Competitors in Wales’s premier rally championship will be in Welshpool on Saturday 13 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 and 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.