Stages set for a classic!

Thursday 9th February 2012 12:00 am
ONE OF THE FAVOURITES: Roger Chilman. ()

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DESPITE talk of a recession and a lack of money in the sport, this year's Wyedean Rally has attracted another quality field and a maximum entry of 180 cars.

"It's beyond all our expectations," said delighted clerk of the course Phil Turley.

"We were a week later coming out with the regulations because of all the rule changes, but it didn't take long to catch up."

The clerk of the course believes the stages will be in excellent condition for this year's rally. Mr Turley said: "Speech House will be completely different this year. It will be tougher and definitely more technical."

Forest of Dean Motor Club chairman Paul Willetts said contingency plans were in place should snow hit the Forest between now and Saturday.

"There have been no last minute dramas but we'll be watching the weather forecasts.

"We had seven reserves as at Monday night so hopefully we'll get a capacity entry.

"The stages are in good condition and will sort the men from the boys."

With no Andy Burton or Nik Elsmore in the field, any of the top dozen could conceivably win this year's Wyedean.

Steve Perez and Paul Spooner (Ford Focus WRC), victorious two years ago, have been seeded one, ahead of Hugh Hunter and Andy Marchbank, whose ex-Colin MacRae Focus was replaced with a newer model towards the end of last season.

Making it a Focus 1-2-3 at the start is the team of Charlie Payne and Craig Thorley, while the new pairing of Roger Chilman and Bryan Thomas are next in their Subaru Impreza WRC.

David Wright and Michael Wilkinson (Mitsubishi Evo 9) have been seeded five, with the Evo of Shaun Gardener and Ben Innes completing the top six.

Behind them are the Imprezas of Roger Duckworth, Nigel Griffiths and Tom Cave.

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