Motor Sport News - - Rally Gb Preview: Atherton - Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey, Red Bull Con­tent Pool NA­TIONAL ITIN­ER­ARY (STAGE NUM­BER/STAGE/TIME) Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 28 Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 29 Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 30 NOTEABLE EN­TRIES

One of the fastest driv­ers in na­tional ral­ly­ing joins the fray for this year’s Wales Rally GB Na­tional rally. Luke Fran­cis missed the event last year but re­turns to this event to fight for the win with last year’s fron­trun­ners Jock Arm­strong and Mike Faulkner.

Arm­strong gets a free en­try through win­ning the Scot­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship, and he hopes to gain re­demp­tion after last year’s drama. A bro­ken ball joint on his Subaru Im­preza cost him a com­fort­able win, on the last stage. He and co-driver Paula Swin­scoe will be tough to beat on the event they dom­i­nated in 2015.

If any­one can be a match, though, it’s Fran­cis. He won the most events in the BTRDA this year but an en­gine break­age on the Mal­colm Wilson Rally and a hand­ful of mis­de­meanours ruled him out of con­tention and Char­lie Payne took the series win. Payne gained a free en­try, but won’t take part.

Faulkner has won the last two events and will once again be a fron­trun­ner, while ev­er­green na­tional run­ner Roger Duck­worth brings a Subaru Im­preza S6 WRC back to Rally GB.

Two run­ners po­si­tioned be­hind will also chal­lenge. Dy­lan Davies is a rapid young driver, while Thomas Pre­ston has been sharp­ened by com­pet­ing in the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship this year and will likely be in the mix in his Skoda Fabia R5.

Of the his­toric en­tries, Rudi Lan­caster will be for­mi­da­ble in his Ford Es­cort Mk2. The sim­i­lar cars of Ben Friend and Mark Bent­ley shouldn’t be ruled out, while Jimmy Mcrae will pro­vide the crowd­pleas­ing in his Net­work Q-backed en­try. The Scot made his GB de­but on this event 40 years pre­vi­ously and drives the same car this year, a Vaux­hall Mag­num.

Other sig­nif­i­cant en­tries in­clude Gee Ather­ton, who’s the se­cond R2 on the en­try, while Stu­art Lar­bey brings the fever with his MG Metro 6R4. The first R2 on the en­try be­longs to Michael ‘Mick’ Har­ris, the MH Mo­tor­sport boss who will run Osian Pryce’s Ford Fi­esta R5 on the in­ter­na­tional event.

There’s also a Land Rover Free­lander for Bri­tish Cross Coun­try duo Louisa Felice and Jes­sica Reynolds.

The na­tional event uses ex­actly the same stages as the In­ter­na­tional rally, only they com­plete each stage once. Crews will take in 107 miles over 12 stages.

Moun­tain bik­ing and ral­ly­ing have sim­i­lar­i­ties

Gee­man made BRC de­but on Mid Wales Stages Arm­strong lost cer­tain win with re­tire­ment on last stage in ’15

OC­TO­BER 26 2016

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