Competitors in the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship head to Builth Wells this weekend for the sixth round of the series, the Nicky Grist Stages, with Ben Llewellin leading the overall drivers, standings by seven points. With competitors counting the six best scores from the eight-round series the battle both for overall honours and for the various classes remains wide open.
It was Russ Thompson who took maximum points in the season opener, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally. After missing the next round and failing to finish round three he has come back to take two second places in the most recent rounds and currently lies in third place.
The second event of the year was Rally North Wales and that produced a first ever outright victory for 2018 Junior Champion Matthew Hirst who lies in second place behind Ben Llewellin. Rounds three and four, the Rallynuts Stages and the Plains Rally produced back to back maximum points scores for Scott Faulkner. Scott had finished in second place on the opening round but has missed two events and is in fourth place after five rounds.
The most recent round, the Red Kite Stages saw 2019 Champion Dylan Davies return to the sport after an eight-month break and immediately get back to his winning ways, picking up maximum points.
It is consistency that has paid off for Ben Llewellin, son of double British Rally Championship David Llewellin, however, as he has driven his Historic specification Ford Escort to the top of the table with three rallies to go.
Topping the overall co-driver standings is Declan Dear who is fifteen points clear of Jim Lewis with Andy Murphy two points further back.
Wug Utting heads the Group N category while Russ Thompson lies in second place ahead of Scott Faulkner. Bob Stokoe is top placed Group N co-driver ahead of Andy Murphy and Gareth Parry.
Tom Llewellin holds first place among the two-wheel drive runners, 21 points clear of fellow Escort driver Chris Powell while Hywel Davies lies third in his Escort. Jim Lewis leads the way among the two-wheel drive co-drivers from Tom Murphy and Simon Jones.
Llewellin also leads the Junior driver category, sponsored by OnthePaceNote.com, with Gethin Price and Zak Hughes second and third respectively.
Tom Murphy leads the Junior co-drivers from Rhys Stoneman who suffered his second successive retirement from a Championship round on the last event. Third place is held by Keaton Williams despite his absence from the previous round.
Tom Llewellin holds a commanding lead in the drivers’ category of the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge with a 51 points advantage over Josh Taylor although only four points separate Taylor from third placed Andy Fox.
Things are closer in the co-drivers’ section of the Challenge, leader Tom Murphy just nine points clear of Simon Jones and Jessica Hockly a further five points back in third place.
The Mid Wales stages that face the crews this weekend are always popular among the competitors and they could have a big say in the ultimate destination of many of the Championship awards up for grabs at the end of the season.
You can find out more about this weekend’s rally, organised by Quinton Motor Club, at www.nickygriststages.co.uk and about the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook Page and on Twitter @WnRC.