By Paul Evans
Llandudno’s Matt Edwards will be aiming to extend his lead in the British Rally Championship when round two of the series gets underway on this weekend’s Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally (16/17 March).
The St Patrick’s weekend rally has long been a favourite for Welsh competitors and fans – and with 200 cars contesting the modern and historic events, there are more people than ever going over this year to enjoy the famous Irish ‘craic’.
Edwards got the defence of his BRC title off to a splendid start by winning the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally – and scoring maximum points will once again be his aim, as he and co-driver Patrick Walsh attack the narrow and bumpy Irish Tarmac lanes in their M-Sport Swift Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5.
Lampeter’s Meirion Evans will also contest the event in his Hyundai i20 R5. His father, Melvyn Evans, has won the West Cork Rally twice before, so he can rely on some very good advice, as well as precision pace notes courtesy of co-driver Jonathan Jackson.
Also driving a Hyundai i20 R5 is Aberdyfi’s Tom Cave. He was robbed of a great result on the Cambrian Rally when he picked up three punctures near the finish, so he and Hirwaun co-driver James Morgan will be looking for better luck this time.
There are plenty of other Welsh drivers on the starting list, including Pontyclun’s Tony Rees in his Millington Series 2+ engined Darrian GTR, Pembrokeshire’s Gwyndaf Evans in an Escort Mk2 and Carmarthenshire’s Gareth Lloyd in a BMW M3 E30.
Newcastle Emlyn’s James Williams, who has just celebrated his 21st birthday, is aiming to kick start his Junior British Rally Championship campaign after retiring a hired Fiesta R2 on the Cambrian Rally. He’ll be back driving the Vauxhall Adam R2 in which he won the JBRC, R2 and FWD categories in on the Ypres Rally last year.
The West Cork Rally takes place on Saturday and Sunday, with 15 special stages totalling 140 stage miles – including the famous Ring test, which clings to the rugged Atlantic coastline.