By Paul Evans
Welsh drivers are expected to feature highly on this weekend’s Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton, with three of the top four seeded drivers making the journey from Wales to Essex for the first ever event to take place on closed public roads in England.
Heading the 118-car field will be the experienced Melvyn Evans. The Lampeter driver won the recent Tour of Epynt and once again drives his powerful four-wheel drive Subaru Impreza WRC S12. He’ll be followed at number two by Abergavenny’s Damian Cole, partnered in his Get Connected Ford Fiesta WRC by Wrexham’s Jamie Edwards. And at number four will be Ruthin’s Hugh Hunter, in his rapid Fiesta WRC. Melvyn Evans’ son Meirion Evans starts at number six in his Fiesta R5.
A total of 23 Welsh competitors will be flying the flag at the front, middle and towards the back of the field. They include Simon Mansell (Kilgetty) and Gareth Wilcox (Haverfordwest) in their Escort Mk3 (number 43), Ian Davies (Llandysul) and Ryland James (Carmarthen) in their BMW M3 (number 44), Berion Richards and Russell Davies (both Bridgend) in their Escort RS1800 (number 45) and a pair of Nissan Micras driven by Matthew Jackson (North Wales) and Claire Williams (Ammanford) and Kalvin Green (Treochy) and Osian Owen (Rhyl) – who are seeded at number 81 and 98 respectively.
“This weekend’s Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton will be a landmark event for UK motor sport,” says Ruthin-born MSA Chairman David Richards CBE. “After years of campaigning, the MSA and event organisers can now take motor sport to the people, engaging with new audiences and delivering a real boost to local communities. We must give credit to Chelmsford Motor Club for leading the way and getting this initiative off the ground just a year after the new legislation was passed.”
Competitors will tackle 45 competitive miles across five stages on the Tendring Peninsula on Sunday (22 April), with the service area sited along Marine Parade West in Clacton.
Similar legislation allowing closed-road motorsport events to take place came into force in Wales in February this year.