Swedish Subaru Impreza driver Patrik Flodin currently occupies the position but with Michal Kosciuszko, in a Mitsubishi Lancer, six points behind and Czech Martin Semerad two points adrift of the Pole, the fight for supremacy is wide open heading to the challenging gravel event.
Flodin, the winner last time out in Spain, has recruited a replacement co-driver after Goran Bergsten had to withdraw. While Timo Alanne is a highly capable stand-in, it will take time for the new partnership to gel, which could ultimately hold Flodin back. However, the Swede relishes competing on gravel and in the Welsh forests so will be more than capable of putting on a charge.
Kosciuszko has been improving his form throughout the season on his maiden campaign in the PWRC and is overdue a victory. Semerad, meanwhile, has endured a frustrating second half of the season following the high of his victory in Sweden and a podium in Portugal.
Mexican Benito Guerra and Ukrainian Valeriy Gorban also stand a mathematical chance of claiming the runner-up spot but would need Flodin, Kosciuszko and Semerad to hit trouble to make an impression higher up the leaderboard.
Other drivers capable of running at the front in Wales are Jarkko Nikara and Jason Pritchard. Nikara, from Finland, was a podium finisher in Finland and has taken over Anders Grondal’s registration after the Norwegian’s funding ran out earlier in the season. Nikara is highly-rated while Welshman Pritchard, a wildcard entrant, lives in Builth Wells where the event’s service park will be based and has good knowledge of the stages.
One driver who won’t be chasing PWRC points in Wales is Hayden Paddon, the 2011 champion. Paddon, from New Zealand, has obtained special permission to step up to an R4-specificaiton Impreza for the event. Because the car is not eligible for the PWRC, he won’t be a contender for class honours.
Harry Hunt will complete his PWRC campaign determined to score a finish on his home event. The 23-year-old from London clinched the PWRC Production Car Cup for Drivers of 2WD Cars earlier this season.