The opening round of the relaunched British Rally Championship produced a home victory for Elfyn Evans while the same event also provided a maximum points haul in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship for Llanon driver Dylan Davies.
An icy Mid-Wales Stages saw a two day battle between Evans and co-driver Craig Parry and Scandinavian duo Fredrik Ahkin and Morton Erik Abrahamsen, both crews competing in R5 Ford Fiestas.
It was the Welsh duo who held the lead following Saturday’s two stages but their overseas rivals struck back to move ahead after two of Sunday’s four stages. Dolgellau driver Evans and Parry from Oswestry put in a storming performance, however, to top the timesheets on the remaining pair of stages to claim victory and double championship points by virtue of having played their joker card, available to each crew once during the course of the season.
Meanwhile, a second Welsh crew, Tom Cave of Aberdyfi and Swansea’s James Morgan, made it an all Ford Fiesta Top 3 (right).
Dylan Davies, co-driven by Llion Williams of Caernarfon, may have taken maximum points in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship but, with two rounds gone, it’s Andrew Jones from Pwllheli who leads the driver standings.
From the Newtown start it was the Worcestershire pairing of Paul Davy and Roger Allan who took the lead on the opening stage, the classic Pikes Peak ahead of Davies and Williams who suffered a minor off on the stage with Andy Davies and Max Freeman making it an all Subaru Impreza top three.
Unfortunately for Davy and Allan, the following stage would see them forced to retire with mechanical problems promoting Davies and Williams into a lead that they would retain all the way to the finish. That gives the lead in the co-drivers’ championship to Williams while Davies moves to second place in the drivers’ standings.
With Andy Davies and Max Freeman remaining in second place for the remainder of the event they now share the lead in the Group N standings, for less modified cars with the unfortunate Davy and Allan.
It was another Group N car, the Impreza of Surrey’s Wug Utting partnered by North Wales co-driver Dan Nieroda that finished in third place despite a couple of spins early on. He now shares the same place in the Group N standings with the absent Roland Llewellin. Haverfordwest driver Llewellin was actually competing in the British Rally Championship event with which the Welsh Championship round ran in parallel. He managed to take the Genpower Mitsubishi to second in class in that event.
The Impreza of Craig Golder from Llandrindod Wells and John Caine finished in fourth place ahead of that of Tim Green and Rob Smith.
Sixth place for Andrew Jones, however, was enough to ensure that the Mark 2 Escort driver not only leads the overall Championship but also the Vital Equipment WnRC Junior Challenge for drivers under 25 and the two wheel drive category.
|He also leads the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge which sees drivers competing for the company’s hi-tech lubricants and fluids to the value of £3000 and which is based on their performances within their class. Another Escort driver, Nev Jones, lies second in the Challenge standings while Sion Ellis is third in his Nissan Sunny.||TV coverage of the Welsh Championship event, produced by the Special Stage team, is scheduled to appear on Motors TV on Sky, Virgin and Freeview on Wednesday 16 March. It will also be available on the Special Stage YouTube channel. The next round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship is Rally North Wales. The Dolgellau based event takes place on Saturday 2 April.|