest championship rival over the opening 10.71-mile Myherin stage. By the time he'd reached the midday service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd after the morning loop of three stages, he had increased his advantage to 34 seconds.
Two more fastest stage times in the afternoon (making it four out of six in total) gave Hirst the rally win and maximum Welsh Championship points by over a minute.
There is no question that Hirst has gelled with his new Fiesta R5+ magnificently well - and whilst it looked a comfortable win, he was fortunate to notice a puncture just in time to allow him to replace it before starting the final stage, while he arrived at the final control with an oil leak.
"It couldn't have gone any better. It's been another great event for us and a great start to the season," said Hirst.
"We rebuilt the suspension on the car since the opening round [WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales] and it made a big difference right from the word go today. We had a good first stage, but I was surprised at the time and to be leading by such a margin.
"I really must thank the entire team for all the work they have done to enable us to make such a good start to the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship. It means everything when you get a result like this."
Dylan Davies, pictured, once again kept Hirst on his toes and for a second time this year finished second to maintain his second place in the overall Welsh points table. The Llanon driver struggled to find grip on the morning loop of stages, which were a little icy in places after a wintry night. Conditions were dryer and faster in the afternoon, but by then the damage had been done and the former Welsh champion and co-driver Mark Glennerster couldn't recover the earlier time lost in their Å koda Fabia R5+.
Perry Gardener, pictured, said that he'd loved every minute of the Midland Manor Motor Club organised event as he completed the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship podium will an excellent third in his Ford Fiesta R5+. Overheating brakes cost the Ludlow driver and co-driver Jack Bowen time on the opening two stages, but their confidence was restored in the afternoon as they finished the event by setting the fastest time on the final 4.73-mile Cwmysgawen stage.
Russ Thompson,pictured, also got his Welsh title challenge off to a great start with a fourth-placed points finish in his Dunnow Plant-backed Mitsubishi Evo 9. Co-driven by Stephen Link, the 2019 Welsh Championship runner-up was back to his best and was never outside the top six fastest stage times all event.
The brakes on Tom Llewellin's Brace's Bakery Mitsubishi Mirage weren't biting over the morning loop of stages, meaning that the car wasn't pitching and not cornering properly. Replacing the glazed pads and discs at midday service solved the problem and he and Ross Whittock flew in the afternoon. Third equal fastest time on the final stage saw them collect fifth-placed Welsh points.
James Giddings enjoyed a wonderful debut in his new Group N Fordpad Mitsubishi Evo 9. Co-driven by Aled Davies, the former Fiesta ST Trophy and CitroÃ«n C2 Challenge champion started strongly and then set top 10 times on each of the afternoon stages to finish ninth overall and take home sixth place Welsh points.
Bob Morgan continued his great start to the year with another fine drive in his Winner Garage Å koda Fabia R5+. He and co-driver Ade Williams caught and passed a car on SS1, caught and got stuck behind a car on SS2 and flew through all the other stages to collect eighth place Welsh points - which moves him up to fourth in the overall drivers' standings and into the lead of the Ravenol Welsh Challenge.
Benj Ceen hit his target of scoring another Welsh Championship top 10 result in only his second rally in his Ford Fiesta R5 and his first with co-driver Caron Tomlinson. After two very strong results the former Peugeot 106 Cup driver is sixth in the overall drivers' standings and third in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge.
Bob Ceen has slipped from fourth in the overall drivers' standings to ninth after his Coedwigaeth Pencelyn-backed Ford Fiesta R5+ lost turbo boost halfway through the opening stage. It was impossible for the former Welsh champion and co-driver Shaun Layland to regain all the morning's time lost, but they still salvaged a points-scoring finish. Richard Ceen/Alun Hayward also had a nightmare on SS1 when they lost over three minutes when their Ford Focus WRC05's engine stalled at the first hairpin and refused to restart. Launch controls issues later didn't help either, although they did extremely well to reach the finish.
John Caine, pictured, enjoyed another great run in his Subaru Impreza. Co-driven by Andrew Sankey, the Phil Price Rally School owner can certainly practice what he teaches as he moves into the top 10 in the overall drivers' points table and second in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge.
In just his second gravel rally in his Hyundai Power Products-backed Hyundai i20 R5, Roland Llewellin enjoyed a good run - guided successfully by Jamie Edwards on their first gravel rally together for seven years.
