The 2018 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship gets underway this weekend with the Llandudno based Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
The 2017 season ended on November’s Wyedean Rally with the overall title, two-wheel drive honours and many of the class awards going right down to the wire and indications are the 2018 series will produce similarly close battles.
Reigning title holder Callum Black will be absent this weekend as he is in South Korea for the Winter Olympics so there will be plenty of other crews looking to take an early advantage in the Championship standings.
The 2016 Champions Luke Francis and John H Roberts will be present in their Ford Fiesta World Rally Car.
One of the more interesting registered contenders in action will be Pembrokeshire driver Julian Reynolds and co-driver Patrick Walsh in their Ford Fiesta R5.
Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg, meanwhile, will be out in their Word Rally Car version of the same model.
|Among the ranks of Subaru Imprezas will be Keith Parry and Eryl Evans along with Harry Gardner and Elliot Graham while Mitsubishi Evo mounted crews include Simon Rogers and Steven Clark as well as Dan Moss and Sam Allen.
In Group N, for less modified cars, reigning champions Andy Davies and Max Freeman will face opposition from former champions Paul Davy and Roger Allen, also in an Impreza. Others contesting the class include the two litre Ford Fiesta of Brynmor Pierce and Alan Jones and Mitsubishi Evo IX mounted Dan Moss and Sam Allen.
The two-wheel drive category was one of the most fiercely contested awards in 2017 and the class battle looks set for more of the same this year.
Among those returning to series are John Rowlands and Glen Latham in their Mark 2 Ford Escort as well as the similar cars of Rob Dennis and Andrew Boswell and Steve Ward and Mike Crawford.
New to the Championship for 2018 is the Challenger title for both drivers and co-drivers. This is open competitors who have not finished within the top 10 overall on any round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship or any equivalent status championship on more than one occasion between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2017.
Marking their fourth season supporting the Championship, advanced lubricant technology company Ravenol will sponsor the Challenger category providing a prize fund valued at more than £3000.
The first car will cross the start ramp in St Georges Place in Llandudno at 8am on Saturday morning, tackling the opening stage in Penmachno Forest at 9am. Spectators can also see the cars in action on the Llyn Elsi stage from 9:43am. The cars will re-visit those stages respectively at 1:30pm and 2:25pm.
With the world-class rally stages of North Wales ahead of them, the Cambrian Rally promises the perfect start to what looks set to be another classic season for the Pirelli MSA Welsh Championship.
|The organisers of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship have confirmed coverage of all nine rounds of the series will be broadcast on TV as well as being available on demand and on-line.
Leading motorsport TV production company Special Stage will be filming every event for inclusion in their weekly Rally Review programme to be broadcast by Front Runner TV. The subscription free channel is available both on Sky and on Freesat.
The coverage will also be available on Facebook and YouTube as well as on the Special Stage web site and via their dedicated app.
As an additional way of watching, you will be able to see coverage on ‘Motor Trend On Demand’, a US platform which has just increased its presence in the UK with availability on Amazon Prime Video.
The platform is subscription based, but as well as Special Stage there are plenty more car related shows and worldwide Motorsport events.
You can take a look and get a 14-day free trial by checking out their website.
Confirming the comprehensive package of coverage, Championship co-ordinator Dave Evison said, “It’s great to be working with Special Stage again.
“Our competitors always produce terrific action and the production team do an outstanding job covering it. We are delighted that this will now be available to a worldwide audience.”
The provisional programme schedule for Front Runner TV is for the opening round of the Championship, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, to be broadcast on 8 March, followed by the Grooms Garage Mid Wales Stages on 5 April and North Wales Rally Service Rally North Wales on 12 April.
Up to date details of broadcast schedules will be available on http://www.specialstage.co.uk/watch-online.
The organisers of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship said the best Championship round of 2017 was the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally.
Responding to the announcement, Pete Wood, Clerk of the Course of the Woodpecker, said, “It was a great surprise to receive the award for a second year. We made a few changes to our route which went well with competitors. Hopefully we can continue keeping the competitors happy in 2018.”
The Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally will be round eight of this year’s nine round series taking place on Saturday 1 September.