Russ Thompson and Stephen Link have kept alive the fight for the 2023 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles well after scoring maximum points on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally last Saturday.
Their first Pirelli Welsh win since the 2019 Woodpecker Rally – the year in which they finished runner-up in the championship – ensures that the titles won’t be decided until the final round of the series, the Wyedean Stages Rally on Saturday 18 November.
The Clitheroe driver found himself in a big Pirelli Welsh lead on the Cambrian after Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear retired their Delta Salvage/Witham Group Ford Fiesta R5 at the end of the morning loop of stages.
The championship leaders had been 10.1 seconds quicker through the opening Elsi stage and extended that advantage to 24 seconds after SS2 (Craig).
On paper they were leading by 23.2 seconds after SS3, but in reality their rally was over having brushed a bank in Brenig and damaging the radiator beyond repair.
Having scored maximum Pirelli Welsh points on the first four rounds of the series, this was the second retirement in a row and cuts the defending champion’s lead to just 10 points with only the final round remaining.
2023 Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally – top 10 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship finishers:
1. Russ Thompson/Stephen Link (Mitsubishi Evo 9)….38mins 25.1secs
2. Martyn Andrews/Steve Greenhill (Subaru Impreza)….41mins 07.7secs
3. Iwan Roberts/Daniel Jones (Ford Escort G3)….41mins 47.3secs
4. David Tomlin/Keith Ashley (Ford Fiesta R5)….42mins 11.2secs
5. Simon Rogers/James How (Mitsubishi Evo 6)….42mins 18.6secs
6. Boyd Kershaw/Keegan Rees (Ford Escort Mk2)….42mins 23.8secs
7. Callum Griffiths/William Lewis (Ford Fiesta ST)….42mins 27.0secs
8. Liam Griffiths/Daniel James (Ford Fiesta ST)….42mins 37.4secs
9. Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe (Subaru Impreza)….42mins 56.8secs
10. Ricky Crone/Ifan Devine (Ford Escort Mk2)….43mins 00.7secs.