Paul Walker/Dan Nieroda had another fine outing in their Green Paw Subaru Impreza, as did Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe in their Subaru Impreza N12b, although Lewers Firth/Shaun Lapper retired their Firth Construction Subaru Impreza on the opening stage.
Simon Rogers had a catalogue of issues on the opening loop, including a gear linkage problem that stranded his Mitsubishi Evo 6 in third gear on the opening stage, a right rear puncture on SS2 and the wipers smearing the windscreen on SS3. He was relieved to reach midday service, where most of the problems were sorted. It allowed him and co-driver James How to enjoy a much better afternoon, albeit without a dashboard display, leaving them guessing what gear they were in.
Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley were going well but beached their Axon Ford Fiesta R5 on the outside of a corner on SS5, where they remained until a rescue vehicle arrived.
Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham, pictured below, have taken the lead in the Welsh 2WD class after a fast and trouble-free run in their Burton Power/G&B Finch/Deranged Trucks Ford Escort RS.
Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees couldn't reproduce the form at took them to 2WD class victory last time. After a mixed day that included brake bias issues with their Flying Kiwi Escort Mk2, they picked up what could still prove to be very important points but have slipped to second in the table.
Kevin Metcalfe (co-driven by Ian Jones) maintains his 2WD class challenge after another good points-scoring finish in his 3-litre BMW E30, as do Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox despite destroying the rear tyres on SS4 and having to nurse their Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325 over the remaining two stages.
Michael Sawyer lost time when he mistakenly turned the fuel pump switch off at the start line of SS1, but after that he and Gareth Price enjoyed a good run in their 2350cc Datsun 1600.
Tim Phelps/Elwyn Manuel also had a good run in their Britpart Ford Escort Mk2, while Geoff Phelps/Colin Jenkins retired their Hartpury Farms Escort with a broken differential on SS3. David Crossen/Aileen Kelly also failed to complete the opening loop in their Escort Mk2.
There was yet another magnificent battle for points in the Restruct Welsh Historic classes, with crews also fighting for a place on the end of season David Stokes Historic Challenge for drivers and the Guy Weaver Award for co-drivers' awards list.
Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell, pictured below, made it two wins out of two in the highly competitive Historic W8 class. They got off to a shaky start with some untested brake discs causing the front wheels to lock up - something that Edwards only discovered when he hit the brakes for the first corner of SS1! Having cured the problem in service, the Colwyn Bay driver absolutely flew over the afternoon stages to not only win the class but also finish 12th overall on the event and seventh in the overall Welsh Championship in their Pirelli-shod RSD-prepared Fiat Abarth 131. Edwards is also an incredible fourth in the overall drivers' standings after two rounds!
Nick Elliott finished second, 40 seconds behind Edwards, on his first event in a Fiat Abarth 131 since the 2018 Trackrod Rally. It was a bit of a learning curve and once he'd stopped trying to drive the car like his more familiar Escort Mk2, he and co-driver Peredur Davies set some impressive times in the afternoon.
Meirion Evans kick-started his Historic class W8 title challenge when he and co-driver Gwynfor Jones collected third-place points in their Wales Motorsport Escort Mk2, beating stablemates Roger Chilman/Paul Morris in their Securcom Escort Mk2 - the Hereford driver maintaining third place in the W8 points table after pushing hard after midday service.
Robert Gough/Aled Edwards finished fifth in class in their Escort RS1600 Mk2, while Michael McDaid/Declan Casey admitted to feeling rusty on their first forestry rally of 2022 but picked up sixth in class after a solid run in their McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2.
Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons had a great morning, but their afternoon was ruined by a cracked distributor cap which left their Allglass Escort Mk2 on three cylinders, dropping them down the order.
Will Onions/Dave Williams rolled their Capital Motorsport Escort Mk2 in front of the Sideways Media camera crew on SS2, but with only light damage and minimal time loss they continued to finish eighth in class, one place ahead of Rudi Lancaster/Guy Weaver in their Woolacombe Holiday Parks Escort RS1800.
Defending Historic class W8 champions Paul Street/Ian Jones maintain their title challenge after a solid run in their PJS Marine Escort RS1800 Mk2, as do Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank in their RED Preparation & Fabrication/Select Security Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2.
