CHRIS Powell and Jim Lewis started their season in fantastic form by clinching a class victory in the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
Competing in the Herefordshire Raceway backed 1400 Sunbeam the pair took yet another British Trial & Rally Driver Association (BTRDA) and Pirelli Welsh National Rally National 1400 class victory with a trouble free run to 16th overall.
The event saw 100 cars leave its Llandudno base early on Saturday morning for seven tests in the tight twisty North Wales forests of Elsi, Crafnant, Gwydir and the notorious Penmachno forest, plus the twisty tarmac road around the Great Orme in Llandudno.
For young Irish starlet Josh McErlean and his Herefordshire co-driver Keaton Williams it marked the start of there debut season of British Rally Championship events in the Motorsport Ireland, Woodlands backed Hyundai i20 R5.
Despite a few niggling issues on the morning loop the duo were surprised to find themselves holding third overall at halfway, although times were close around them.
They set off from service for the afternoon loop of three stages confident they could hold on to third.
However, on the last corner of the penultimate stage they broke a front wishbone and retired on the spot, bringing to an end a promising debut event.
“It’s gutting to have retired so close to the end, but we have got so many positives to take away from the rally, we were on the pace, and look forward to future events now,” said Williams.
Ledbury youngster Rob Wilson with Martin Haggett calling the notes in the Ravenol backed Fiesta R2 were another crew to have a problem free day to finish 25th overall, runner-up in the Welsh Junior Championship and third in the R2 category.
“I was a bit slow on the opening stage, but we soon found a good rhythm and have lots of positives to take away from today,” said Wilson
Ross based co-driver Paul Morris, in the 586 Sport backed 1400 Suzuki Swift, were holding second in the BTRDA 1400 category after stage two.
However, on the 10-mile Penmachno test, they were one of three cars who clipped the same rock and rolled heavily into the trees. Both crew members were uninjured and will have the car ready for the next rally in a month time.