Bob and Paul Fowden took a near two minute win on Sunday’s Rali Cwm Gwendraeth, writes Roger Gale.
At the BARC Pembrey Motorsports Centre, Fowden’s Comline Auto Parts – NGK backed Subaru Impreza WRC S11 repeated the 2017 win on the event, and putting the Llanelli driver into the lead of the 2018 JD Tyres Welsh Tarmacadam Championship, as he opens his score in what could be a record fifth Welsh title.
The ex Petter Solberg Impreza in the hands of Fowden was fastest on all but a single stage of the forty five miles over five tests put on by organisers Gwendraeth Valley MC and Amman & District MC.
The event ran in dry conditions, though previous days rain left the stages slippery and muddy in places, pools of standing water also lurking to catch the unwary.
As the rally progressed it looked as though it could be a one-two for Fowden Subaru cars, his former Impreza now owned by Mike Jewell, a rally long battle with the Metro 6R4 of Roger Thomas and Fowdens former co-driver Paul Wakely appeared resolved as the 6R4 slid off on stage three.
However, the game changed on the fifth stage, Jewells car dropping a near minute and a half with gear linkage difficulty, and the Metro took third spot, enough to take second overall from the Impreza, along with the class win, Jewell holding onto class runner up by over half a minute from Barry & Seyyan John, also Impreza mounted, and best mixed crew.
At the finish Bob Fowden said, “A difficult rally with the engine mysteriously stalling each time I used the handbrake, the electronics seemingly all in order, but we were still confident about the win.
“I was thinking of Niki Lauda’s remark about the trick of winning by going as slowly as possible, though Paul kept us on the pace as he did last year ! A good start to the championship year.”
Class winners included Will Mains / Arfon Griffiths in their Vauxhall Nova, also finishing a creditable fifth overall against formidable opposition, Carl Fricker / Theresa Fossey another Nova crew with a big margin of victory.
Class three went to Richard Merriman/Kath Curzon, in their Forresters MC Darrian T90, Terry Clarke / Ronnie Roughead the only finishers in class five as their opposition crumbled with mechanical failures, and they took a determined third overall in the Group B Motorsport Escort.
Finally Jonathan Davies / Rhodri Williams took their Cribyn Garage Rallying Peugeot 206 to a class eight win by an impressive two minute plus margin from Lee Sparrowhawk / Sam Myers four wheel drive Subaru Impreza, Leading retirements included number two seeds Chris Simmons / Keegan Rees, their Darrian T9GTR with engine trouble after stage one, Tom and Jamie Barbers Teify Valley MC BMW out after gearbox failure on the second stage.