Competitors in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship head to Welshpool this Saturday for the fourth round in the 2018 series, the Plains Rally, writes Peter Hughes.
Leading the competitors on the event organised by Knutsford and District Motor Club will be round three winner Matt Edwards. The Llysfaen driver and co-driver Darren Garrod from Pwllheli followed up their victory on that event, the Rallynuts Stages, by taking their Ford Fiesta to victory on the opening round of the British Rally Championship, the Pirelli Rally.
Hard on their heels will be former champion Luke Francis, from Rhuddlan and Colwyn Bay co-driver John H Roberts who took second place on the Rallynuts Stages in their Fiesta World Rally Car.
|With Championship leaders Dylan Davies and Llion Williams scheduled to sit this event out, other crews looking to capitalise on their absence include Nick Elliott and Dave Price who took maximum points on round two, Rally North Wales, in their Mark II Ford Escort.||The Mid-Wales Stages rally has been cancelled.
It was hit by the snowy weather in January and organisers rescheduled for the end of this month, but a low turnout of entries and officials meant it was unsustainable to put on and dropped this week.
Also hoping to be among the points this weekend, despite a heavy crash on the Rally Nuts Stages in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, are Doncaster driver Matthew Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear while Steve Simpson and Mark Glennerster will be making their first Championship appearance of the year in their S2000 specification Ford Fiesta.
Llangefni driver Keith Parry and co-driver Eryl Evans, from Llanon, will be in action in their Subaru Impreza while Tom Naughton and Will Rogers will be chasing points in the Group N category, for less modified cars, in their Evo IX after taking maximum points in the category on the previous round. Other crews looking for Group N points include Surrey’s Wug Utting and co-driver Bob Stokoe in their Subaru Impreza and Solihull’s Scott Faulkner, co-driven by Gareth Parry from Aberystwyth in their Evo IX.
Max Utting took maximum two-wheel drive points on the Rallynuts Stages but the Ford Fiesta driver and co-driver Mike Ainsworth can expect strong opposition not least from Nick Elliott and Dave Price and top two-wheel drive points scorers on the opening round, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, John Rowlands from Ffestiniog and Machynlleth’s Glenn Latham in their Mark II Escort.
Another Escort crew, David and James Young will be making the lengthy trek from East Anglia while current two-wheel drive leader Colin Griffiths of Worcester will be out in his BMW Compact with Mike Wilding alongside him.
Meanwhile, reigning two-wheel drive champions Andrew and Jamie-Lee Fox will be out in their BMW 328.
Matthew Hirst will be keen to build on his current second place among the junior drivers while those chasing points in the junior co-driver category will incude Keaton Williams, teamed up with Bob Vardy in the R2 Ford Fiesta.
The Ludlow co-driver currently leads the category by two points from Rhyl’s Osian Owen. Osian will be sat alongside current leading junior driver Kalvin Green from Treorchy in the Fiesta ST.
|The RAVENOL Welsh Challenge is aimed at competitors who have not previously claimed a Top 10 finish in the Championship. Colin Griffiths currently leads the drivers’ category by a single point from Matthew Hirst with Kalvin Green a further five points back. In the co-drivers’ category Declan Dear holds an 11 point advantage over Mike Ainsworth while Andy Boswell, absent from this event, is in third place.||Spectators can see the cars in action on the Dyfnant South stage from 08:45 and again from 12:57 and on Gartheiniog West from 10:15 and 14:27.
More information about the rally is available on the official event web site, www.plainsrally.co.uk
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