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Reigning MSA Junior Rallycross champion Tom Llewellin contested his first senior gravel rally event at the weekend and came away with a superb fourth place in class on the Nicky Grist Stages Rally.

Up against some of the best competitors in the country who were contesting round six of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series 2018, the event comprised some classic Welsh forests including Crychan and Halfway, with the dry conditions making dust a major factor.

The 17 year old from Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, along with co-driver Dale Bowen, was contesting the 45-stage mile event in a Peter Gwynne Motorsport (PGM) Suzuki Swift as part of the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series, which sees Tom compete in stage rallying as well as rallycross.

With over 100 competitors taking to the start outside Strand Hall in the centre of Builth Wells, the newly-renovated Edwardian building having been officially opened by HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall just 10 days before, from there it was into the forests and SS1 saw Tom emerge sixth in class and 64th overall.

Playing himself slowly in, the young Welshman had maintained his overall position but had clawed his way up to fourth in class at the mid-point of the rally, less than ten seconds behind the third placed crew in class.

Tom continued his progress and despite a minor problem when a bump dislodged the ECU on SS6, he and Dale upped their pace to eventually emerge 46th overall and fourth in class, again just ten seconds off claiming an award on his forest debut.

Tom Llewellin: “We had an awesome day and thoroughly enjoyed our first ever gravel rally. We were lying fourth in class and swapping times with R2 Ford Fiestas but, unfortunately, we hit a bad bump on SS6 which upset the connection on the ECU and cut the power which dropped us some time. We got it all sorted for SS7 and finished the day fourth in class and 46th overall which we were really happy with and can’t wait to get back out in the woods again. Massive thanks to Dale on the notes, the entire Peter Gwynne Motorsport Team and all my sponsors, family and friends for their support.”

Tom reverts back to the MSA British Rallycross Championship in two weekends’ time where he will continue his campaign in the Swift Sport Series in the PGM Suzuki at Croft in North Yorkshire on July 29th.

​For further information, please visit http://www.swiftseries.com (http://www.swiftseries.comand) and http://www.swiftrallycross.com. Follow Tom on https://www.facebook.com/TomLlewellinRallying/

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