Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship debutants Nick Elliott and Dave Price took maximum points on the second round of the year, the North Wales Rally Services Rally North Wales on Saturday(March 24th). However, it was another Historic spec Mark 2 Escort mounted crew, Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss, who retained the series lead after finishing in third place.
This year’s Championship has attracted a record number of registered drivers already this season and looks destined to set a new high for registered co-drivers. So, it was a strong Championship field that headed out from the Dolgellau start.
The early lead was claimed by Ieaun Rowlands and Emyr Hall, but they were forced out of the event on the second stage with distributor failure on their Hillman Avenger. That promoted Elliott and Price to a lead that they would not concede for the remainder of the day. They faced stiff opposition, however, from Pryce and Furniss who had switched from the modern Mitsubishi Mirage R5 that they took to victory on the opening round the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally. They might even have repeated their victory on this event last year were it not for a puncture late on in the event.
Second place overall went to Dylan Davies and Llion Williams. The Subaru Impreza crew headed the four-wheel drive field throughout the day to also claim second overall in the Championship standings, their cause being assisted when the Impreza of Andy Davies and Max Freeman suffered turbo failure on the third stage. Second place among the four-wheel drive contenders went to Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. Despite his relative inexperience, Hirst leads the under 23 drivers’ category and the crew head the standings in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge.
Third place in the Championship is held by John Rowlands and Glenn Latham who finished top of the modern specification two-wheel drive cars in their Mark 2 Escort. They finished ahead of the Historic specification Escort of Alan Walker who was nonetheless pleased with his performance in such a competitive field. Another very happy driver was Alun Roberts, he and co-driver Aled Edwards claiming a big points haul in their Ford Ka. The finished just ahead of the Fiesta of Max Utting. The Surrey driver saw his stage times improve throughout the day and believes there is more to come.
Meanwhile, Max’s dad, Wug, and co-driver Bob Stokoe took top points in Group N, for less modified cars. Paul Davy and Roger Allen continue to top the Championship standings in Group N in their similar Impreza. That is despite the fact that they discovered during the course of the day that there was nothing connecting their near side from wheel to the differential and so they were effectively competing in a three-wheel drive car on the closing stages. An impressive third place in Group N and class win went to the Fiesta ST of late entrants Kalvin Green and Tom Wood who now lie second in the Group N standings.
The battle of the BMWs in the two-wheel drive category went to the Compact of Colin Griffiths, reigning champions Andrew and Jamie-Lee Fox reporting a lack of grip for their 325i which meant they spent much of the day looking through their side windows to see where they were going. Meanwhile long time Welsh Clubman’s Championship competitors David Jones and Glyn Price finished third in class in their BMW.
Among other contenders to put in strong performances were David Lloyd Roberts who claimed maximum class points in his Ford Escort, as did Perry Gardener in his Nova. 2017 Junior Champion Rhydian Price in his Fiesta was particularly pleased with the start to his 2018 campaign.
Steve Deeley receives a RAVENOL voucher the Peugeot 205GTi driver picking up the award for the biggest improvement on seeding while a second RAVENOL voucher goes to Graham Palmer, the Escort driver competing on his very first event.
The next round of the Championship is the Rallynuts Stages Rally. The Builth Wells based event, organised by Midland Manor Motor Club, takes place on April 14th.
Issued 27th March 2018
With the second round of the 2018 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, the Grooms Garage Mid Wales Stages, postponed due to weather conditions, this weekend’s North Wales Rally Services Rally North Wales (24th March) offers competitors their second chance to score points in the series.
The opening round, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, saw Osian Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss pick up maximum points in the overall championship. Behind the wheel of a four-wheel drive Mitsubishi Mirage for that season opener, this weekend they have opted to take on the massed ranks of two-wheel drive machinery in a Mark 2 Ford Escort.
Dylan Davies is currently six points behind Pryce and he and co-driver Llion Williams, both from Lampeter, will be looking to close the gap to the top of the table in their Subaru Impreza.
Driving another four wheel-drive Impreza, Andy Davies, who missed the Cambrian will be keen to get his Championship challenge underway. The Bryncrug driver will be teamed up with co-driver Max Freeman in a Subaru Impreza.
Freeman, from Stafford, was 2016 Champion junior co-driver and 2017 Group N Champion co-driver. He took outright victory on the Cambrian Rally alongside Derbyshire driver Ollie Mellors, but the team were ineligible for Championship points.
Former Group N Champions Paul Davy and Roger Allen took the honours among the less modified cars in round 1. Their challengers this weekend will include Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe who were absent from the Cambrian. Like Andy Davies, Surrey driver Utting led the overall Championship standings for part of last season.
