Reigning Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Champion Dylan Davies returned to the sport after an eight month lay-off on Sunday and showed he has lost none of the pace that took him to last year’s title, writes Peter Hughes.
Dylan tackled the Red Kite Stages, organised by Amman and District Motor Club, in a hired R5 specification Ford Fiesta. With co-driver Mark Glennerster alongside him he led from the first to the final special stage, overcoming a late scare to take outright victory. The scare came on the final stage when the engine briefly cut out, costing the duo around 10 seconds before they got it fired back up.
Second place went to Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy following a rally long battle with 2018 Junior Champion Matt Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear. Thompson and Murphy had the upper hand for the opening two stages in their Mitsubishi Evo IX but following the first service halt of the rally Hirst and Dear moved ahead of their rivals and maintained their advantage until the final stage when a puncture on their Mitsubishi dropped them outside the top 10.
In addition to taking second place, Thompson and Murphy also claimed maximum Group N points ahead of Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe in their Subaru Impreza.
Third place overall and top honours in the two-wheel drive category, sponsored by Lightning House, went to Steve Bennett and Osian Owen in their Mark II Ford Escort RS1800. Second among the two-wheel drive runners were Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver with Tom Llewellin and Patrick Walsh making it an Escort 1-2-3 while Llewellin was top Junior driver.
With pre-event championship leader Scott Faulkner absent while his car undergoes some redevelopment work, it is Llewellin who also climbs back to the top of the overall driver standings, seven points ahead of second placed Matt Hirst. Russ Thompson is a further 10 points back in third place while Faulkner slips down to fourth.
Declan Dear tops the co-drivers’ table, 15 points clear of Jim Lewis with Andy Murphy a further two points back.
Wug Utting heads the Group N category while Russ Thompson moves past the absent Scott Faulkner and Zak Hughes and into second place. Bob Stokoe is top placed Group N co-driver ahead of Andy Murphy and Gareth Parry.
Tom Llewellin retains his lead among the two-wheel drive runners, now 21 points clear of fellow Escort driver Chris Powell while Hywel Davies climbs up to third in his Escort. Jim Lewis leads the way among the two-wheel drive co-drivers from Tom Murphy and Simon Jones.
Llewellin also extends his lead in the Junior driver category, sponsored by OnthePaceNote.com, with Gethin Price and Zak Hughes second and third respectively.
Tom Murphy leads the Junior co-drivers from Rhys Stoneman who suffered his second successive retirement from a Championship round. Third place is held by Keaton Williams despite his absence at the weekend.
Tom Llewellin holds a commanding lead in the drivers’ category of the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge with a 51 points advantage over Josh Taylor although only four points separate Taylor from third placed Andy Fox.
Things are closer in the co-drivers’ section of the Challenge, leader Tom Murphy just nine points clear of Simon Jones and Jessica Hockly a further five points back in third place.
The next round of the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship is the Nicky Grist Stages. The Builth Wells based event takes place on 13 July.