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N.Walians going for glory as the Cambrian Rally returns to Orme.

Byline: JUDITH PHILLIPS

THIS weekend's Cambrian Rally has attracted some of the UK's leading motorsport stars to North Wales but there will also be plenty of homegrown talent on display vying for top honours.

And the reintroduction of the iconic Marine Drive stage around the Great Orme - which will also be used on Wales Rally GB when it starts in Llandudno on November 10 - adds an extra dimension to the event organised by North Wales Car Club.

The Cambrian Rally starts on Llandudno promenade at 8am on Saturday and takes in classic special timed stages in the Penmachno and Clocaenog forests before returning to the finish on the promenade in the late afternoon.

The 130-strong field will be led away from the start on Saturday morning by Herefordshire driver Andy Burton in his unique Peugeot Cosworth.

Hugh Hunter Burton has put in some fantastic performances on previous Cambrians. He has already clinched this year's British Trials and Rally Drivers' Association (BTRDA) Gold Star Championship but says this is his last chance to win the Cambrian in the Peugeot, which will be retired at the end of the year due to a change in regulations.

He also wants to make the Cambrian his sixth BTRDA win of the season. Among North Walians who hope to be challenging for top spot are Ruthin's Hugh Hunter, who will start just behind Burton in a newly acquired Ford Focus World Rally car; Aberdyfi teenager Tom Cave in a Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally car, and Matt Edwards, from Llandudno, in a Subaru Impreza.

After an excellent start to the season driving his own MGZR in the BRC Challenge, Edwards saw his bid for the title crumble due to mechanical problems.

But determined to put in a good performance in his home event he will tackle the Cambrian in a hired Impreza in the hope of finishing his season on a high.

On last year's event his storming drive through the Penmachno forestry stages put him up there with the very best, and he will be hoping for a top-five finish.

Edwards said: "The season started really well with some excellent results but things went downhill after mechanical problems set in with the ZR. However, I have got a competitive car for the Cambrian, and it would be great to finish the season with a good result on my home event."

Ffestiniog's Ieuan Rowlands is always a crowd pleaser who gives 100% and he'll be another hoping local knowledge will stand him in good stead.

On last year's event, axle failure forced him to retire after the first stage but he's hoping for better fortune this time.

He will be hoping to lead the two-wheel drive field home in his Volvo engined MK2 Escort, in which he be partnered by fellow Bala and District Motor Club member Emyr Hall from Cerrigydrudion.

Friendly sibling rivalry will also be resumed on the event when Ieuan's brother John makes his return to rallying in another Rowlands Rallying-prepared MK2 Ford Escort, following a six-year lay-off.

And Rob Jones from Mochdre will be out to beat his own record. This is the NorthWales Car Club member's 24th entry on the Cambrian in the same car - a 1275cc British Leyland Mini. A regular award-winner on the event, Jones' record of 24 consecutive starts in his home-prepared car is unlikely ever to be beaten.

For rally enthusiasts, another competitor to watch out for will be Welsh legend Nicky Grist who is co-driving for Phil Collins in an Opel Ascona. His factory team career in the World Rally Championship lasted from 1993 to 2002, and during that time he won 21 rallies and one world championship title. Those honour were won with more than one driver, but he is best known for partnering the late Colin McRae.

And there is bound to be a lot of support for the team from Project Mobility, as two soldiers who have suffered life-changing injuries on active service are setting out to prove they can compete on equal terms with able-bodied drivers on the Cambrian. Driver Wayne Turnbull and co-driver Nathan Cumberland are competing a Land Rover Freelander under the Project Mobility banner and say they are looking forward to the experience, which they hope will help them achieve a good result in Wales Rally GB.

Designated spectator points on all stages will be clearly signposted. Details at www.cambrianrally.co.uk SEND US YOUR NEWS Email your motorsport news, race reports, previews and pictures to sportsdesk@dailypost.co.uk.

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CAPTION(S):

Matt Edwards (main) and Tom Cave (above) take part in the Cambrian Rally, as does Nicky Grist, pictured (top) with Colin McRae
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 5, 2011
Words:794
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