Alan Walker/John Connor had a great run in their JWC Financial Solutions
Ford Escort RS1800, despite the driver starting the event with a sprained ankle.
The first Escort Mk1 home was the Dave Jenkins Motorsport-built Brace's Bakery Escort RS1600 of Jonathan Brace/Paul Spooner. They won their class on the event by 43 seconds (different from the Historic class W8) and are now eighth in the Welsh class standings.
Andrew Stokes is one place behind in ninth. Co-driven by Jonny Tad Evans, he had another strong run in his Escort Mk1, while David Kirby/Martin Corbett recorded their first finish of the year, despite bending their Avenue Taxis Escort RS1600 Mk1's steering on the opening stage.
Stephen Ward/Philip Sandham (Escort Mk2) and Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy (Wales Motorsport-prepared Restruct Escort Mk2) had a good battle, the pair separated by just three seconds at the end of the event, while Philip Clarke/Richard Bonner (Escort Mk2) also picked up his second batch of good Welsh points after a strong run.
Neal James has taken the Historic class W7 lead after the Ammanford driver (co-driven by Kevin Jones) had a good run in his Escort Mk2. He was beaten to maximum points by David Roberts/Gerallt Davies, who bounced back from electrical problems on Rally North Wales to win the class in their Cwm Engineering Ford Escort Mk2.
Having fixed the head gasket issue which stopped them on Rally North Wales, Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim survived rear suspension problems and a puncture in the morning, only to retire their Escort Mk2 on the first stage in the afternoon.
Chris Squires/Shaun Hughes have moved into the joint lead of the Historic W6 class after scoring maximum class points on their first ever gravel rally. The starter motor packed up as they arrived at midday service, but their Trevor Morris Engines Ford Escort Mk2 was repaired and they never put a foot wrong on the repeat loop of stages. They are tied on points with Julian Birley/Emyr Hall (Talbot Sunbeam Ti 1600) who didn't start the Rallynuts, but who will return on the Plains Rally.
Rob Wilson won the OnThePaceNote.co.uk supported Welsh Junior category on their first event in their Ravenol Mitsubishi Evo 7. Co-driven by Richard Crozier, the Herefordshire youngster was seeded at number 51 and finished a very impressive 15th overall on his first rally in a four-wheel drive car.
Liam Griffiths/William Lewis had to settle for second after the ABS sensor on their Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST limited the car's speed to 50mph on all the afternoon loop of stages. They still lead the Welsh Junior points table, however.
Unfortunately, Liam's brother Callum (co-driven by Daniel James) broke a driveshaft on his Presteigne Tyre Services Ford Fiesta ST on SS1 - and his event came to an end when the other driveshaft snapped on SS2.
James Lepley (co-driven by Arwel Jenkins) picked up valuable Welsh Junior points, despite gearbox issues in his Escort Mk2. It was gearbox problems that forced Gethin Price/Matthew Baddeley to retire their Keith Price Haulage Nissan Micra on SS2.
Price continues to lead class W3, although Adrian and Matthew Walk have closed the gap after taking maximum points in their PartBOX Ford Ka, despite a loose damper on SS1. Ross Clements/Christopher Lear finished second in an MG ZR, a car which used to be Gwyndaf Evans' recce vehicle!
Matthew Jackson/Sasha Heriot made it two class W4 wins out of two in their Ford Fiesta R2T. Jonathan Jones is eight points behind after he and co-driver Jez Rogers lost time with overheating brakes on SS1 and a tyre coming off a rim on SS4. They finished third in class on the day to maintain their hold on second in the points table in their EDSL Sport-run Ingospec Ford Fiesta.
Having retired with electrical problems on Rally North Wales, Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan split Jackson and Jones by finishing second in class in their Seacon UK/Kielder Tools Ford Fiesta R2T, which puts them third in the standings.
Eight points behind is Yaniv Bar, who finished fourth in class - which was a great result, considering intercom problems meant that he couldn't hear co-driver Osian Owen through the morning loop of stages in his Ptravel Club Ford Fiesta R2.
Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel still lead the Road Rally class despite several spins in their Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206 GTi, two of which happened on exactly the same corner in Myherin in the morning and the afternoon!
Brynli Thomas/Steve Griffiths took full advantage of their rival's time loss to score maximum class points and move into second, just two points behind, in their Peugeot 306 Rallye. The Peugeot Sport-built car has an interesting history and has twice contested Rally Argentina.
