Round seven of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship heads for Ludlow in Shropshire for the penultimate round of the series this weekend with the Woodpecker Rally making a welcome debut in the ANCRO-organised series.
Although the title has already been decided with Marcus Dodd and Andrew Bargery claiming a third successive crown in their Hyundai Accent WRC, there is still plenty to play for in the various classes that comprise the series.
Winners last time out on the Pro-Art Signs Swansea Bay Rally, Steve Perez and Paul Spooner, head the entry list on the Sixty & Worcestershire National Rally in their Ford Focus WRC which will see them contest around 57 miles of stages to the west of Ludlow in some of the classic forests of the Welsh borders.
The 2004 ANCRO Champion is red-hot favourite to claim victory which will strengthen his claims on runner-up spot in the series as well as a couple of class awards.
With no round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge on the event, a couple of crews who are at the cutting edge of the leaderboard won't be adding to their points tallies, namely Daniel Barry/Martin Brady and Simon Hughes/Craig Parry although Nik Elsmore and co driver Craig Drew should score their best result of the season if they reach the finish in their Mitsubishi Lancer.
After two non-finishes, Alan Cookson and Julian Wilkinson are hoping for a better run in their venerable Subaru WRC they call 'Daisy' and after racking up their first decent points haul of the season on the Swansea Bay, Trevor Martin and Ray Cleghorn will be looking to do likewise in their Subaru Impreza. The Tonypandy pairing of Trev Baynham and Anthony Bailey will be hoping for a third maximum score in Class 8 in their Ford Escort too.
The first car leaves the start at Ludlow Racecourse at 8.30am on Saturday September 5 and returns for the finish later that afternoon.