Matthew Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear celebrated a historic achievement, clinching their third Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship title by triumphing at the challenging Wyedean Stages Rally on the 18th of November.
Adverse weather conditions, marked by recent heavy rain, rendered the Forest of Dean stages slippery and wet. Despite a cautious start in the morning's three-stage loop, Hirst maintained the lead in the Pirelli Welsh section and ultimately seized the overall lead by 17 seconds during the afternoon's repeat run through the stages.
Rob Wilson showcased exceptional skill in his Mitsubishi Evo 7, securing the second position at the Wyedean. Co-driven by Martin Haggett, Wilson’s pace improved significantly after changing tires for the afternoon stages, navigating the challenging conditions flawlessly.
Despite facing challenges, including going off the road twice on SS3, Nik Elsmore and co-driver Pauline Nash persevered to finish third. A loose gear linkage on Elsmore's Mitsubishi Evo 9 in the afternoon made downshifts challenging, adding to the difficulty of the race and making the podium finish even more rewarding.
Bob Morgan faced a setback as his Skoda Fabia R5 dropped onto three cylinders right from the start of the opening stage, resulting in a significant time loss. Morgan and co-driver Adie Williams navigated the challenging muddy stages, ultimately securing a commendable fourth-place finish without any damage.
In conclusion, Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear's triumphant performance at the Wyedean Stages Rally not only secured their third Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship title, but also etched their names alongside rallying legends Graham Elsmore and Andy Burton as three-time Wyedean winners. Facing challenging weather conditions and a competitive field, Hirst's strategic prowess and flawless driving, coupled with Dear's co-driving precision, reaffirmed their dominance in the Welsh rallying scene.
Images courtesy of Alex Stefan Photography
Written by Alice Ingram