Matthew Hirst has made it three wins from three starts in this year’s Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship after scoring victory on the Plains Rally on Saturday.
Co-driven by the soon to be married Declan Dear, Hirst clinched another impressive victory in his Pirelli-shod Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+, this time winning by 1 minute and 25 seconds.
With Hirst’s nearest rivals Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster retiring their Škoda Fabia R5+ on the opening stage, he has increased his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to 22 points.
“It certainly wasn’t an easy day, with three punctures and a few other headaches along the way,” admitted Hirst.
“The steering rack locked solid just after the podium ceremony, so we were very lucky for it to happen after we’d reached the finish.
“Next up is one of my favourite events, the Nicky Grist Stages – with just the small matter of Dec and Gemma’s wedding in between!”
James Giddings (above) finished second in only his second event in his newly acquired Group N Fordpad Mitsubishi Evo 9. Co-driven by Aled Davies, the former Fiesta ST Trophy and Citroën C2 Challenge champion drove superbly well to eventually get the better of Bob Morgan/Ade Williams – who continue to lead the Ravenol Challenge after an excellent run to the podium in their Winner Garage Škoda Fabia R5+.
Plains Rally – top 10 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship finishers
1. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Ford Fiesta R5+)….41mins 30secs
2. James Giddings/Aled Davies (Mitsubishi Evo 9)….42mins 55secs
3. Bob Morgan/Ade Williams (Škoda Fabia R5+)….43mins 22secs
4. Matt Edwards/Hamish Campbell (Fiat Abarth 131)….43mins 38secs
5. Bob Ceen/Shaun Layland (Ford Fiesta R5)….43mins 52secs
6. Michael McDaid/Declan Casey (Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2)….44mins 38secs
7. Robert Gough/Jack Bowen (Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2)….44mins 47secs
8. Simon Rogers/Matthew Baddeley (Mitsubishi Evo 6)….44mins 50secs
9. Paul Street/Ian Jones (Ford Escort Mk2)….45mins 16secs
10. Will Onions/Dave Williams (Ford Escort RS)….45mins 18secs
The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team is celebrating a fantastic one-two finish for the GR Yaris Rally1 car on its gravel debut at the Rally de Portugal, with Kalle Rovanperä scoring his third win in a row just ahead of Welsh team-mate Elfyn Evans.
In the first test of the new generation of hybrid-powered cars, the GR Yaris Rally1 was the car to beat, winning 15 of the 19 gravel stages across the weekend (19-22 May). Evans (above) led the way from early on Friday morning with consistently strong stage times.
Rovanperä joined him in the top two at the end of the first full day after doing a fantastic job opening gravel roads as championship leader for the first time in his career. The pair were in a league of their own through the longest day of the event on Saturday, and the lead moved into Rovanperä’s hands in difficult mixed weather conditions during the afternoon.
Rovanperä led Evans by 5.7 seconds coming into the final day’s five stages. He won the morning’s opening test, only for Evans to respond in the first pass over the rally’s famous Fafe stage.
But Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen went on to win the penultimate stage as well as the rally-ending Power Stage, ensuring another maximum points haul to increase their championship lead to 46 points after wins in three of the first four events.
Evans and co-driver Scott Martin finished 15.2 seconds behind the winner’s time.
The Motorsport UK British Rally Championship heads to Duns this weekend [27-28 May], as the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally makes a welcome return to the action-packed roster after seven years away from the Scottish Borders lanes.
Taking the opening round win, 2021 championship runners-up Osian Pryce (above) and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan secured a thrilling victory in the Essex lanes, overhauling four-time BRC champion Keith Cronin in the final throws of the event and will wear the coveted number one on the doors of their Melvyn Evans Motorsport run Volkswagen Polo GTi.
Driving the Michelin shod machine for the second successive season, Pryce is in no mood to play second fiddle again and will be looking for another maximum point haul to keep his dream alive.
Instrumental in securing Melvyn Evans Motorsport the BRC Teams title in 2021, Meirion Evans makes his BRC1 debut at the Jim Clark Rally, driving a Polo GTi. Announced only this week, Evans and co-driver Jonathan Jackson have a blistering asphalt pace as proven during their Irish Tarmac campaign and could well disrupt the podium.
In fact, the last time the UK’s premier rally series was blasting down the unforgivable Berwickshire closed roads, it was in the era which saw only two-wheel-drive cars eligible to compete for the prestigious title.
But now, a blistering array of top-flight BRC1 crews in a variety of Rally2, four-wheel-drive, turbocharged machinery will line up to do battle over the two-day event, as will a dynamic and impressive line-up of ultra-rapid Junior and Academy drivers, each aiming to take the spoils at the last asphalt round of the series until September.