PLUCKY PETCH EARNS A WIN Gardener wins on first Welsh championship outing in 2016 while Francis is champion
Petch takes first overall victory as Payne seals the title. By Ian Harden
Shaun Gardener and Ben Innes took their first MSA Welsh championship maximum points haul of 2016. However, it did not affect the outcome of the series as, even though they failed to finish, Luke Francis and John H Roberts were crowned overall champions.
The Mitsubishi Lancer crew already had six maximums and their points for a DNF gave them an unbeatable 30-point margin over second-placed Andrew Jones/keaton Williams (Ford Escort Mk2).
Behind Gardener, the Subaru Impreza WRCS of Dylan Davies/llion Williams and Karl Simmons and Mark Glennerster collected solid scores both in the overall standings and in their classes.
Before the rally, Wug Utting and Bob Stokoe had a mathematical chance of taking overall honours at season’s end but they needed to take top points away from Ludlow. On the day, Utting’s Group N Subaru Impreza lost out in both speed and grip on the slippery surface, particularly through Hopton. Try as he might, the experienced Surrey driver could not match the pace of Group N rivals Andy Davies/max Freeman’s Impreza, and he had to settle for second in Group N and post-rally, he finds himself third in the series standings.
In the classes, Boyd Kershaw/bryan Hull (Escort Mk2) survived a number of close shaves with the undergrowth to come second behind Gavin Edwards/ Caron Tomlinson’s similar machine but their points haul gave them an unassailable lead in Class 6. Colin and Martin Griffiths (BMW Compact) also finished second but took season’s honours, this time in the over-two litre Class 7. Chief rivals, Ashley Davies/ Sam Fordham overcame a wrong tyre choice and alternator problems on their Escort to win on the day, but lose out for the series.
Stephen Petch/ Michael Wilkinson Jamie Anderson/ Ross Whittock Charlie Payne/carl Williamson Shaun Gardener/ Ben Innes Callum Black/ Elliott Edmondson Wayne Sisson/ Neil Shanks Dylan Davies/ Llion Williams Richard Hill/steffan Evans Karl Simmons/ Mark Glenerster Russ Thompson/andy Murphy