Martin Walters/Marie Fletcher have taken the lead of class W10 and are getting more acquainted to the high-revving characteristics of their rebuilt Honda Civic. They have a 22-point advantage after defending class champions Dan Jones/Cyril Jones retired their Jones Brothers/Bradley Motorsport Vauxhall Nova with a broken driveshaft. Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield (Peugeot 306 RWD) and Michael Jenkins/Scott Dance (Peugeot 205) also failed to reach the finish.
Action streamed live from the Rallynuts Stages Rally is available to view at facebook.com/
Round 3 of the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship is the Bala-based Plains Rally on Saturday 21 May, with stages in the Aberhirnant, Llangower, Alwen and Clocaenog forests
Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship, together with registration information, can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk
Rallynuts Stages Rally - top 10 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship finishers
1. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Ford Fiesta R5+).......42mins 41secs
2. Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster (Å koda Fabia R5+).......43mins 48secs
3. Perry Gardener/Jack Bowen (Ford Fiesta R5+).......43mins 54secs
4. Russ Thompson/Stephen Link (Mitsubishi Evo 9).......44mins 26secs
5. Tom Llewellin/Ross Whittock (Mitsubishi Mirage).......44mins 42secs
6. James Giddings/Aled Davies (Mitsubishi Evo 9).......45mins 51secs
7. Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell (Fiat Abarth 131).......46mins 32secs
8. Bob Morgan/Ade Williams (Å koda Fabia R5+).......46mins 50secs
9. Rob Wilson/Richard Crozier (Mitsubishi Evo 7).......46mins 55secs
10. Benj Ceen/Caron Tomlinson (Ford Fiesta R5).......47mins 01secs
2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship
Overall drivers' points after Round 2
1. Matthew Hirst.......60pts
2. Dylan Davies.......54pts
3. Tom Llewellin.......48pts
4. Matt Edwards.......44pts
5. Bob Morgan.......41pts
6. John Caine.......39pts
For more information please contact:
Secretary, Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship
Press Officer, Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship
Pictures courtesy of Paul Mitchell. Please credit 'Paul Mitchell Photography' if used.
Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship title race hots up as more challengers aim for Rallynuts Stages victory If you thought the opening round of the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship was spectacular then just wait for Round 2, the Rallynuts Stages Rally, as title challengers Perry Gardener, pictured, and Russ Thompson, together with several more potential class champions, join the series on Saturday 9 April. Gardener made a sensational R5 debut last year when he finished fifth overall on the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally. Partnered by Jack Bowen, he returns for a crack at the Welsh title in his Ford Fiesta R5+.
Thompson finished runner-up in the 2019 Welsh Championship and he always sets his sights on victory. Co-driven by Stephen Link, he'll be keen to get his championship challenge off to a strong start in his Dunnow Plant-backed Mitsubishi Evo 9. Being unable to travel back from holiday in time forced Roland Llewellin to miss Rally North Wales, but he'll be out with Jamie Edwards for the first time this year in their Hyundai Power Products-backed Hyundai i20 R5. Also back are Harry Gardner/Elliott Graham (Mitsubishi Evo 9) and Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley (Axon Ford Fiesta R5). With the best five scores from seven rounds to count, crews have lost nothing by opting to join the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship at Round 2, apart from competition time of course. Match fit and on great form are Welsh Rally Championship leaders Matthew Hirst/ Declan Dear (Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+) after they scored a well-earned victory on the opening WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales. Dylan Davies,pictured, finished second in his Å koda Fabia on what was his first event in a top- flight R5 car for two years, so expect the 2018 Welsh champion and co-driver Mark Glennerster to be an even closer challenger for victory this time, while Tom Llewellin, who finished third last time out, will be partnered this time by Ross Whittock in his Brace's Bakery Mitsubishi Mirage.
The Ceen family trio are back in force, led by the 2001 Welsh champion Bob Ceen, pictured, (co-driven this time by Shaun Layland) who finished a magnificent fourth on Rally North Wales in his first event in his Coedwigaeth Pencelyn-backed Ford Fiesta R5+. Benj Ceen also did exceptionally well to score a top 10 result on his four-wheel drive debut. Partnered this time by Caron Tomlinson, the former Peugeot 106 Cup car driver will make his second start in a Ford Fiesta R5+. Hoping for fewer problems and a cleaner run will be Richard Ceen in his Ford Focus WRC05.
