UK: Motorsport Direct Cup Astra Stages preview

Will Gwynne speed to Astra Success? The Motorsport Direct Cup travels to North Wales for its second round next weekend, as seven crews will contest the Vauxhall Astra Stages Rally, a round of the Kumho Clubman Rally Championship, based in ...

Will Gwynne speed to Astra Success?

The Motorsport Direct Cup travels to North Wales for its second round next weekend, as seven crews will contest the Vauxhall Astra Stages Rally, a round of the Kumho Clubman Rally Championship, based in the historic musical town of Llangollen on the banks of the River Dee.

Using the fast forest roads in the Penmachno, Clocaenog and Aberhirnant forests, crews will face 45 miles of testing gravel stages in the series designed exclusively for Vauxhall Novas and Corsas, supported by Vauxhall and Proton experts Motorsport Direct, of Barnoldswick in Lancashire.

Supported by leading trade suppliers Safety Devices, Martin Bowyer Developments, Compomotive Wheels and JemSport PR, the opening round of the series saw 10 cars take on the forests of North Yorkshire. Gloucester duo Andy Gwynne and Holly Robinson kept the form book in order as the pre-event favourites took a well earned win on a difficult day, taking the 1600 class in the process.

Rapid young Ludlow driver James Wozencroft was in fine form in his Vauxhall Nova 1400, as 'Woz' recovered from a number of small problems to take the 1400 class honours. Unfortunately, the BTRDA F1400 front runner has been unable to secure an entry onto the Astra Stages due to the massive demand to get a run on the 180 strong capacity field. Four other Motorsport Direct Cup entrants also failed to gain entry to the event due to the huge interest, leaving seven crews to battle it out for honours on April 3rd.

Whilst Gwynne will start as a clear favourite in his Kit specification Corsa, he will be chased all the way by Civil Service Motoring Association backed driver David Beesley in his similar machine. The sister car of leading 1400cc runner John Brooks will not be far behind either, and the Corsa men should provide plenty of entertainment as they battle it out for a cash prize fund on the event worth £300. Bob Marshall also brings out his 1600cc Corsa for the challenge of the North Wales forests and will be looking for a solid result with the unfortunate reduction in competition on this event.

Irishman Brian McGuinness coaxed his Vauxhall Nova home on the Kall Kwik Rally, despite a very concerning oil leak. Now based far from the Emerald Isle in Suffolk, Brian is hoping for a troublefree run in North Wales, and will be keen to score as many points in the 1400 category along with fellow 1400 class rival Colin Hope.

Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain Shirlaw was delighted that seven of the Motorsport Direct Cup contenders had been able to get an entry on the event:

"Its fair to say that the event has been a victim of its own success, and with so many championships taking part in the event, it was inevitable that some drivers were going to be disappointed. Despite that, we have seven excellent drivers taking part, all of whom are very much looking forward to the event. I'm sure that Andy Gwynne will be a hard man to beat if he has a clean run, but if that does happen, he could well challenge for the overall Clubman Rally win in the process. Andy's participation in the Championship is certainly raising the game for the other drivers, so I'm looking forward to seeing how all the drivers get on during the event. It could be another very close run thing."

After the Astra Stages, the Kumho Clubman Rally Championship takes a short break before gearing up for more Welsh forest action on June 5th. The Mutiny Rally, based in Llandrindod Wells, uses some of the stages that make up part of the route of Wales Rally GB, Britain's round of the World Rally Championship. Stages like Halfway and Crychan have caught out some of the best in the world before now, so all the Motorsport Direct Cup contenders will need to be on their game for the next instalment of rallying action.

-mdc-

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Series Other rally