Llandudno-based Cambrian Rally set to provide a fitting finale to the BRC season
The world-class stages of North Wales provide the perfect curtain call on the 2022 Motorsport UK British Rally Championship, as next weekend’s [28-29 October] Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally marks the final chapter of the seven-round series.
Top-flight BRC1 crews in a variety of Rally2 machinery will line up to do battle over the two-day, Llandudno-based event, gunning for the sought-after honour of rally winner and potentially rounding out their season-long campaigns on a high.
A three-time runner-up in the championship, Welshman Osian Pryce finally clinched the prestigious title with a round to spare in September after a stellar season behind the wheel of his Volkswagen Polo GTi R5.
Pryce and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan grappled with four-time series winner Keith Cronin for the coveted crown, and with four wins in 2022, finally lifted the impressive trophy, adding their names to an illustrious list that includes Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola.
Neither Pryce nor Cronin will make the trip to the Cambrian, leaving the door open for the next generation of young chargers to become first-time winners of a British Rally Championship round.
James Williams and Dai Roberts have returned an impressive first full year in the BRC1 category of the series and sit third in the championship in their Hyundai i20 R5. They will be gunning for a maiden BRC win to rubber-stamp their intentions for the future.
But Ruari Bell and Max Freeman will also come out of the blocks with all guns blazing as they too will want to claim that elusive first BRC win after a mixed season in their Skoda Fabia R5 which kept them away from the top step so far this season.
“The Cambrian Rally looks to be a thrilling final round for the British Rally Championship,” says Bell.
“The Inspira Rally Team and I have been gathering momentum throughout the season and we are going to give it our all to seal a round win in the championship. Having the likes of Oliver [Solberg] doing the event will bring a great benchmark and challenge which will be another important factor before heading to Christmas and getting ready for the next season.”
World Rally Championship regular Oliver Solberg will head to Wales to contest the event in his Volkswagen Polo GTi R5. Whilst he and co-driver Craig Drew are not registered for BRC points, their pace will certainly be a target for the British Championship regulars.
Garry Pearson returns to Wales in a Skoda Fabia R5 having spent much of the season in a Fiesta Rally2. He and co-driver Dale Furniss could also claim their best result of the year in Llandudno as the pairing continue to build the speed in Pearson’s maiden BRC1 season.
But snapping at their heels will be reigning Junior BRC champions Eamonn Kelly and Conor Mohan who step up to BRC1 machinery, driving a Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 for the first time on gravel. Kelly had intentions of enjoying outings in an R5 this season and having wrapped up the title at Rali Ceredigion, will get to sample the pace at the forefront of the series.
Having recently claimed the Irish Forestry title, Patrick and Stephen O’Brien test their BRC pace with an outing in their Skoda Fabia R5 in North Wales. The gravel experts could well surprise the regulars and are dipping their toe in the water for potential future outings in the UK.
Junior BRC honours will see a battle between Johnnie Mulholland/Eoin Treacy in their Ford Fiesta Rally4 and Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams piloting their Peugeot 208 Rally4 as each hope to end their seasons on a high. But having not made an appearance in the Junior BRC since Clacton, Frazer Anderson/Shane Byrne make a welcome return in their Fiesta Rally4 and could well upset the formbook.
William Mains/Emily Easton Page uphold the National Rally Title honours in their rapid Vauxhall Nova after Alan Carmichael and Arthur Kierans sealed the crown in Yorkshire.
After a ceremonial start in Llanrwst on Friday night, contenders will head out to tackle two asphalt closed-road stages, likely to be under the cover of darkness. Eight gravel stages make up the Saturday leg, with classics such as Penmachno, Brenig and Clocaenog to round out the season in fine style, before the ceremonial finish in Llandudno at sundown.
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