September 7, 2022
Successful Get Connected Rali Ceredigion achieves FIA Environmental Accreditation with Carbon Positive Motorsport.
Hayden Paddon and co-driver Jared Hudson have won this year’s Get Connected Rali Ceredigion and in doing so, the multiple times New Zealand Champion and WRC winner recorded his first ever all-asphalt victory, calling the event one of the best rallies of its kind in the world.
After taking the lead on Saturday's fourth and final stage, driving a Hyundai i20 N R5, Paddon consolidated his advantage over Sunday’s eight stages to cross the line 38.7 seconds ahead of 2019 Rali Ceredigion winner Osian Pryce and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan in a VW Polo GTi R5.
Photo Courtesy of Rali Ceredigion & Jakob Ebrey Photography
Sustainability has been a key theme and focus of this year’s event, with organisers introducing a range of ground-breaking initiatives to minimise the rally’s environmental impact. The rally is the first in the UK to more than offset the emissions associated with the entire competitive field in a move that will achieve a positive carbon outcome. And, in recognition of its work in this area, Get Connected Rali Ceredigion has become the first event of its kind in Britain to achieve FIA Environmental Accreditation.
The rally has offset over 33,000kg of CO2e, as part of the event's range of ground-breaking environmental initiatives, which represents the largest level of carbon offsetting so far achieved by any rally in the UK to date.
The Corsa-e of Tom Cave and Will Atkins in Aberystwyth. Picture courtesy of Tom Cave Racing.
The first leg of the rally kicked off in Aberystwyth on Saturday evening with a brand-new street stage comprising two 0.56-mile runs through the town in front of thousands of spectators. Competitors then headed inland for two considerably longer tests in the Ceredigion countryside which, tackled in the dark, were to prove decisive to the outcome of the rally. Early leaders after stage three Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin rolled their VW Polo GTi R5 not far from the start of SS4.
With the stage blocked, Paddon and Williams were held up and consequently, accredited with times that placed them in first and second places respectively, separated by just two seconds. By virtue of running at car number one, Pryce was the only driver of the leading group to have made it through the stage unhindered. But with a turbo boost issue hampering his progress, the allocation of notional times to his two main rivals helped his cause and he ended the day 2.2 seconds behind Williams in third.
Whilst all of the stages so far had run in the dry, overnight rain and indifferent forecasts meant that talk in the service area on Sunday morning was that of tyres. Paddon and Williams opted for wets, whilst Pryce took a braver approach and went out to start the first loop of four stages in the Cambrian Mountains on slicks.
Local hero Gwyndaf Evans rolled his Mk2 Escort at the end of stage seven. Picture thanks to Jeff Evans.
End-of-stage reports from the drivers made it clear that in places, the surface was nothing short of treacherous - a fact confirmed by the number of incidents in the morning's stages, with recovery crews ensuring roads were cleared as quickly as possible. Notable retirements included 2019 third-place finisher Jason Pritchard on stage five this year in a VW Polo R5, fourth at the overnight halt Meirion Evans - also in a Polo R5 - and local hero Gwyndaf Evans, who rolled his Mk2 Escort at the end of stage seven. Thankfully, everyone emerged from their respective episodes unscathed.
Quickly acclimatising to the conditions and with his turbo issues behind him, Pryce went two seconds quicker than anyone else through SS5, the 17-mile JDS Machinery Llanfihangel stage and in doing so, overhauled Williams to take second place.
Although not comfortable with his tyre choice, Paddon steadily increased the gap between him and Pryce during the morning. After swapping his tyres for slicks at the lunchtime service halt, the New Zealander further extended his advantage over the afternoon’s second loop of four stages, going on to win by a margin of 38.7 seconds.
With Paddon not registered for the British Rally Championship and his main rival for the title Cronin out of the running, Pryce took a relatively cautious approach in order to score maximum BRC points, rather than risk it all by fighting for his second Get Connected Rali Ceredigion victory.
Carbon Positive Motorsport Ambassador Garry Pearson finished 5th overall after a hard fought battle
Still getting used to his new car, Williams put himself in a position to take advantage if either of the two ahead faltered, but the opportunity never presented itself and whilst he would have liked to have challenged for the lead, he was happy to take third in an event he holds in high regard. Behind the leading trio, the battle for fourth place continued throughout the day, with Bell finally getting the better of Pearson by 7.7 seconds.
