West Chiltington driver to resume 20 year Wales Rally love affair

The Martin brothers from West Chiltington prepare for the Wales Rally GB
The Martin brothers from West Chiltington prepare for the Wales Rally GB

This year’s Wales Rally GB promises to be another special occasion, though for one West Chiltington driver in particular it will be extra special.

One of the most eagerly anticipated events in the racing calendar, the weekend of September 13 to 16 will also see stage ten of the FIA World Rally Championships take place alongside it.

Rubbing shoulders with legends like multi world champion Sebastian Loeb will be local driver Shaun Martin, who is looking forward to the event more than most.

He said: “One of the major reasons for doing the event this year is that it is 20 years since I did my first Wales Rally GB, in those days it was called the Lombard RAC Rally. Then Steven my brother was my co-driver and this year he is team manager.”

And Shaun has fond memories of that first Wales Rally, where as a rookie 23 year old he finished fifth in his class and won a Wedgewood Trophy as well as decent prize money.

This year’s Wales Rally is a three-day event, held over around ten stages and spanning more than 100 miles through the picturesque Welsh countryside from Llandudno in North Wales down to Cardiff.

With brother Steven now taking over as team manager the 2lt turbo charged Subaru Impreza will be co-driven by Anthony Concannon.

For Shaun, a former professional and now amateur driver, it will be his fifth Wales Rally, and he admits matching his first appearance two decades ago will be a tough ask.

He said: “In 24 years of racing that first Wales Rally remains one of my fondest memories. Back then as the Lombard Rally it was a huge event, so to get sponsorship and perform as we did was a huge achievement.

“This time my expectations are to finish as high as I can and all things being equal I’ll be trying to get in the top 20. It will be tough but that’s what I’m aiming for.”

Shaun thanked sponsors Prestige Tyre Services, Japanese Performance Parts, Red Mist Productions and Ag Tyres.