Image courtesy of SJones Photography
Image courtesy of ni:media
Llewellin takes podium on season opener
March 9th 2016
Roland Llewellin faced a steep learning curve on the opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship, but a challenging Mid Wales Stages was to be rewarded with 2nd in class in his Mitsubishi Evolution X.
As Llewellin stepped up to the recently reformed MSA British Rally Championship, the level of competition and preparation increased. “There are many changes from the last championship, most importantly is that we have a chance to drive the stages before we compete on them giving us the opportunity to create our own pace-notes, something I have no experience of.” Explained Llewellin, who had enlisted the help of experienced young navigator Jack Morton to guide him through the season.
As the snow descended on the hills of Mid-Wales the first stage was to prove troublesome for the Hyundai Genpower team as the bright lights from the lamp pod illuminated the forests but also made it difficult to distinguish between the snow, mud, slush and ice on the roads. “It didn’t seem to make sense,” said Llewellin, “It looked bone dry in there but we were sliding all over the place. It was the same in the second stage, we had a big moment so took it easy for the last few miles.” Overnight the Morris Lubricants backed Mitsubishi was lying in 20th overall and 3rd in class.
Sunday morning brought more predictable weather as much of the snow and ice had melted through the evening. Two morning stages saw the pairing find a much better rhythm in the Pirelli-shod Evolution and they climbed two places to 18th before the lunch time service halt in Newtown. “We had to stop in one stage to help a fellow competitor out of the car which affected concentration slightly, but the SW Motorsport car is performing perfectly for us this morning. The second loop of stages we are hoping to really push on with now.”
And push they did, Llewellin and Morton climbed a place in their class and two more places overall with a great time over the longest stage of the day in Hafren. “Its been a good weekend, the weather certainly hasn’t helped us but importantly for us is the finish and the championship points.” Said Llewellin at the events finish in Newtown. “The championship now moves to Ireland for a tarmac rally, so my learning curve continues as I have never rallied in Ireland or on tarmac. The car will be a completely different machine but I am sure we can learn quickly to be on the pace”
The MSA British Rally Championship heads to the Circuit Of Ireland next month, as the best in Britain will do battle with the European Rally Championship as they both tackle the narrow twisty Irish lanes.
Image courtesy of Black Mountains Media
Llewellin Takes Trophy on Red Kite
February 23rd 2016
Sundays Red Kite Stages was an ideal test for Roland Llewellin’s planned attack on the British Rally Championship, as the Mitsubishi Evolution driver took a commanding class win while securing fifth overall on the Red Kite Stages.
Damp and windy weather greeted the 120 crews tackling the event as they set off from the start in Llandovery and Hyundai GenPower backed Llewellin was ready for the challenge, “The stages look good, they’ll give us a good test for the opening round of the British Rally Championship and we have a new navigator joining us for the next few rallies.”
Joining the Morris Lubricants supported team was Jack Morton, an experienced navigator who won last years MSA Tarmac Rally Championship. “We haven’t really spoken much before the event so today will be about getting used to each other in the car and building that trust.” Explained Morton.
The opening loop of stages saw the new pairing lying in fourth overall and already leading their class by nearly one minute. “The conditions are treacherous in places, we aren’t really pushing too hard as our main focus (the British Rally Championship) starts in two weeks and it’s vital we keep the car in one piece.” Said Llewellin at the service halt in Llandovery.
A total of six stages and over forty stage miles were undertaken before the event finished back in Llandovery and the endless rain ensured the road conditions were not to improve in the forests around the Epynt military range. “The second loop wasn’t too bad, we have found a good rhythm with Jack and our pacenotes. The SW Motorsport prepared Mitsubishi has again run faultlessly and the Pirelli tyres have worked well considering the conditions.” Said Llewellin. “To come away with such a good overall position is a great boost for us and the team before we begin the full Championship in a fortnights time.”
The opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship sets off from Newtown as the Mid-Wales Stages will see over 120 crews tackle the rejuvenated series opener. Crews will tackle stages in both the darkness of Saturday 5th March and the daylight of Sunday 6th March.
Roland Ready For Red Kite
After the successful debut of the Hyundai GenPower Mitsubishi Evo X on last weekends Cambrian Rally, Roland Llewellin heads back out to the forests this weekend for the Red Kite Stages based in Llandovery.
Debuting the car on the opening round of the BTRDA and Welsh Rally Championships, the Morris Lubricants backed car was to feature in the top three of its class for most of its rally. A chilly day in the north of Wales was to allow Llewellin to settle in to his new car, the SW Motorsport prepared machine didn’t miss a beat all day and the team were pleased to finish the day with a second in class and seventeenth overall.
“The car works well, there’s more power in the engine compared to my last car but it is now a case of getting used to handling and characteristics of the car.” Explained Llewellin. “To come away with second in class is very pleasing for us and the team, we’re still learning the car and the purpose of the Cambrian was to gain experience along with this weekends Red Kite Stages in readiness for our attack on the recently reformed British Rally Championship.”
This weekends event will see Llewellin joined by young navigator Jack Morton, who has featured in the MSA Academy and was last year’s championship navigator in the MSA Tarmac Championship. “We have Jack lined up for this event and the opening half of the British Championship, he has a wealth of experience for such a young navigator and has been competing with top drivers for the past few years.”
The Pure Rooms and BE Honda Power Equipment backed Mitsubishi will be running at car twelve on Sundays event which takes in gravel stages on the Epynt Ranges, leaving the start venue of Llandovery at 8:30am.
Hyundai Genpower Rally Team
As a rejuvenated British Rally Championship returns for 2016, Hyundai Genpower Rally Team has taken the decision to step up to the top flight of British rallying with Roland Llewellin taking the wheel of a newly built Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
Having spent the last few years successfully campaigning an Evo IX in the BTRDA and Welsh National Rally Championships, Llewellin and the team are keen to take that experience and pace into the new season. “We are looking forward to the new challenge and a new car too. SW Motorsport are putting together a great machine and we can’t wait to get out on the stages.” Said Llewellin.
Joining Llewellin for 2016 will be Manxman Mark Perryman, who himself is excited at the prospect of a busy year. “Doing the British Rally Championship is always something you aspire too, and being able to sit with someone with experience and pace like Roland will be great.” Explained Perryman. “The aim is to still tackle BTRDA events as that is a great series, so our year begins in February on the Cambrian Rally.”
The BTRDA and Welsh Championship sets off from Llandudno on February 13th, while the newly reformed MSA British Rally Championship gets underway on March 5th in Newtown, as the Mid-Wales Stages features as the season opener.
Supporting the team for 2016 are Hyundai Power Equipment, Morris Lubricants, Hall and Roche Logistics, Pureroom - Allergy Friendly Hotel Rooms, Evans Waterless Coolant, BE Honda Powered Equipment and ThePowerSite.
The new car will be on display at the Autosport show, on the Hyundai Power Equipment stand 7510.