Just two points separate the top three drivers at the top of the 2021 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship standings.
Series leader Garry Pearson, Ian Bainbridge and George Lepley head to Llandudno for the penultimate round of the series, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally this Saturday 30 October.
Pearson arrives in North Wales with a one point lead after he and co-driver Niall Burns won the Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally in their Asset Alliance Škoda Fabia R5. Despite fierce and experienced opposition, their first attempt at the event saw them lead from start to finish and they will be looking for nothing less than maximum points again.
“I’ve only done the Cambrian Rally once and that was in 2014 in a Peugeot 208 R2,” says Pearson.
“It’s only going to be my second event in Wales in an R5 car, so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve not got a lot of experience of the North Wales forests, but it will nevertheless be a case of opening the throttle and going for it. We’re going to give it our all.”
Bainbridge (above) is enjoying a great season too, having finished second on the opening Nicky Grist Stages and third on the Woodpecker. His last appearance in North Wales saw him win the Rali Adfer Coedwigoedd Cymru (December 2020) in Gorsedd Bran forest, and he has improved the performance and handling of his Gypsum Group Škoda Fabia R5 considerably since then – leaving him and co-driver Will Atkins, who leads the overall co-drivers’ standings, as potential Cambrian Rally winners.
George Lepley finished third on the opening Nicky Grist Stages and second on the Woodpecker and also leads the Pirelli Welsh Junior category.
Co-driven by Tom Woodburn, the WD-40 Mitsubishi Evo X driver is on incredible form this year and will be looking for another podium finish on the Cambrian to strengthen is double title hopes.
The Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championship has once again attracted a very high quality entry containing a huge variety of cars – as also competing for honour and points on the Cambrian Rally are Dave Tomlin/Keith Ashley (Axon Fird Fiesta R5), Andrew Stokes/Jonny ‘Tad’ Evans (Escort RS1600 Mk1), Bob Morgan/Adrian Williams (Winner Garage Škoda Fabia), rally rookie Olly Hunt/Andy Falconer (Subaru Impreza), Ross Clements/Christopher Lee (MG ZR), Martin Frazer/Dylan Bargate (Slideways Mitsubishi Evo VI), Chris and Tim Hellings (Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1), Kevin Metcalfe/Ian Jones (BMW E30), Steve Hollis/Tim Currie (Volkswagen Golf R) and Jason Black/Karl Egan (Toyota Starlet) – plus many more.
This year’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally contains seven stages totalling just over 44 stage miles through the classic forests of Gwydir, Penmachno and Alwen, together with the final challenge of a new asphalt stage which has only been used before on road rallies. The service area will be located at Coleg Llandrillo.
© Images Chris Huish, RallySport Media