andy rally
Competitors in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship start the second half of their season this weekend with the Builth Wells based Rallynuts Motorsport Severn Valley Stages.
Luke Francis and John H Roberts holding the lead in the overall driver’s and co-driver’s categories, the Rhuddlan based driver and his Colwyn Bay team-mate having taken maximum points on the season opener, the Cambrian Rally before missing round two, the Mid Wales Stages. They came back however to claim two more maximums on Rally North Wales and, most recently, the Plains Rally in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.
Their closest rivals are currently Andy Davies and Max Freeman, who followed up their non-finish on the Cambrian with a second and two third places. They also lead the Group N category in their Subaru Impreza while Max heads the co-driver section of the Vital Equipment Welsh Junior Championship. Reigning Group N champions Paul Davy and Roger Allan hold second place in that category despite failing to finish both the Mid Wales Stages and Rally North Wales while Surrey’s Wug Utting lies third among the drivers and Richard Crozier holds third place in the Group N co-driver standings.
Early season Championship leaders Andrew Jones and David Iwan Jones had a disappointing Plains Rally, suffering a puncture to their Ford Escort on the first hairpin of the event before retiring on just the second stage. While David is not registered for the championship, Andrew slips to third place in the overall driver standings but continues to lead both the two-wheel driver and Vital Equipment Junior Driver categories.
The only driver other than Luke Francis to have claimed a maximum points score so far this season is Dylan Davies who picked up top points on the Mid Wales Stages. The Impreza driver, from Llanon, currently lies fourth overall, two points ahead of Escort driver John Rowland, currently second in the two wheel drive category, while Manchester man Steve Simpson rounds off the top half dozen. Steve claimed the runner-up spot on both the Cambrian and the Plains but failed to finish Rally North Wales. With competitors counting only their best six scores from the eight round series, Steve remains a strong contender in his S2000 specification Fiesta.
Other competitors set to make a charge in the second half of the season include Boyd Kershaw. The Plains Rally saw the New Zealander take his Ford Escort to his first maximum points score of the season in the two wheel driver category, elevating him to third place.
James Williams also took his first maximum of the year on that event in the Vital Equipment Junior Championship. The Ford Ka driver now lies second in that category just one point ahead of Jake McKenna.
There is a close battle being fought out, too, in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge. With a prize fund valued at £3000 and the points awarded being based on performances within class, Luke Francis leads John Rowland by just two points with Jake McKenna and Boyd Kershaw tied for third place two points further back. In fifth place, one point behind, is Andrew Jones.
Competitors will set out from the Royal Welsh Showground from 8:30 on Saturday morning, returning from 15:40 after tackling seven classic Welsh forest stages. You can find out more about the event on their website, about the championship, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.