Potter and Rowlands set for Mid Wales title decider. Two drivers from opposite ends of the country will go head to head next weekend, as they try to lift the 2003 KUMHO Clubmans Rally Championship title. James Potter, from Sittingbourne in...
Potter and Rowlands set for Mid Wales title decider.
Two drivers from opposite ends of the country will go head to head next weekend, as they try to lift the 2003 KUMHO Clubmans Rally Championship title. James Potter, from Sittingbourne in Kent, will have to beat the pride of Ffestiniog Ieuan Rowlands, in a winner takes all decider on the Bulldog Clubmans Rally (October 18th).
The Shrewsbury based rally is the final chapter in an exciting and close years rallying in the KUMHO tyres backed championship. Both Potter and Rowlands have taken maximum points on two rallies each, with Alistair Adams currently topping the leaderboard after a consistent year of points scoring, and a win on the Astra Stages.
However, it will be the battle between Rowlands and Potter that will take centre stage this weekend. Potter's potent Ford Escort RS certainly has the power, whilst Rowlands only has a 1600cc engine to play with. Both drivers have driven superbly this year, with Potter cruelly denied a very strong finish on the recent Park Systems Rally after a wheel broke. Some last stage dramas for the steady Scot Allan McDowall in his rare Opel Kadett allowed Rowlands and Darren Garrod to snatch victory on the final stage - keeping their championship hopes well and truly alive.
Away from their battle, engine and clutch problems have dogged Alistair Adams since his fine win on the Astra Stages. The Bewdley driver is keen to end the season on a high after puncture problems on the Park Systems, and will be trying hard to put pressure on both Potter and Rowlands.
Allan McDowall and Gavin Heseltine come to Mid Wales determined to keep their run of good form going. Apart from retirement on the Mutiny Rally, McDowall has been a regular Top 4 finisher and will be keen to hold on to his 4th position in the overall championship. The Tarbolton man is just two points ahead of Iain Shirlaw.
Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain also has championship issues on his mind, looking to take 2nd in Class C2 if Rowlands takes the outright class win as widely expected. The Proton Satria Kit Car driver is still getting to grips with his ex-Martin Meadows machine, and is looking forward to another battle with fellow Class C2 rival Ian McCulloch. McCulloch is very much one of the underrated drivers in the KUMHO Championship in his near standard Toyota Corolla GT. The Clanfield driver is just four points behind Shirlaw in the race for the runners up spot in Class C2, and the pair will be battling hard to get into the Top 5 on the season finale.
Series regulars Dave Gratrix and John Rowlands (brother of Ieuan) are the two other Class C2 drivers making the journey to Shrewsbury. Rowlands could well spring a surprise result on his home soil, whist Gratrix's Ford Fiesta is a reliable and consistent performer that should see him battling for Top 10 honours on the rally.
James Potter is already assured of the honours in Class C4, whilst Steve Magson makes a welcome return to the championship after missing the Park Systems Rally. Magson's extremely powerful Astra RWD has not always enjoyed the best of fortune in Wales, but the Pickering garage owner is looking forward to the final round of the series after enjoying his recent run out on the Trackrod Clubman Rally in Yorkshire.
Other KUMHO registered competitors taking part on the event include Twickenham's Winston Clarke. Winston currently occupying 10th in the championship standings and keen to stay there after eventful outings on the Swansea Bay and Park Rallies for the well travelled Londoner. Howard Forrester was very unfortunate to go OTL at the final control on the recent Park Systems event, as the man from the Potteries was heading for a fine 2nd in the Clubmans Rally. Both Howard and series returnee Sean Bannister will be looking for better fortune in Mid Wales.
Leading Junior contender Joe Price also makes a welcome return to the championship for the final round in his Sunbeam. The Ludlow driver was highly impressive on his local Woodpecker Rally, finishing an excellent 8th overall. Price will look to end the season on a high, and claim the KUMHO Junior title in the process after a frustrating year for the youngster.
Finally, the battle for the smallest class may have already been decided in the favour of Rob Belcher's Mini, but both he and Ruthin driver Huw Littler Jones (Skoda) will be battling to the end on the Bulldog for the final maximum points haul. Belcher is a member of the Wolverhampton and South Staffs Motor Club that organises the Bulldog Rally and will be very keen to take his fourth major points haul from four starts next weekend.
It could end up being one of the closest finishes to any championship this year at the top of the field - don't miss it!!!