Competitors in Wales’s premier rally championship will be in Welshpool this weekend (Saturday 13th May) for round 3 of the series, the Plains Rally. With the opening round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and competitors able to discount their worst result of the season, everything is up for grabs. Indeed, the eventual champions may have yet to score any points.
That’s good news for defending champions Luke Francis and John H Roberts. The Rhuddlan driver and his Colwyn Bay co-driver John H Roberts find themselves in exactly that position having missed the previous event, Rally North Wales due to car problems. They will be keen to pick up a big points tally this weekend.
Current championship leaders Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss are not entered for this event so a strong performance for either Llanon driver Dylan Davies or for David Howells could see one of the Subaru Impreza drivers move to the top of the standings. As well as the threat from Francis and Roberts, however, they can expect stiff opposition from Bala based Ieuan Rowlands and Emyr Hall as well as from Lampeter’s Andy Davies partnered by reigning junior co-driving champion Max Freeman.
Other crews in contention for top honours should include Callum Black and Elliott Edmondson in their R5 specification Ford Fiesta and Keith Parry and Eryl Evans in their Impreza while Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg come fresh from victory on last weekend’s Manx National Rally in their Ford Focus World Rally Car.
While Andy Davies currently tops the standings in Group N, for less modified cars, a strong performance from Daniel Moss, Wug Utting or James Watkins could see them move to the top of the table.
We can expect a close fight for two wheel drive championship points as well. Ieuan Rowlands and Emyr Hall currently lead the way but Rudi Lancaster will be looking to keep up his challenge for the title as will another Escort driver, John Rowlands. David Young and Hywel Davies currently make it an all Escort top five but expect Colin Griffiths to try hard to spoil the Ford party in his BMW Compact.
The battle for junior driver points is set to be between current leader Rhydian Price, in his Ford Focus and Toyota Yaris mounted Ed Fossey while Hannah McKillop, in the Subaru Impreza of Ross Leach, will want to extend her advantage in the junior co-driver category.
There’s currently a four way tie in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge where points are awarded based on a driver’s performance within their class. Dylan Davies, Ieuan Rowlands, Andy Davies and Rudy Lancaster all currently have 15 points with Hywel Davies just one point back.
Competitors will leave Welshpool from 8:00am to tackle eight special stages all in the Dyfi Forest complex. Spectator information is available on the event web site, www.plainsrally.co.uk. Information about the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship is available on the series web site, www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk, the championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
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Issued 9th May 2017
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship
Local rally driver Osian Pryce, took a dominant victory in his Ford Fiesta R5 on the North Wales Rally Services, Rally North Wales as the Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship season was finally underway.
The Dolgellau based event featured six tests in the classic Dyfi and Gartheiniog forests, heavy overnight rain meant tough going on the mornings tests, standing water in abundance to catch the unwary.
There was no stopping Pryce, from Aberangell near Dolgellau, and co-driver Dale Furniss, Llanfyllin, taking fastest times on all six stages, overall victory and maximum championship points. Pryce enjoyed the win on his local event commenting, "to get valuable seat time in the car on a local event is a great confidence builder", as he prepares for his next event.
Dylan Davies, Llanon, co-driver Llion Williams made a solid start to their championship campaign. They moved into second place after Stage two, Big Ray and held position until the end, despite issues with gear selection.
The final podium position was hotly contested between three crews Andy Davies, Lampeter, David Howells, Manchester, Ieuan Rowlands, Llan Festiniog. After the morning run the Volvo-powered Escort of Rowlands held the advantage. The first-afternoon test, Garth, saw all three crews in a tie for time. Howells, returning to the sport in a Subaru Impreza held his nerve in Big Ray 2 then extended his lead on the final stage, taking third in the process from Rowlands who in turn took two-wheel drive honours. Davies, who had lost time beached on the roadside claimed fifth overall and first in Group N, for less modified cars.
