05 Apr Preview: Round 8. Final Round.
A thrilling Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship comes to a close with the 2019 Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally.
The overall title is already in the hands of Chris West and co-driver Keith Hounslow for the second consecutive season, thanks to three wins in their rapid Peugeot 306 Maxi. It was almost four, but West came narrowly short of victory at Cadwell Park in an intense battle for victory in the second round back in November.
Honours that day went to 2003 Le Mans winner Guy Smith, whose father Peter joined him on the podium in their Ford Fiestas.
While West’s task was completed at Anglesey, class A is expected to be a nail-biter to the very last time check of the season at the ‘mini Nurburgring’.
Mr Consistency has been Craig Aston, leading the way by six points thanks to steady results and a Knockhill triumph for ‘Sharon’, his trusty Toyota Yaris.
His main rivals will be Dale and Andrew Lawson in their MG ZR, Cadwell Park a personal favourite on the calendar for the pair who took maximum class points the last time they visited. Anglesey winner Adam Ripper will be among the potential spoilers in his Nissan Micra, but is too far back to snatch the class title.
It is almost as tight in class B, thanks to the otherwise dominant Paul Sheard missing the most recent rally in North Wales in which previous champion Ian Woodhouse made his return.
Defending class B champion Sheard has been otherwise tough to beat with four wins from six contested in his Mazda MX-5, but Ashleigh Morris remains tight on his tail in her Ford Fiesta. Eight points adrift, Morris recovered from a huge Knockhill shunt in style with a string of consistent results, and will keep the pressure on her rival until the very end.
Class C meanwhile is within reach for Cathy Sewart in her nostalgia-inducing Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.
Consistent top-three finishes in the class has kept her on top for much of the season, now 14 points clear of Ryan Connolly’s Ford Puma, which battled hard for spoils with eventual winner Mike English the last time they visited Cadwell.
English battled engine demons earlier in the season, and remains an outside shot for the class title in his Cetus Solutions-backed Ford Escort Mk2. Watch out also for former endurance racer Nigel Greensall in his Toyota GT86, while Ray Read brings out his Audi Quattro looking to end the season on a high.
The 2019 Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally will be run over nine stages throughout the day, and into the night which becomes specular viewing up close for rally fans that flock to the season finale.