Elevated to international status this year, the event hosted rounds of five major championships: Motorsport UK British Rally Championship, Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship, TER (Tour European Rally) series, FIA Celtic Rally Trophy and FIA European Rally Trophy. Top finisher in the BRC was Pryce, Williams was the first of the Asphalt Championship runners and in TER, Celtic and European Trophies, it was Paddon who claimed the highest haul of points.
Picture courtesy of Tom Cave Racing
Running further down the field and breaking new ground for British rallying was runner-up in this event in 2019, Tom Cave. Invited to compete in a Corsa-e prepared and managed by Myerscough College & University Centre as part of the rally’s sustainability initiative, Cave became the first driver to compete in a 100% electric vehicle on a multi-venue stage rally in the UK.
The Corsa-e of Tom Cave and Will Atkins. Picture couresty of Tom Cave Racing
At the finish on Aberystwyth Promenade bathed in glorious sunshine, augmented by the backdrop of the Cambrian Mountains on one side and Cardigan Bay on the other, the winning crews were presented with their trophies and interviewed in front of the fans.
Photo of winners Hayden Paddon / Jared Hudson Courtesy of Rali Ceredigion & Jakob Ebrey Photography
Winner Hayden Paddon said; “I’ve really loved this event. I can honestly say that it’s one of the best rallies of its kind anywhere in the world. The stages are awesome and the atmosphere has been great, especially for the two runs through the town on Saturday night.
“At just 18 years of age, I’ve been very impressed with Jared. This is a tough rally for a co-driver and he’s done really well. This is actually my first ever outright asphalt rally win, so I’ll just have to keep coming back to do it again!”
Carbon Positive Motorsport Ambassador, Osian Pryce, added, “I’m chuffed to bits. We came here to do a job towards our British Championship campaign and that’s exactly what we’ve done. It would have been good to go all out for the win and retain my Rali Ceredigion title, but if I’m going to lose it to anyone then I’m happy it’s Hayden. It’s been great to compete alongside him this weekend.
“The organisers have really stepped-up the event this year. They’ve done a great job all round. Long may it continue and I’m sure that in the future this event will become one of those legendary must-do rallies on the calendar.”
Last year's rally winner, Carbon Positive Ambassador Osian Pryce had to settle for second place. Photo courtesy Osian Pryce Rallying.
Chairman of the rally’s organising committee, Phil Pugh, commented: "Following on from the success of our first event, it’s been a fantastic effort from the whole organising team - and can you believe we’ve had over 600 marshals with us this weekend! It’s a massive turnout and we’re so grateful for their support. Luckily the weather has been kind to us for the second time running, which is good for everyone. I’ve got a big smile on my face and I’m really chuffed for all involved. I hope Ceredigion has enjoyed it and we now have to look at where we go from here.
“And finally, I have to thank each and everyone of those who have been part of this journey, especially the sponsors, supporters, partners, businesses, suppliers, residents, landowners, local communities and authorities, plus all of the organising team, volunteers and officials. We could not have done it without them!”
Get Connected Rali Ceredigion Top Ten Results:
1. Hayden Paddon/ Jared Hudson Hyundai i20 R5 1:19:56.0
2. Osian Pryce/ Noel O'Sullivan Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 1:20:34.7 +38.7
3. James Williams/ Dai Roberts Hyundai i20 N Rally2 1:22:00.0 +2:04.0
4. Ruairi Bell/ Max Freeman Škoda Fabia R5 1:23:53.1 +3:57.1
5. Garry Pearson/ Dale Furniss Ford Fiesta Rally2 1:24:01.6 +4:05.6
6. Steve Wood/Dale Bowen Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1:25:37.6 +5:41.6
7. Elliot Payne/ Patrick Walsh Ford Fiesta Rally2 1:27:07.8 +7:11.8
8. Ivan Ballinari/ Marco Menchini Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 1:27:27.3 +7:31.3
9. Mark Kelly/ Neil Colman Škoda Fabia R5 1:27:32.2 +7:36.2
10. Alan Carmichael/ Arthur Kierans Hyundai i20 R5 1:28:26.1 + 8:30.1
Full results from EWRC.com
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