The 2015 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship gets underway this Saturday with competitors tackling the Weir Engineering Wyedean Forest Rally.
The event, based at Chepstow Racecourse, is the first of eight championship rounds with the series reaching its conclusion in October on the Llandudno based Cambrian Rally.
Making a welcome return to the series this year is Ruthin driver Hugh Hunter. He and Cheshire based co-driver Andy Marchbank should offer strong opposition in their Subaru Impreza to reigning champion Alex Allingham from Northwich. Alex has switched classes for 2015 and teams up for the Wyedean with vastly experienced Caerphilly based co-driver Alun Cook in the Weir Laundry Equipment Impreza.
There are plenty of other title contenders as well, however, including Bob Ceen partnered in his Impreza by some time World Rally Championship co-driver Andy Bull from Birmingham and Roland Llewellin from Haverfordwest who shares his Mitsubishi Evo IX on the opening round with Wrexham co-driver Jamie Edwards. A newcomer to the series this year is Yorkshireman Jim McNeil who shares the RAVENOL Rally Team Impreza with co-driver Tony Bassett.
As well as vying for the overall title, Roland Llewellin will be contesting Group N, for near showroom specification cars, where his rivals will include Worcester duo Paul Davy and Roger Allen in their Impreza and the Mitsubishi Evo IX of Bury’s Tom Naughton and co-driver Andy Mort from Wigan.
Championship stalwarts Harry Gardner from Eccleshall and Elliot Graham from Stoke will be in action in their Subaru Impreza while Stone’s Nev Jones will be out in his WRC version of the same car, co-driven by Chris Davies from Port Talbot.
One of the favourites for two wheel drive honours is former National Hunt jockey Jamie Jukes from Penrhiwllan near Llandysul with co-driver Dave Williams in their 2 litre Suzuki Swift.
Among the contenders in the classes for smaller engined cars will be father and son duo Steve and Callum Black from Brackley in their MG ZR while Welshpool youngster James Watkins, co-driven by Caron Tomlinson from Bettws y Coed will be looking to improve on last year’s second in class in their Nissan Micra. Their rivals will include Neil Matthews from Halesowen and 19 year old co-driver Keaton Williams from Ludlow in the RAVENOL Rally Team Vauxhall Nova. Neil was the winner of the 2014 RAVENOL Nicky Grist Challenge.
As well as the overall title, there will be plenty more at stake over the course of the season including a free entry on November’s Wales Rally GB as part of the event’s Road to Wales initiative. Junior awards are open to competitors aged under 25 while competitors from any class can share in a prize fund valued at £3000 as part of the newly launched RAVENOL Challenge.
The organisers of Wales Rally GB are proud to announce that the November event has been shortlisted for a major accolade at the National Tourism Awards for Wales.
The UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship is shortlisted among just three finalists in the Best Event (Large) category – the winner will be announced at a special ceremony to be held at the Vale Resort, Hensol on Wednesday 25 March.
Competitors on the 40th running of the Wyedean Rally, which is organised by Forest of Dean Motor Club, will leave Chepstow Racecourse from 8:00am to tackle 8 special stages totalling 45 miles before returning to the venue from 14:40.
If you can’t make it along to the event, coverage is scheduled to appear on the Special Stage Extra programme on Motors TV on 4 March.You can find out more about the rally on the event website, www.wyedeanrally.com and about the championship on www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk , the championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.