The Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday has received a bumper 130 car entry, with top seeds Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton hoping that a good result on the eight stage Mid-Wales forestry event will clinch them the prestigious 2019 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series title.
The Scottish duo (right) has been unstoppable so far this year with four wins out of four in their Ford Focus WRC. But they’ll have plenty of top quality competition trying to deny them the Gold Star trophy on the Builth Wells-based event.
And as if Thorburn needed reminding of that fact, in his rear view mirror will be number two seeds and 2017 champions Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC), with Connor McCloskey/Noel Sullivan (Ford Fiesta R5+) starting at number three. The quality field continues with Ian Joel/Shaun Hughes (Escort Cosworth) at four, Conor McCourt/Caolan McKenna (Ford Fiesta R5) at five and Martyn and Dawn England (Ford Fiesta R5) at six.
Local hero Jason Pritchard, the triple British Historic Rally Champion, will start his very first Nicky Grist Stages at number seven – partnered by Phil Clarke in his North Road Garage-backed Ford Escort RS1800. Having never completed against the cream of the BTRDA Historic crop before, it will be fascinating to witness Pritchard battling with the likes of reigning BTRDA Silver Star champions George Lepley/Tom Woodburn, who lead the BTRDA Historic Cup and who are an incredible third overall in their flying Hillman Avenger.
Tom Llewellin (left) arrives leading the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship drivers’ standings, the Junior series, the two-wheel drive category and the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge.
The Pembrokeshire teenager and son of double British Rally Champion David Llewellin also leads the FMP Rally Challenge, which has over 100 competitors and helps raise the profile of the Wales Air Ambulance. Co-driven by Russ Whittock, Llewellin is seeded at number 19.
Matthew Hurst/Declan Dear, Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy and Scott Faulkner/Gareth Parry (right) who also lead the BTRDA Production Cup) are currently second, third and fourth in the Welsh series, and their close rivalry will continue in a trio of rapid Mitsubishi Evos.