Stellar entry lines up for Rally North WalesRallyNorthWales
The North Wales Rally Services – Rally North Wales has attracted yet another bumper entry for the 30th March event, as 120 crews from across the UK will assemble in Dolgellau on Saturday.
Attracting top line championships to the popular forest stage rally in the heart of Wales, the Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club organised event takes place in stages made famous by the World Rally Championship qualifier, Wales Rally GB.
The Dyfi and Gartheiniog forest complexes will house the eight stages during the day, with competitors from the Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship, Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship, Race and Rally – Rally2 Championship and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship all bidding for glory in the iconic rallying stages. The event will also be home to the David Stokes Historic Challenge, remembering the likeable driver who passed away in 2016.
In a shift to the format from 2018, the two-wheel-drive crews will run in a reverse seeded format and will be followed by the four-wheel-drive brigade with effectively one field passing through the stages. Whilst the National A section of the rally will cater mainly for the Historic contingent, the National B category will be fought between the turbocharged heavy hitters and remaining two-wheel-drive contenders.
Starting from Gwyndaf Evans Motors in the town on Saturday morning with number one on the door will be 2018 Historic winners Nick Elliott and Dave Price in their Ford Escort Mk2. Looking to repeat their success of last year, they will also be aiming for a perfect start to their British Historic Rally Championship campaign.
Hoping to uproot them however, will be local ace Osian Pryce who once again makes a one-off outing in a Ford Escort to bid for glory in his own backyard. The Dolgellau man, co-driven by Dale Furniss was on track for a rally win last year before a puncture set him back. They will start second on the road.
Northern Irishman Marty McCormack heads across the water fresh from his British Championship success in West Cork. Dovetailing his historic season with his Skoda Fabia R5 outings, McCormack and Shropshire man Phil Clarke will be looking for a win in Wales in their Escort MK2 and start at car three.
Ludlow men Joe Price and Chris Brooks start with four on the door in their MK2 Escort, followed by North-Wales duo Ieuan Rowlands and Emyr Hall who make the switch from a historic Hillman Avenger to their modified Ford Escort Mk2 in 2019, rounding off the top five. Rob Smith, Alan Walker, Steve Bennett, Simon Webster and event supporter Rudi Lancaster round out the top ten, all driving Ford Escorts.
Davies won in a Subaru last year, but wheel bring a unique Skoda Fabia to Dolgellau
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In fact, such is the popularity of the format for this year’s event, you have to look outside of the top thirty to find a non-Ford Escort
Breaking the mould will be the four-wheel-drive event where 15 crews will aim for National B honours. Last years winners Dylan Davies and Llion Williams return at the head of the field but behind the wheel of a brand-new Skoda Fabia, built by the Teg Sport outfit in Cumbria. A new “proto” style machine will see its maiden outing on gravel with the Lampeter man in charge. Matt Hirst and Declan Dear will be aiming for another podium result on the event to repeat last year’s success in their Mitsubishi Evo IX.
Scottish Rally Championship regular Freddie Milne with current British Rally Championship leading co-driver Patrick Walsh alongside will make the trip to Dolgellau in their new Mitsubishi Evo IX. Although seeded outside of the top three, Marty McKenna makes the trip over from Omagh in his Ford Fiesta WRC to sample the Welsh forests with Martin Brady alongside.
There will be plenty of chances for eager fans to catch the action with the first car leaving the ceremonial start in Dolgellau at 08:00 on Saturday morning.
Spectator areas in the Geoff Jones Motorsport Big Ray stage offer two chances to see the action at 09:15 and 13:10, with the G&M Pryce Gartheiniog stage, also running twice at 10:00 and 13:50. Service will take place from 10:45 at the Farmers Market in the town with the ceremonial finish and champagne celebrations getting underway at around 14:40 back at Gwyndaf Evans Motors.
More information, spectator details and a full entry list can be found at www.rallynorthwales.co.uk