Others who impressed on Rally North Wales and return for Round 2 include the leaders of the Ravenol Welsh Challenge John Caine/Andrew Sankey (Phil Price Rally School Subaru Impreza), Bob Morgan/Ade Williams (Winner Garage Fabia R5+), Lewers Firth/Shaun Lapper (Firth Construction Subaru Impreza), Paul Walker (partnered this time by Dan Nieroda in his Green Paw Subaru Impreza) pictured, and Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe (Geoff Jones Motorsport Subaru Impreza N12b).
Simon Rogers/James How will be hoping for no mechanical issues this time in their Mitsubishi Evo 6, while Josh Taylor (co-driven this time by Gethin Sharp) could be right up there too on his second outing in his brightly coloured Pro-Bolt Subaru Impreza Nr4. Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees arrive at the Rallynuts Stages on sensational form - The Flying Kiwi taking the Welsh 2WD class lead after a stunning drive in his Escort Mk2. Ashley Davies/Sam Fordham, pictured, will be out for revenge in their Burton Power/G&B Finch/Deranged Trucks Ford Escort RS, while keen to continue their good run of form will be Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones in their 3-litre BMW E30.
Geoff Phelps/Colin Jenkins will be keen to continue their good start to the season in their Hartpury Farms Escort, while Tim Phelps/Elwyn Manuel will want to avoid punctures this time in their Britpart Ford Escort Mk2, having been forced to stop and change a flat mid-stage last time out. David Crossen/Aileen Kelly won the 2WD class twice last year and will be a force to be reckoned with as they start their Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship campaign in their Escort Mk2. The fierce battle resumes in the Restruct Welsh Historic classes - the top three finishers in each class going forward for the David Stokes Historic Challenge for drivers and the Guy Weaver Award for co-drivers special awards. Julian Birley/Emyr Hall got the defence of their Historic class W6 off to a great start with victory in their Talbot Sunbeam Ti 1600. They have opted to miss the Rallynuts and will return on the Plains Rally (Round 3 on Saturday 21 May), giving Malcolm Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh (16BAO Rally Team Ford Escort Mk1) and Chris Squires/Shaun Hughes (Ford Escort) a great opportunity to take the class lead. Neal James/Kevin Jones, Peter Hinton/Lewis Sim and David Lloyd Roberts/Gerallt Wyn Davies, all in Ford Escort Mk2s, will be hoping to steal the Historic class W7 lead away from Ben and Steven Smith, who will also return in their Amigos Ford Escort RS2000 Mk1 on the Plains Rally. You have an easier chance of picking a winner in the Grand National than you have in the Historic W8 class, such is the quality and quantity of the runners and riders. Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell won the class and finished fifth overall in their Pirelli-shod RSD-prepared Fiat Abarth 131 on Rally North Wales and are a serious title challenger for a class dominated by Escorts in recent years.
They'll be joined this time by Nick Elliott/Peredur Davies, who also start in a Fiat Abarth 131. Naturally the Escort Mk2s are very much out in force, with the likes of defending Historic class W8 champions Paul Street/Ian Jones (PJS Marine Escort RS1800 Mk2)pictured,. Roger Chilman (co-driven this time by Paul Morris in his Wales Motorsport- prepared Securcom Escort Mk2), Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons (Allglass Escort Mk2), Pete Littler/Andy Marchbank (RED Preparation & Fabrication/Select Security Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2), Will Onions/Dave Williams (Capital Motorsport Escort Mk2), Alan Walker/John Connor (Escort RS1800 Mk2), Robert Gough/Aled Edwards (Escort RS1600 Mk2), Meirion Evans/Gwynfor Jones (Wales Motorsport Escort Mk2) and Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (McDaid Pharmacy Escort RS1800 Mk2) are all very capable of scoring class victory too.
And don't underestimate the performance of the Escort Mk1, as Jonathan Brace is seventh in the W8 points table after a strong debut in his Dave Jenkins Motorsport built Brace's Bakery Escort RS1600 Mk1 - while navigator Paul Spooner is fourth in the co-drivers' section.Pictured below.