Daniel Moss, Slimbridge, campaign started well taking second in Group N behind Davies, beating last year's Group N Champion Wug Utting in the process.
In the Under 23 category Hannah McKillop, Carno, leads the Co-Drivers in her first year competing in the series.
The winner of the Under 23 Driver category will receive a paid for entry on Wales Rally GB. The stakes are high.
In the Two-Wheel Drive category Rudi Lancaster, Woolacombe, had an excellent run to finish between North Wales bothers Ieuan and John Rowlands. Lancaster took the win in Class 6 and Ieuan Rowlands the win in Class 7.
There was disappointment, for one Machynlleth crew and joy for another. Alun Roberts was reported parked up just five mile into the first stage suffering driveshaft issues in the Ford Ka. Meanwhile, Hywel Davies took Class 5 victory. Championship newcomer Martin Walters, Winnersh took the Class 4 win in his Honda Civic
Rally North Wales is also the first round in the RAVENOL UK Welsh Challenge. The Challenge rewards drivers’ performances within their class. With a first prize of a £1000 worth of RAVENOL UK Motorsport products together with prizes for 2nd and 3rd places. After Rally North Wales four contenders share the lead. The prize fund valued at £3000 also includes a reward to the contender who is most improved on their start number, on Rally North Wales, John Collins Herefordshire finished 43rd from a start number of 80.
The next Round of the championship, the Plains Rally, based in Welshpool the event takes place on May 13th. You can find out more about the event on their website www.plainsrally.co.uk and about the Championship, including full Championship and Ravenol Welsh Challenge points, on www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk. You can also keep up to date with the Championship on the Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
Dated 2nd April 2017
Note To Editors: Credit for the attached pics should be given to Rallysportmedia.com
Rally North Wales offers competitors a first chance to score points in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship following the unfortunate cancellation of the opening round, the Cambrian Rally, due to extreme weather conditions.
While reigning champions Luke Francis from Rhuddlan and John H Roberts of Colwyn Bay will be absent a number of crews will be intent on securing maximum points as they launch their Championship challenge, not least Lampeter pairing Dylan Davies and Llion Willliams in their Subaru Impreza.
Others in search of top honours will include Andy Davies and Max Freeman in the Llanarth Auto Services Impreza. In similar Subarus are Nev Jones and Chris Davies and 2016 Championship runners up Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe, who will also be looking to retain their Group N title. Simon Dalton and Steve Turvey will also be Subaru mounted as will youngsters James Watkins and Chris Whittall.
The two wheel drive category looks set to be close fought once again this season and among the front runners expect to see the BMW Compact of Colin and Martin Griffiths among the more distinctive contenders. Their rivals will include Bala’s John Rowlands and co-driver Glenn Latham in their Ford Escort along with the similar car of Ieaun Rowlands and Emyr Hall. Watch out too for the crowd pleasing, Toyota engined Ford Ka of Alun Roberts and Rhodri Evans.
There will be an added incentive this year for drivers in the junior category with the news that the top driver under 23 at the end of the season will receive a free entry on the National Rally at Wales Rally GB as part of the Road to Wales initiative of the World Rally Championship rounds organisers, IMS. The classic North Wales stages this weekend will be the perfect preparation for whoever is the ultimate winner of that prize.
Once again hi-tech lubricant manufacturers RAVENOL will run their Welsh Challenge in conjunction with the Championship with a lucrative prize fund on offer to competitors through the course of the season based on their performance within their classes.
The first car will leave the start line on Saturday morning at Gwyndaf Evans Motors in Dolgellau at 09:00 hours with the rest of the crews flagged away at minute intervals. Details of the tree spectator car parks on the route, which will be familiar to followers of Wales Rally GB can be found on the event website, rallynorthwales.co.uk.
The Championship contenders may have had to wait a little longer than usual to get their campaigns underway but the battle looks set to be closer and more exciting than ever.
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Issued 27th March 2017
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship