With both the championship and the rally enjoying a bumper entry, it could prove to be a crucial moment in the battle for both overall and class honours in round six of the eight round series.
Topping the overall championship leader board at the moment are Worcester duo Paul Davy and Roger Allan in their Subaru Impreza. They also lead the Group N category for less modified cars. A win on the last round of the championship, the Severn Valley Stages, moved Malvern driver Bob Ceen into second place overall, seven points back from the leader. He will be teamed up this weekend in his Impreza World Rally Car with Birmingham co-driver Andy Bull.
In third place overall, Haverfordwest’s Roland Llewellin is also second in the Group N category. He finished ahead of series leader Davy in the last round and he and co-driver Jamie Edwards from Wrexham will be looking to repeat that feat in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.
Dylan Davies took an 18 month break from the sport prior to the start of this season but that hasn’t blunted the Llanon driver’s pace as he lies fourth in the standings. His co-driver in the Impreza, Llion Williams of Caernarfon is second in the overall co-driver standings.
Luke Francis is in fifth place in his Mitsubishi Evo 9, 31 points back from the leader but, with competitors able to drop their two worst scores during the season, a strong performance this weekend could put Luke and co-driver John H Roberts from Colwyn Bay back in contention for the end of season honours.
Other competitors to watch out for as they contest top championship honours on the event include Surrey’s Wug Utting in his Subaru Impreza, Martyn and Dawn England, from Ilminster in their Mitsubishi Evo X and the glorious looking, and sounding, Metro 6R4 of series stalwart Geoff Cottrill from Bromsgrove.
In the two wheel drive category, Escort driver John Baker (pictured above) from Ellesmere has made the most of back to back non finishes for Llandysul’s Jamie Jukes to take a nine point lead and the Suzuki Swift driver will be keen to get his campaign back on track.
Amongst the closest fought battles in the Championship is the junior co-driver category for competitors under 25 with Caron Tomlinson from Penmachno leading Ludlow’s Keaton Williams by a single points while Keegan Rees of Llanelli is one point further back.
The RAVENOL Welsh Challenge sees competitors from all the classes battling it out for £3000 worth of the lubricant company’s products. Paul Davy heads that from John Baker with Dylan Davies in third place.
There are two designated spectator areas, on the Route 60 and Halfway stages with spectators strictly prohibited elsewhere. At these locations, trained Marshals will be on hand to engage and support your safety. Please ensure you comply with their instructions. They are there to ensure the smooth running of the event, compliance with the safety plan and your wellbeing.
Please respect all Nicky Grist rally signs and the tape. Yellow and Black is GOOD and provides an area considered to be safe for you to stand. Red and white is a NO GO area and will put you at risk from injury. Any spectators, photographers or marshals seen standing in red and white taped areas will be moved and may potentially cause the stage to be cancelled!
Admission is by programme with proceeds going to local charities.
You can find out more about the rally and how to spectate safely on the event on their web site, www.nickygriststages.co.uk and about the championship at www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk, on the championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.
© Image courtesy of rallysportmedia.com