IRDC Chairman Prepares for Wales Rally GB

The Wales Rally GB is the last round of the 2011 World Rally Championship taking place in Wales over 4 days, starting in Llandudno and finishing in Cardiff on Sunday. The bulk of the event however takes place in and around mid Wales with the main service area based in Builth Wells, from where the two day National event starts on Friday 11th November, covering 76 stage miles over 7 stages with 216 road miles. The forests of Mid Wales always present formidable challenges, like the Dyfi complex and Hafren at 20 miles long. The final 18 mile stage Myherin, being the sting in the tail.
 The IRDC is well represented with chairman Shaun Martin, co-driven by brother Steve in their faithful Subaru and November always proves a good month for Shaun from West Chiltington, not only is it the Wales Rally GB but also Shaun's Birthday!
The Wales Rally GB was formerly the Lombard RAC Rally, taking almost a week and covering the length and breadth of Britain. In this year's strong entry of 83 in the national class of the rally the first lucky 30 entries are selected by postal receipt and the remainder by invitation. The Martin's were successful as one of the first thirty when Steve entered when Shaun was holidaying in the Canadian Rockies. The crew, who finished 23rd overall last year, start this year's event at car 242 in the national event.
Pre-event preparation has gone well, Shaun using the recent Woodpecker Rally as a tester, co driven by Tim Hobbs as Steve was otherwise engaged with a long standing commitment with his band - yes, he's also an accomplished drummer! The Subaru has been stripped down and overhauled with a new intercooler system, gearbox, clutch assembly and heavy duty engine mounts fitted.
At this time of year Wales's capricious weather makes tyre choice critical in this event. If wet, a very open gravel tyre is used with a soft compound and further treads cut out to slice through mud. In snow, a super-soft sticky tyre is used, looking more like a motorbike tyre. Shaun said "tyres play a very important part in any rally, but more so on the Wales Rally GB. If its wet that's great, if there is snow and ice equally as good, I've even bought a snow shovel just in case!"
 161 Cars are competing this weekend with 78 cars in the International section and 83 in the National Rally. The WRC goes down to the wire with only 8 championship points separating Sebastian Loeb and Miko Hirvonen and both capable of winning the rally and World Title. On the National event there are several favourites for the title with Andy Burton and IRDC member and 2010 national event winner Nigel Griffiths being strong contenders.
Shaun & Steve are supported by:- Team Retro-Speed, Solarwood Energy, Presteigne Tyre Services and Cumbria Heat Logs.
More information can be found at the following websites:-

8th November, 2011