'3rd time lucky for Jamie?' Wrexham's Jamie Edwards is making final preparations for the second round of the Formula 1000 Gravel Rally Championship, as he contests the Gwynedd Rally, based in Dolgellau. The 45 stage mile event runs on the ...
'3rd time lucky for Jamie?'
Wrexham's Jamie Edwards is making final preparations for the second round of the Formula 1000 Gravel Rally Championship, as he contests the Gwynedd Rally, based in Dolgellau. The 45 stage mile event runs on the second day of the International Rally of Wales, so Jamie will be running behind the likes of British Rally Champions Mark and David Higgins on the flowing gravel stages in Mid Wales for the first time.
After finishing third on the recent Astra Stages, Edwards is already looking forward to a new experience in his Matador Tyres backed Nissan Micra. The 29 year old will contest just three special stages on the Gwynedd Rally, starting with a huge 19 mile stage on the famous Hafren and Sweet Lamb gravel roads. This stage is double the length of the longest stage that Jamie has driven on before, and will make up nearly half the length of the rally in just one stage! Two further long stages in Myherin and Taliesin forests will make for an interesting combination on Jamie's third outing of the year.
With Farnborough co-driver Pamela Hilton alongside, Edwards is keen to maintain his consistent form from the first round of the championship, and the duo are looking to cement their current top 3 points standing if possible. Opposition will once again be stiff on the rally, with round one winner Chris Shaw likely to set the pace in his similar Micra, whilst series newcomer Tristan Dodd will also be a driver to watch with many years of prior rally experience under his belt.
Edwards is well aware that he cannot afford to take it easy on the mammoth first stage, and the Ian Hughes Motor Body Repair Centre backed driver will be keen to make a good start next Sunday:
'I think the first stage will probably decide the outcome of the rally' said Jamie. 'At nearly 20 miles long, it really will be all to play for in that stage. We were extremely cautious on the opening stage of the Astra Stages, losing around 40 seconds to Chris Shaw at the sharp end of the leaderboard. Its a huge amount of time to lose, so I'm very keen to make sure we're not as slow out of the blocks this time. The car is in very good condition after the last rally so I'm going to try hard on the first stage next weekend to see if we can get a bit closer to the leading pace.
If not, its not the end of the world as the most important thing at this stage of the season is to keep learning and building experience of the car and the stages. We don't want to risk going off the road, but I hope we can find a good pace to run at for the day. I think it will be a very hard rally to judge with the stages being the longest we will encounter in the championship. We'll have no option other than to push on initially and see how we fare against the others.'
The Dolgellau based event is the opening round of the Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship, so the UK's top rally drivers will also be testing their mettle on the very same roads that Edwards will tackle in his diminutive Nissan. Further information on the event can be found on the official website at www.rallyofwales.org