The Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship gets underway this weekend (16th Feb) with the Llandudno based Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally. With the return of Pirelli as title sponsors, along with RAVENOL’s continued support of the Clubman competitors, the Championship looks set to follow up its thriller 2018 season with another bumper year.
It was Dylan Davies who took the 2018 title taking the Championship on countback after tying on points with BRC and BTRDA Champion Matt Edwards. It was a similar outcome in the co-driver category, Llion Williams just pipping Darren Garrod.
While Dylan will be absent from this event, Llion teams up with Ford Escort driver John Rowlands. Matt Edwards will also be out on the event teamed with Patrick Walsh in their R5 specification Ford Fiesta. Meanwhile, 2018 RAVENOL Welsh Challenge winner and Junior Champion driver Matthew Hirst teams up once again with RAVENOL Welsh Challenge winning co-driver Declan Dear in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.
Making a return to the series are 2003 Champion driver Brian Bell and 2009 champion co-driver Paul Spooner in their R5 specification Ford Fiesta. 2018 Group N champion duo Scott Faulkner and Gareth Parry will begin the defence of the title in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, with opposition coming from, amongst others, the similar car of Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy.
Among the Subaru Impreza mounted contenders are Keith Gapper and Jordan Wilkinson along with Ron Hall and Phil Spilsted.
The two-wheel driver category enjoys additional support this year from North Wales based motorsport retailer Lightninghouse and a healthy entry for this opening round suggests a fiercely fought season for the category once again.
With 2018 Champion Max Utting not entered for this opening round, a whole host of crews will be looking to grab an early advantage in the Championship points table. Amongst those crews are Welshpool’s Zak Hughes teamed with South Wales co-driver Tom Woods in their Ford Fiesta ST, and Merseyside based stand-up comic and presenter of the Absolute Rally podcast Tony Simpson, also in a Fiesta. Another Fiesta ST is that of North Wales duo Rhydian Price and Steven Brown while among an interesting array of rear-wheel drive competitors is Tom Llewellin, son of former British Champion and Welsh rallying legend David Llewellin, in an historic specification Mark 2 Escort. The slightly more mature pairing of Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg will be out in a similar car.
Providing some opposition to the Ford machinery will be the Hillman Avenger of Baz Jordan and Paul Wakely along with the Peugeot 206 of Damian Thomas and Paul Bevan.
With the junior category of the Championship enjoying support from onthepacenote.com and most of the individual classes boasting strong entries, there should be plenty of stories to follow throughout the day.
The Cambrian Rally may be just the first round of eight in a calendar that takes us all the way through to November but, as last year’s title battle proved, every point can count so expect all the Championship contenders to be on the pace from stage one.
Information on where to see the cars in action can be found on the rally website, cambrianrally.co.uk and you can find our more about the Championship at wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter, @WnRC.
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Issued 10th February 2019
Pictured Dylan Davies Llion Williams 2018 Champions Image RallySportMedia
The organisers of the Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Forest Rally Championship have confirmed that they will continue to enjoy the support of the market leading tyre manufacturers as title sponsors while also unveiling their calendar for the 2019 series.
The Championship will kick off with the Cambrian Rally on February 16th. The Llandudno based event will include some of the classic North Wales 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 30th March with the Dolgellau based event once again featuring some of the most iconic stages in the Rallying world.
Competitors move to Mid Wales for the third round of the Championship and the Builth Wales based Rallynuts Rally Stages on April 13th.
Round 4, on May 11th is the Plains Rally, the 53rd running of the Welshpool based event.
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 23rd.
Round 6 takes competitors to the Royal Welsh Showground for the Nicky Grist Stages on 13th July while the penultimate round takes them over the border to England. While the start of the Woodpecker Stages on 31stAugust may be in Ludlow, however, the bulk of the stages will be in Wales, specifically Radnor Forest.
The Championship concludes with the Wyedean Stage Rally on November 9th and the reserve event for 2019 is the National Rally of Wales Rally GB on October 4th and 5th.
Confirming the calendar and the series sponsorship, Championship coordinator Dave Evison 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, if not the world. We are, of course, hugely grateful to Pirelli along with all our other sponsors for their support including the continued support of RAVENOL. 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 are introducing a number of new initiatives to reward our competitors because without them there would be no Championship.
Event Date Event Organising Club
16 Feb Cambrian Rally North Wales Car Club Ltd
30 Mar Rally North Wales Wolverhampton and South Staffs Car Club
13 Apr Rallynuts Rally Stages Midland Manor Motor Club
11 May Plains Rally Knutsford and District Motor Club
23 Jun Red Kite Stages Amman and District Motor Club Ltd
13 Jul Nicky Grist Stages Quinton Motor Club Ltd
31 Aug Woodpecker Stages Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club
4/5 Oct Wales Rally GB National (Reserve Event)
9 Nov Wyedean Stages Forest Of Dean Motor Club Ltd
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ISSUED 10TH JANUARY 2019
Issued by Peter Hughes Media on behalf of the Pirelli MotorsportUK Welsh Rally Championship.