The organisers of the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Stage Rally Championship have confirmed that they will continue to enjoy the support of the market leading tyre manufacturers as title sponsors while also unveiling a raft of new initiatives for the 2020 series.
The Championship calendar will start off with the Llandudno based Cambrian Rally on February 8th. The North Wales event will include classic stages in the Conwy area which, like the majority of the stages throughout the Championship, have benefitted from the maintenance programme carried out by Rally4Wales.
Round two is Rally North Wales on 28h March based in Dolgellau the event features some of the most iconic stages in the Dyfi forest complex.
Mid Wales is the base for third round of the Championship, Rallynuts Stages Rally, on April 18th, as last year the event organisers are promising some exciting changes to the route.
Round 4, on May 16th is the Plains Rally, another event with major changes planned, reduced road mileage and a central servicing.
As the Championship moves into the second half of its season it’s down to South Wales with competitors getting a rare chance to tackle the challenging stages in and around the Neath Valley on the Red Kite Stages, taking place on June 14th.
Round 6 takes competitors to Builth Wells for the popular Nicky Grist Stages on 11th July while the penultimate round takes them over the border to England. While the start of the Woodpecker Stages on 5th September may be in Ludlow, however, the bulk of the stages will be in Wales, specifically Radnor Forest.
The Championship concludes in the Forest of Dean with the Wyedean Stage Rally on 17th October.
Confirming the calendar and the series sponsorship, Dave Evison, Championship Secretary commented, “As an organising team we are delighted to be able to once again offer our competitors the opportunity to tackle some of the best rally stages in the country on events with a minimum of four weeks between each, easing budget and repair concerns. We are, of course, hugely grateful to Pirelli along with all our other sponsors, including the continued support of RAVENOLUK. We believe that the continued backing of such prestigious companies is a tribute to the superb events that the organisers put on and the competitive nature of our Championship. Meanwhile we have exciting plans for our Under 25 competitors with fantastic prizes, on offer in conjunction with OnThePaceNote.co.uk, for the winning Juniors.
Dave confirmed that the team, who welcomes Will Rogers, have been working hard to build on last year’s success with its focus firmly to offer contenders a professional yet friendly championship with great competition and outstanding media coverage, expect an announcement soon.
Also new for this year is an online championship registration form which can be found in the competitor’s section of the championship website together with the championship regulations. Competitors who are urged to register online can do so at https://bit.ly/2FJC0MW
For more information on the championship please visit www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk
The Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages saw the battle for maximum Championship points in the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship go right down to the final stage. The outcome also means that the overall drivers’ title, along with many of the other Championship awards, will not be decided until November and the final round of the series, the Wyedean Stages Rally.
With competitors heading out from Ludlow Racecourse to tackle five special stages, it was a short-lived event for Championship contenders Matt Hirst and Declan Dear, their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX succumbing to engine problems on the opening stage.
As the cars emerged from that opening stage it was Scott Faulkner and Gareth Parry who led the way ahead of Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy, with Richard Hill and Steffan Evans third among the Championship runners.
When the cars returned to service after two stages, Thompson and Murphy had moved ahead of fellow Evo IX runners Faulkner and Parry with Hill and Evans still third in their Subaru Impreza. Faulkner and Parry were quickest on stage three by a single second, but Thompson and Murphy retained their lead.
Another quick run through stage four saw Faulkner and Parry head into the final test in Radnor Forest with a three second advantage. A spin for them on that stage, however, meant that when the cars returned to the finish at the Racecourse it was Thompson and Murphy who took the win by 13 seconds, Hill and Evans finishing in third place behind Faulkner and Parry.
The overall Championship points table for drivers still shows Tom Llewellin with the highest points tally in his Mark II Ford Escort but, with competitors only allowed to count their top six scores from the eight Championship rounds, the amended totals show Thompson with a fifteen point lead over Llewellin while Hirst and Faulkner third and fourth respectively. As a result of this, Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy win the free entry on Wales Rally GB National Rally, provided by Motorsport UK as part of their Road to Wales initiative.
While Tom Llewellin cannot now catch Thompson, both Hirst and Faulkner can still do so depending on the outcome of the Wyedean Rally.
Tom Llewellin may have lost the opportunity to take the outright title but there was no small consolation for the youngster as he secured the overall two wheel drive title, sponsored by lightninghouse.co.uk to add to the junior title, backed by onthepacenote.co.uk and the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for drivers, which he had already claimed. With his two-wheel drive victory comes a made-to-measure HRX Tutor race suit provided by lightninghouse.co.uk.
The overall co-drivers’ title is now a three-way fight between Andy Murphy, Declan Dear and Gareth Parry while in Group N, the drivers’ title is a straight two-way fight between the current points leader Wug Utting in his Subaru Impreza and second placed Russ Thomson with their respective co-drivers, Bob Stokoe and Andy Murphy
While Tom Llewellin has secured the overall two-wheel drive award, the separate awards for front and rear wheel drive have still to be resolved. Among the co-drivers in two-wheel drive cars, just six points separate Tom Murphy and Jim Lewis with the destination of the HRX race suit that comes with that title still to be settled.
The fight for runners up spot among the junior drivers is a close one with just a single point separating Zak Hughes and Gethin Price. Tom Murphy holds a fourteen point lead in the junior co-drivers’ standings but three others still hold at least a mathematical chance of taking the title.
Andy Fox or Josh Taylor could still claim the runner up spot in the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge and while the Woodpecker saw Tom Murphy clinch the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge for co-drivers there are six other co-drivers who could yet finish as runner-up to him.
The final round of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship is the Wyedean Stages Rally on November 9th. There is more information about that event of the official web site, wyedeanstages.co.uk and about the Championship on wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter, @WnRC.
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Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship
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