Competitors in the 2019 Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship reach the half way point in the series this weekend when they take on the 53rd running of the Plains Rally organised by Knutsford and District Motor Club.
As they head to the start of the event in Oswestry, two of the youngest drivers in the Championship currently share the overall series lead. 2018 Junior champion Matthew Hirst took his first outright rally win on the second event of the series, the North Wales Rally, but missed out on making it back to back maximum points scores by just one second on the next event, the Rallynuts Stages.
An overshoot by Hirst in his Mitsubishi Evo VI on the penultimate corner of the event cost him the top points tally with that going to Scott Faulkner in a similar, but Group N specification, car. While that moves Faulkner up to third place in the standings, Hirst shares the lead with 18-year-old Tom Llewellin. Tom, son of double British Rally Champion David Llewellin, has put in some impressive performances in his less powerful, historic specification Mark II Ford Escort to hold that joint lead.
In the co-driver category it is Declan Dear who tops the table with a seven-point advantage over Gareth Parry while Jim Lewis lies third, a further eight points back.
There is also a tie at the top of the Group N table, Faulkner sharing the lead with Surrey driver Wug Utting while Rhydian Price trails them by just a single point. Their respective co-drivers make up the top three in that category, Gareth Parry and Bob Stokoe sharing the lead, one point clear of Stephen Brown.
The strongly supported two-wheel drive class is headed by Tom Llewellin, followed by Chris Powell and Hywel Davies. Top two-wheel drive co-driver is Jim Lewis ahead of Simon Jones and Tom Murphy.
Llewellin also leads the junior driver category from Gethin Price and Zak Hughes while the Junior co-driver standings are topped by Rhys Stoneman from Tom Murphy and Keaton Williams.
It’s also Llewellin who leads the way in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for drivers with Hywel Davies second and Josh Taylor third. Simon Jones heads the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for co-drivers four points ahead of Tom Murphy with Jonny Tad Evans in third place.
Competitors will set out from the Wynnstay Hotel in Oswestry from 8.00am to tackle five classic Welsh forest stages in Dyfnant, Aberhirnant and Llangower.
Spectator information is available on the event web site, www.plainsrally.co.uk while more information about the Pirelli Motorsport UK Forest Rally Championship can be found at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook pages and on Twitter @WnRC.