Nicky Grist Stages entries are open and the BTRDA and Welsh Championship event will be first in Wales to run with relaxed split-field seeding.
Entries are now open for the Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 14 July with the official event Regulations and Entry forms published on-line at nickygriststages.co.uk.
This year’s Quinton MC-organised event will be the only rally to use Halfway and Route 60 this year – while the famous Crychan stage will be in prime condition, as will a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which will be used for rallying for the very first time.
With service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, this year’s event will offer competitors 45 miles of outstanding forest stages in a compact, all-action and no-nonsense route.
The 2018 Nicky Grist Stages will also be the first event in Wales to run under the new seeding guidelines, which sees a relaxation of the current ruling on seeding in the order of anticipated performance.
The new ruling, which comes into force on July 1, will allow lower-powered cars like the BTRDA 1400 class and the Rally First Championship competitors to once again run at the front of the field – giving them improved road conditions and quite literally a level playing field on which to compete on.
The classes running at the front of the field will be 1400S, 1400C, RF 1.4, RF 1.6, RF 2.0 and H1/2. This seeding system had, in previous years, attracted a large number of competitors, right across the classes.
This year’s Nicky Grist Stages will count towards a number of major championships, including the 2018 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, incorporating the BTRDA Gold Star, BTRDA Silver Star, BTRDA Production Cup, BTRDA 1400, BTRDA Rally First, BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and the Fiesta ST Trophy, plus the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series.
Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said, “We are extremely happy with the route and format we have created for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages, which will give competitors forty-five classic Welsh forest stage miles, all of which will be in absolutely prime condition.
“And as event organisers we have done everything possible to keep the entry fee down as low as possible and to give competitors real value for money. We are the only event to use Halfway and Route 60 this year, Crychan is an old favourite and in the best condition we have ever seen, and we are introducing a new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which has never been used for rallying before.”
He added, “We are equally proud to be the first rally in Wales to run to the new relaxed seeded and split-field system, which means the lower-powered cars will start first. There will then be a short gap before the powerful four-wheel drive cars will be flagged away in seeded order, ensuring that every competitor gets an opportunity to compete on equal terms and on like-for-like conditions. We’re very excited by this year’s route and look forward to the event on Saturday 14 July.”