Competitors in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship move into the second half of their season on saturday with the battle for the overall title and for the various class honours still wide open while the series boasts its strongest entry for a number of years.
Leading the title chase going in to the Builth Wells based Severn Valley Stages is Worcester’s Paul Davy. He and co-driver Roger Allan also currently lead the Group N category for less modified cars in their Subaru Impreza.
With second placed Hugh Hunter from Ruthin and co-driver Andy Marchbank not scheduled to start this weekend’s rally in their Subaru Impreza World Rally Car, Paul and Roger will be keen to extend their advantage over the only pairing to have claimed maximum point twice so far this season.
There will be plenty of other crews in contention for top honours however, among them Abergele’s Luke Francis and co-driver John H Roberts from Colwyn Bay who are currently in seventh place following a fraught start to the season.
Davy took the series lead from Malvern driver Bob Ceen at the last round, the Plains Rally after the Malvern driver put his Impreza World Rally Car off the road and he and co-driver Andy Bull of Birmingham will be keen to make up some lost ground.
Other likely front-runners include Surrey’s Wug Utting with co-driver Bob Stokoe and Dylan Davies from Llanon partnered by Llion ‘Tractor’ Williams from Caernarfon, both in Subarus. Dylan currently lies fifth in the overall driver standings while Llion is third among the co-driver.
Fourth in the chase for overall driver honours is Mitsubishi Evo driver Roland Llewellin of Carmarthen but he and co-driver Jamie Edwards from Wrexham currently lie second in Group N and will be looking to make up ground on Davy and Allan in that battle.
Although leading the two wheel drive standings, Jamie Jukes from Llandysul will be keen to improve on his performance last round when he was side-lined with a broken wheel on his Suzuki Swift. That allowed Ellesmere’s John Baker to narrow the gap in his Mark 2 Ford Escort.
Among the most hotly contested categories are the Junior, under 25, classes, and Llanwrda’s Meirion Evans, driving a Citroen DS3 will be looking to reclaim the lead in the driver standings that he conceded on the Plains Rally to Morgan Handford of Pontyclun.
Another tight fight is for the Ravenol Welsh Challenge, which offers competitors from all classes the chance of victory. Although Paul Davy currently leads the Challenge he has a whole host of rivals hot on his heels, among them both John Baker and Jamie Jukes.
Competitors on the event, organised by Midland Manor Motor Club, are scheduled to leave rally HQ at the Royal Welsh Showground from 8.30am.
There will be spectator facilities at the Crychan and Halfway stages, both of which will run twice during the course of the day with entry to the stages costing £10 per car. Competitors are due to arrive back at the Showground for the rally finish from 3.01pm.