Interest in the two-wheel drive category of the Championship continues to grow with nearly forty Championship contenders scheduled to cross the start ramp on Saturday morning. John Rowlands leads the two-wheel drive standings. He and co-driver Glenn Latham took top honours on the Cambrian in their Escort following a late puncture for the Hillman Avenger of John’s brother Ieuan, partnered by Emyr Hall. With Osian Pryce in contention for two-wheel drive points other Escort mounted crews include Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver and Norfolk pairing David and James Young.
Others to watch out for include the distinctive Fiat 131 of Barry Jordan and Paul Wakely while Brynmor Pierce and Alan Jones opt for front wheel-drive in their Ford Fiesta ST. 2017 two-wheel drive champions Andrew and Jamie-Lee Fox will be continuing the defence of their title in their venerable BMW 325i while Worcester’s Colin Griffiths will be out in his BMW Compact.
The RAVENOL Welsh Challenge is a new addition to the Championship this season and is open to competitors who have not previously finished in the top 10 overall on a Championship round. Matthew Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear currently top the standings in their Mitsubishi Evo IX
With an array of classic North Wales stages ahead of them for a second time this season, a strong line up of Championship contenders face a challenge worthy of Wales’s premier Rally Championship as they head away from the Dolgellau start.
With two-wheel drive cars leaving the start-line at Gwyndaf Evans Motors from 7.30am and four-wheel drive heading out from the town’s Farmers’ Market from 1.20pm, spectators will have the chance to view the action in both the Geoff Jones Motorsport Big Ray stage and in “Tim Hobbs” Gartheiniog.
Full spectator information is available on the event web site, www.rallynorthwales.co.uk and more about the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship’s Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
Issued 20th March 2018
Note to Editors: Credit Image RallySport Media.
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship
Competitors in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship are back in action on Sunday (4th March) just two weeks on from the opening round of the season.
Osian Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss took maximum points on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally but, in their absence this weekend, a number of their rivals will be looking to close the gap in the championship standings with a strong performance on the Newtown based Grooms Garage Mid Wales Stages.
Among those crews are Lampeter duo Dylan Davies and Llion Williams who finished in fourth place on the opening round. Llangefni’s Keith Parry and Eryl Evans, from Aberystwyth, are two points behind them and will be looking to improve on that opening round performance.
Both pairings can expect a strong challenge, however, from Bryncrug drive Andy Davies, also in a Subaru Impreza, who will make his first Championship appearance of the year teamed up with co-driver Max Freeman.
Freeman, from Stafford, took outright victory on the Cambrian Rally alongside Derbyshire driver Ollie Mellors but the team were ineligible for Championship points.
Another driver making his first appearance of the year will be Surrey’s Wug Utting and co-driver Bob Stokoe. Like Andy Davies, Utting led the Championship standings for part of last season but will also be looking to claim points in the Group N category for less modified cars in his Impreza. Wug’s son Max will also be in action along with co-driver Mike Ainsworth in their Ford Fiesta ST.
Other front runners should include West Country husband and wife pairing Martyn and Dawn England in their R5 specification Ford Fiesta and Championship stalwart Geoff Cottrill teamed up with Nathan Crew in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.
The Group N standings are currently led by former champions Paul Davy and Roger Allen, both from Worcester while looking to come back from a non-finish on the opening round are Staffordshire driver Nev Davies and co-driver Chris Jones from Newbridge-on-Wye, also in an Impreza.
The two-wheel drive category one again looks set for a hard-fought battle with Newark driver Barry Jordan and Newcastle Emlyn’s Paul Wakely taking on the ranks of the Ford Escorts and BMWs in their Fiat 131.
Among the Escort crews will be Gary Smith and Newtown’s Jonny ‘Tad’ Evans while looking to uphold BMW honours will be 2017 two-wheel drive champions Andrew and Jamie-Lee Fox as well as Worcester’s Colin Griffiths with a yet to be named co-driver.
The RAVENOL Welsh Challenge is a new addition to the Championship this season and is open to competitors who have not previously finished in the top 10 overall on a Championship round. With the season long prize fund valued at more than £3000 there will be plenty of crews keen to rise to the challenge.
Crews on the event, organised by Newtown and District Automobile Club, will leave the start line at the town’s Hafren Theatre from 9am to tackle five special stages before returning to the Theatre from 3:30pm. Spectators will be able to see the cars in action at the Sweet Lamb Rally Complex.
ISSUED 24TH FEBRUARY 2018
Note to Editors: Credit for the pic: rallysport media
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship
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