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A fifth maximum points haul in as many rallies entered has taken Rhuddlan’s Luke Francis a step closer to Wales’s premier rallying title while team mate John H Roberts from Colwyn Bay has clinched overall co-driver honours.

Their latest success on Saturday’s (9th July) Builth Wells based Nicky Grist Stages means that, despite there being two rounds still to go, John cannot now be caught in the chase for the 2016 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship while Surrey’s Wug Utting retains a mathematical chance of overhauling Luke.

Third quickest on the opening stage of eight, Luke moved the Mitsubishi Evo 9 to the head of the field on the following stage and coped superbly with difficult, wet conditions in the classic Mid-Wales forests to go on to outright victory.

On the victory podium at the Royal Welsh Showground, Francis said his Mitsubishi had performed “faultlessly”, adding, “we had a little bit of an off on stage six but we didn’t lose too much time.”

The North Wales driver’s task was aided slightly by problems for some of his closest Championship rivals. Llanon’s Dylan Davies and co-driver Llion Williams, from Caernarfon were forced to retire their Subaru Impreza with fuel problems on the opening stage while Andy Davies and Max Freeman retired their Impreza on stage 6 with a broken ball joint. Despite that, Max, from Tywyn, continues to lead the co-driver category in the Vital Equipment Welsh Junior Championship, although by just four points from Simon Jones and Chris Davies.

Second place went to Martyn and Dawn England as they continue to get to grips with their new for this season Ford Fiesta R5+. At the finish the Ilminster driver said of their rally “It started off well this morning and we’ve made progress throughout the day so we’re really pleased both with the car and ourselves as a couple. As a partnership we’ve worked really well today and it’s paid off with a good result.”

Caernarfon pairing Gavin Edwards and Caron Tomlinson claimed the final podium place in their Mark II Ford Escort after starting at car 51 prompting Gavin to comment, “It was unexpected at the end and we’re really, really happy.”

Wug Utting’s fourth place gave him a win in the Group N category for less modified cars and takes him to the top of the Group N Championship standings.

The Vital Equipment Welsh Junior series has a new champion driver with Pwllheli’s Andrew Jones clinching the title in his Mark II Ford Escort. Andrew also lies second in the overall Championship and leads the two wheel drive standings ahead of Flying Kiwi Boyd Kershaw.

Two class titles were settled on the event with John H Roberts securing top honours among the Class 8 co-drivers while Worcester’s Martin Griffiths takes the equivalent honour in Class 7. There remain plenty more class battles to be resolved, however, in the final two rounds of the Championship.

Luke Francis also leads the Ravenol Welsh Challenge. The Challenge runs in conjunction with the championship and is based on a driver’s performance within his or her class. Luke has a seven point advantage over Andrew Jones while there is a four way tie for third place.

Competitors have a break now before the penultimate event of the year. The Ludlow based Woodpecker Rally takes place on September 3rd. You can find out more about that event on the rally website and about the Championship, including full Championship and Ravenol Welsh Challenge points, on You can also keep up to date with the Championship on the Facebook page and on Twitter @WnRC.