Andrew Stokes/Jonny Tad Evans, pictured, will be aiming for another good finish in their Escort Mk1, while David Kirby (co-driven this time by Martin Corbett) will be hoping to bounce back after retiring his Avenue Taxis Escort RS1600 Mk1 on the opening round.
Other Escorts to look out for include Philip Clarke/Richard Bonner and Ron Morgan/Marc Clatworthy in their stunning Wales Motorsport-prepared Restruct Escort Mk2. Liam Griffiths/William Lewis collected the Ravenol Challenge £200 prize for being the registered crew with the best improvement on seeding on Rally North Wales. Having also finished runners-up in the OnThePaceNote.co.uk supported Welsh Junior category, they'll be aiming to go one better this time in their Discover Parks Ford Fiesta ST. Liam will once again go head-to-head against his brother Callum, who is co-driven by Daniel James in his Presteigne Tyre Services Ford Fiesta ST. Gethin Price/ Matthew Baddeley had a good run on Rally North Wales in their Keith Price Haulage Nissan Micra, the car running faultlessly on its first outing after a two year rebuild.
They'll have their work cut out to keep Rob Wilson, pictured, behind them, as the young Ravenol supported driver making his first appearance of the season in his Mitsubishi Evo 7. James Lepley/Arwel Jenkins will be quick too in their Matt Johnson Prestige Escort Mk2.
Graham Thatcher/Tim Samuel, pictured,were hoping to pick up more points in the Road Rally class last time out and are in a race against time to fix the fuel leak that stopped their Pembridge Vehicle Management Peugeot 206 GTi. Brynli Thomas/Steve Griffiths aim to give them a run for their money in their Peugeot 306.
The battle for the W2 title hots up with the first appearance of the year by Adrian and Matthew Walk, who finished runners-up in the class in their PartBOX Ford Ka last year, while Freddy and Toby Brick (Vauxhall Corsa) will be aiming to close the gap on class W3 leaders Hefin Lloyd-Davies/Rich Jones (Vauxhall Corsa). After a fantastic run on Rally North Wales, Matthew Jackson/Sasha Heriot will be aiming to extend their class W4 lead in their smart Ford Fiesta R2T. Jonathan Jones (partnered this time by Jez Rogers) will be hoping for a clean run after intermittent brake problems last time out in his Ingospec Ford Fiesta, while Tony Simpson/Ian Bevan hope to get their Seacon UK/Kielder Tools Ford Fiesta repaired in time.
Dan Jones/Cyril Jones, pictured below, got the defence of their class W10 title off to a winning start in their Jones Brothers/Bradley Motorsport Vauxhall Nova, with Martin Walters/Marie Fletcher, pictured above, close behind in their rebuilt Honda Civic. They will be joined in battle by Alan Desbois/Peter Littlefield in the rapid Peugeot 306 RWD and Michael Jenkins/Scott Dance in their Peugeot 205.
Aiming for more points in both the Ravenol Welsh Challenge and 2WD class will be Andrew Fox/Jaime-Lee Fox in their Xwatch Safety Solutions BMW 325, pictured below, and Michael Sawyer/Gareth Price in their 2350cc Datsun 1600. Matthew Honeyborne, co-driven this time by Stu Thomas, was fast last time out in his Allweld Engineering BMW 328 Coupe, as were David Jones/Glyn Price in their G J Price Transport BMW E30, Alun Horn/Ian Beamond in their Escort Mk2 and Phil Jones/Ryan Griffiths in their smart blue Escort Mk2. Paul Morris/Jon Madoc Jones make their first appearance of the season in their BMW Compact.
The Midland Manor Motor Club organised Rallynuts Stages Rally on Saturday 9 April will follow its now traditional format with six stages and 44 stage miles in Myherin, Sweet Lamb/Hafren and Sarnau forests. Rally HQ, the start, midday service and finish will be at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.
Spectators are welcome at specific stage locations and more information can be found on the event's website: rallynutsrally.co.uk.
For those unable to make it to the Welsh forests in person but would like to watch the event as it happens all the action will be live-streamed on facebook.com/WELSHRALLYCHAMPIONSHIP with commentary from Howard Davies. Further details on the 2022 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship, together with registration information, can be found online at: wnrc.wamc.org.uk
Released 4th April 2022
Pictures courtesy of Paul Mitchell Photography
MotorsportUK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship
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