Matthew Hirst and Mark Glennerster (Ford Fiesta R5). Image: Paul Mitchell Photography
Matthew Hirst will be aiming for his third straight 2023 Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship victory on the Bala-based Plains Rally on Saturday, May 20.
This time he will be without his regular co-driver Declan Dear, who is on his long-awaited honeymoon. The defending Welsh champion and 2022 Plains Rally winner will be partnered for the first time by Mark Glennerster, who is stepping into Hirst’s Delta Salvage-backed Ford Fiesta R5.
Organised by Knutsford & District Motor Club, the Plains Rally contains two loops of four stages - Aberhirnant, Llangower, Alwen North and Alwen South - totalling 44 stage miles.
The first car starts at 8.30am and finishes back at Ysgol Y Berwyn at 3.35pm, while the midday service will be located at the Bala Enterprise Park.
Hirst and Glennerster will face stiff competition, not least from Perry Gardener who returns to the Pirelli Welsh Championship in his Ford Fiesta R5. The Ludlow driver scored maximum points on last year’s Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Stages and will be aiming to do the same on the Plains.
He’s partnered by Jack Bowen, who finished runner-up in last year’s Welsh Junior co-drivers’ category.
Bob Morgan, who finished an impressive third on both the Plains and in the overall Pirelli Welsh drivers’ standings last year, is contesting his first event of 2023. Together with co-driver Ade Williams, the experienced Cinderford pilot will be at the wheel of his Winner Garage Škoda Fabia R5.
Simon Rogers had a good top 10 result on the Plains last year and has started this season even better as he arrives in Bala leading class W13 and lying third in the overall drivers’ standings. The Hertfordshire driver will be co-driven by James How in his MacWhirter Motorsport-prepared Mitsubishi Evo 6.
Rogers beat Martyn Andrews by 15 seconds on the opening Get Jerky Rally North Wales and by four seconds on the recent Rallynuts Stages. The two will resume their close battle when Steve Greenhill co-drivers for Andrews, who leads the Welsh Challenge category, in his Opie Oils Subaru Impreza.
Coverage from the Plains Rally will be live streamed on the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship and Special Stage TV’s Facebook pages during the event, featuring action from all the registered competitors.
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