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With three events remaining in the 2016 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship anyone looking to stop Luke Francis and John H Roberts from claiming the title needs to make their move this weekend (July 9th) when they tackle the Builth Wells based Nicky Grist Stages.

The Rhuddlan driver and his co-driver, from Colwyn Bay, have taken maximum points in their Mitsubishi Evo 8 on all four Championship rounds that they have entered so far. Overhauling them will be no easy task although it is possible.

Perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dylan Davies. The Subaru Impreza driver from Llanon currently lies second despite two non-finishes so far this year. With competitors only counting their six best scores from the eight round series Dylan remains firmly in contention.

Early season leader Andrew Jones has slipped to third place in the overall standings but the Ford Escort driver still heads the Vital Equipment Junior Welsh Championship for drivers under 25 as well as the two wheel drive category. Another driver to have had more than his fair share of misfortune this season is Andy Davies. That includes a retirement from the last round, the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages with fuel pump problems on his Subaru Impreza


Nevertheless, he currently lies fourth overall in the Championship and leads the Group N category ahead of reigning Group N champion Paul Davy and Surrey’s Wug Utting. Andy’s co-driver, Max Freeman, meanwhile leads the co-driver standings in the Vital Equipment Welsh Junior Championship.

Other crews looking to get among the overall honours include Steve Simpson and Mark Glennerster in their S2000 specification Ford Fiesta and Martyn and Dawn England in their R5+ version.

A whole host of Ford Escort crews will be vying for points in the two wheel drive category, among them Hywel Davies and Richard Crozier and David and James Young.

There are also plenty of class battles to be settled, such as Class 4 where just two points separate the Ford Ka of Alun Roberts and Bob Vardy’s R2 Fiesta while in Class 5, five points separate the Peugeot 309 of leader Tim Cains from the Ford Escort of Flying Kiwi Boyd Kershaw. In Class 3 there are six points between top two, James Williams and Matthew Jackson.

There’s another tight battle in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge, run in conjunction with the Championship. With points determined by drivers’ performances within their class,  it’s Luke Francis who leads from Andrew Jones but four drivers are tied on points in third place with just two points separating the next four drivers.

All in all, the Championship’s competitors have plenty to fight for this weekend. They will leave start ramp at  the Royal Welsh Showground from 8:30am with the first car scheduled to return around 3:30pm after tackling 8 special stages details of spectator locations are available at the events web site www.nickygriststages.co.uk while you can find out more about the championship at their web site, www.wnrc.wamc.org.uk, which includes a full rundown of current Championship positions, on the Championship Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.

With thanks to Rallysportmedia.com for the images