Competitors in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship head to Dolgellau this weekend for round three of the series, Rally North Wales.
After two events it’s up and coming youngster Andrew Jones who dominates the Championship standings.
The Pwllheli driver not only heads the overall standings in his Ford Escort but also the two wheel drive category and the Vital Equipment WnRC Junior Challenge.
It was Rhuddlan’s Luke Francis and co-driver John H Roberts from Colwyn Bay who took outright victory by just one second and therefore maximum championship points in their Mitsubishi Evo IX on the season opener, the Cambrian Rally, but after missing round 2, the Mid Wales Stages, they have slipped to fifth place.
Llanon’s Dylan Davies and Llion Williams from Caernarfon were forced out of the Cambrian with mechanical problems on their Subaru Impreza but bounced back to take top points on the Mid Wales Stages (above). That promoted Dylan to second in the driver standings while Llion leads the co-driver category.
Two solid finishes for Andy Williams mean that the Holywell driver shares that second place while a second place finish on the Mid Wales Stages following a retirement on the Cambrian puts Andy Davies fourth.
Watch out, too, this weekend for Lincolnshire’s Brian Bell and co-driver Jamie Edwards from Wrexham as they make their first championship appearance of the year in the Focus World Rally Car. Having missed the previous round, Steve Simpson and Patrick Walsh return to the series on this event in their S2000 Ford Fiesta.
There have been mixed fortunes for the joint Group N class leaders. Paul Davy and Roger Allan took top points on the Cambrian only to retire on the Mid Wakes Stages while for Andy Davies and Max Freeman a retirement on the opening round was followed by a maximum on round 2.
With Surrey’s Wug Utting and Roland Llewellin of Haverfordwest each having contested one event so far, they share third place among the less modified cars.
While Andrew Jones heads the two wheel drive category, second place is held by Nev Jones and Chris Davies but the Potteries man is scheduled to switch back from his Escort to his Subaru Impreza for Rally North Wales. Sion Ellis holds third place in his Nissan Sunny.
Andrew’s closet rival in the Vital Equipment WnRC Junior Challenge is Derry man Jordan Hone while in third place is Matthew Jackson.
Andrew’s early dominance of the series also extends to leading the RAVENOL Welsh Challenge. The high performance lubricant manufacturers provide a prize fund valued at £3000 with awards based on competitors’ performances within their class. Second place is held by Nev Jones ahead of Sion Ellis.
With the Championship contested over eight rounds and competitors best six results counting, the series is, of course, still wide open but performances this weekend on some of the UK, if not the world’s, finest rally stages could go a long way towards deciding the destination of the 2016 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship.