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.
A thrilling third round, The Rallynuts Stages Rally, of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship saw Scott Faulkner and Gareth Parry take maximum points by just a single second following 45 miles of special stages.
It was round two winners Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear who took the lead on the opening stage in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, two seconds ahead of Faulkner and Parry in their Group N version of the same car. Third place was held by Richard Hill and Steff Evans in their Subaru Impreza. The stage spent the end of the rally, however, for round one winners Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy, who rolled their Mitsubishi.
Hirst and Dear extended their lead by a further second on stage two only for Faulkner and Parry to pull that second back on stage three. As the cars came into the service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground following four stages the gap was back out to three seconds. Into third place by this point were Graham Middleton and Steven McPhee, the pairing starting to get to grips with their R5 specification Mitsubishi Mirage they were destined to hold that place to the finish.
A puncture for Faulkner and Parry on stage five saw them drop a further six seconds but the rally was finally decided on the penultimate corner of the final stage where a spin by Hirst and Dear saw their rivals slip through to take the win by the narrowest possible margin.
That victory moves Scott Faulkner into third place in the overall championship standings, five points back from Matthew Hirst and Tom Llewellin who are tied for the lead. Declan Dear tops the co-drivers’ table ahead of Gareth Parry with Jim Lewis in third place.
As well as topping the overall standings on the event, Scott Faulkner and Gareth Parry also claimed maximum points in the Group N category for less modified cars. He is tied at the top of the Group N table with Wug Utting who finished second in the category on the event. Their respective co-drivers, Gareth Parry and Bob Stokoe are also tied at the top of their table.
An Impressive performance in the 1400cc MG ZR saw Callum Black and Michael Gilbey take maximum points among a strong two-wheel drive field but it’s Ford Escort driver Tom Llewellin who continues to top the driver standings ahead of Talbot Sunbeam pilot Chris Powell who is two points clear of Hywel Davies. Jim Lewis leads the co-driver category by just two points from Simon Jones with Tom Murphy a further three points back.
Tom Llewellin also leads the junior driver category ahead of Gethin Price with Zak Hughes third while among the junior co-drivers, Rhys Stoneman holds a five point lead over Tom Murphy while Keaton Williams is third.
It’s Llewellin who also leads the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for drivers, currently some 19 points clear of Hywel Davies while Josh Taylor is four points further back in third place. Things are closer in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for co-drivers where Simon Jones holds a four points advantage over Tom Murphy who, in turn, is six points clear of Johnny Tad Evans.
The next round of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship is the Plains Rally on May 11th. More information about that can be found at www.plainsrally.co.uk while there is information about the Championship at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter, @WnRC.
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Issued 15th April 2019
Credit for the image : Rallysportmedia.com
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship
Competitors in the 2019 Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship tackle the third round in the series, the Rallynuts Stages this weekend (13th April) with the first two rounds, the Cambrian Rally and Rally North Wales having produced strong results from some of the younger championship contenders.
It’s 18-year-old Tom Llewellin, driving a Mark 2 Escort, who currently heads the overall driver standings while 2018 Junior champion Matthew Hirst bounced back from a non-finish on the opening round to claim his first ever overall rally win on Rally North Wales. The Mitsubishi Evo IX driver now shares second place with another Escort driver, Damian Pratts, ahead of Hywel Davies and round one winner Russ Thompson.
Both Tom Llewellin and Matthew Hirst will come to the event fresh from participating in one of the Championship’s programme of training days for Junior competitors which was held at the Sweet Lamb Complex last weekend.
Jonny Tad Evans tops the co-driver standings with Declan Dear in second place and Mark Glennerster third.
The Group N standings are headed by Fiesta ST duo Rhydian Price and Stephen Brown, but they are just two points ahead of Round 2 winners Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe and opening round victors Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy.
The two-wheel drive category is supported by Motorsport retailers LightningHouse and Racewear manufacturers HRX and has attracted strong entries, producing hard fought battles already this season.
