By Paul Evans
Llandudno’s Matt Edwards could be the new British Rally Champion on Friday night, if the first part of the final double-header finale goes to plan.
For the first time in over a decade, the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship joins the FIA World Rally Championship at the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB – with points awarded at the end of Friday’s leg and the final round of the series taking in the remaining Saturday and Sunday stages combined.
Co-driven by Abersoch’s Darren Garrod, Edwards is in a four-way fight for the title, and after a sensational season he will need a dramatic turn of bad luck not to become British champion sometime this weekend.
Such has been the great form of the Swift Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 driver this year that he could well score a clean sweep of BRC victories – a feat not achieved since the late great Colin McRae in 1992.
But with a pair of Skoda Fabia R5s in the hands of David Bogie/John Rowan and Rhys Yates/Elliott Edmondson, together with his M-Sport stable-mates Alex Laffey/Patrick Walsh in a Ford Fiesta R5, all still in with a mathematical chance of winning the title, Edwards hasn’t got both hands on the trophy yet.
“I am really looking forward to this year’s Wales Rally GB,” said Edwards. “I’m a lot more prepared than I was last year, and looking forward to competing on home soil again.
“I’m trying not to think too much about the [British Rally] Championship, but it is difficult. We’re just trying to focus on preparing as well as we have all year and not change the approach that has served us so well this season. But if I can achieve this amazing achievement on home soil, it really would be amazing.
“The nature of Friday and Sunday’s stages will be the biggest challenge. They’re a lot narrower than the traditional Wales Rally GB stages, but that provides great variation and another challenge despite what could potentially be better weather and road conditions this year.
“My one and only goal is to secure the British Rally Championship and I will do whatever is required to make that possible. But we also need to enjoy the opportunity as that’s what we have set out to do on each event this year and the times have followed.”