Top of the drivers’ table is Tom Llewellin, ahead of Damian Pratts with Hywel Davies third. There are plenty of other two-wheel drive competitors who will be looking this weekend to force their way into the top placings. Among them are Escort pilot Owen McMackin, BMW driver Colin Griffiths and Hillman Avenger specialist Barry Jordan.
Just two points separate the top three in the two-wheel drive co-driver standings, Jonny Tad Evans leading the way from Ian Jones and Simon Jones.
Tom Llewellin leads the Junior driver category from Gethin Price and Zak Hughes, while Rhys Stoneman is currently top junior co-driver ahead of Tom Murphy and Will Atkins.
It’s also Llewellin who leads the drivers section of the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge with a three point advantage over Damian Pratts. Hywel Davies is a further five points back in third place.
Jonny Tad Evans tops the co-driver standings from Ian Jones and Simon Jones.
Competitors on the rally, organised by Midland Manor Motor Club, will leave the start at the Royal Welsh Showground from 8:30 am to tackle a total of six special stages. Full spectator information can be found on the event web site, rallynutsrally.co.uk while you can learn more about the Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship on their website, wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
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Issued 9th April 2019
Credit for the images rallysportmedia.com
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship
2018 Pirelli Welsh Junior Rally Champion Matthew Hirst was “over the moon” to claim his first ever outright victory on the weekend’s (30th March) Rally North Wales. In doing so, he and co-driver Declan Dear claimed maximum points on the second round of the 2019 Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship in their Mitsubishi Evo IX.
Following the event, the young Doncaster driver commented, “it will take a week for what I have achieved to sink in.” Meanwhile, second place went to Ieuan Rowlands from Llan Ffestiniog and Corwen’s Emyr Hall. The Ford Escort mounted duo put in a late charge to snatch the position from Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss, turning a 7 second deficit at the half way stage of the event into a 2 second advantage at the finish.
With Pryce, of Machynlleth and Llanfyllin’s Furniss taking third place points, fourth spot went to Harry Gardner and Elliot Graham who were competing on gravel for the first time in two years.
Ffestiniog driver John Rowlands and co-driver Caron Tomlinson took fifth place points despite what they described as a wrong tyre choice in the first half of the rally. Sixth place, however, was enough to secure the overall championship lead for 18-year-old Pembrokeshire driver Tom Llewellin.
Llewellin also took the lead in the highly competitive two-wheel drive class. The class is being supported this season by Lightning House and HRX and the prize package on offer is attracting bumper entries. Second place in the category is held by fellow Ford Escort driver Damian Pratts while his Newtown based co-driver Johnny Tad Evans heads the overall, as well as the two-wheel drive co-driver standings, lying just a single point ahead of both Declan Dear and Mark Glennerster in the overall classifications.
Wug Utting took Group N honours among the less modified cars despite the Surrey based Subaru Impreza driver and co-driver Bob Stokoe reporting that they had got “a bit too close” to a big drop in the Cwm Celli stage. The championship Group N standings are headed, however, by Machynlleth driver Rhydian Price and co-driver Steven Brown who finished second in the category in their Ford Fiesta ST.
Tom Llewellin heads the Junior driver category from Machynlleth’s Gethin Price, driving a Nissan Micra while it’s Rhys Stoneman, from Ystradgynlais who tops the Junior co-driver standings.
Tom also leads the drivers in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge, three points clear of Damian Pratts with Hywel Davies of Machynlleth third. The co-driver category in the Challenge is headed by Johnny Tad Evans from Mold man Simon Jones and Ian Jones of Abergele.
Competitors have only a short break to re-fettle their machinery before they head to Builth Wells for round 3 of the Championship, the Rallynuts Stages Rally on April 13th. More information on that event is available at www.rallynutsrally.co.uk while more on the Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship can be found at https://wnrc.wamc.org.uk/, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
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Issued April 1st 2019
Credit for the Photograph given to www.rallysportmedia.com
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship
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