BUILTH Wells will host the first rallying event on Welsh soil in 518 days on Saturday.

The Nicky Grist Stages represents a round of the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh National Rally Championships and will feature one of the largest fields of contenders ever gathered.

The rally also represents a round of the BTRDA and British Rally Championships

Covid-19 restrictions have seen motorsport in Wales halted, barring a few exceptions, since the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally on February 8 2020.

But now, finally, rallying in the Welsh forests is returning – with an unprecedented demand for places on the start list.

The list features the strongest ever contingent from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, aiming to beat the proudly patriotic and famously fast Welsh home grown rally talent.

Osian Pryce and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan and Tom Cave and co-driver Dale Furniss lead the mid Wales line-up.

Meanwhile defending Welsh champions Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear, in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, are joined by 2018 driver champion Dylan Davies/Mark Glennerster (Škoda Fabia R5) and 2017 driver champion Callum Black/Michael Gilbey (Ford Fiesta R5).

The Junior category is buoyant again this year and includes Welshpool’s Zak Hughes alongside Ian Beamond in a Renault Twingo R2 Evo.

Meanwhile Welshpool crew Robi Wood and Osian Davies will make their maiden voyage into the forests.

Wood said: “We have been keen to get back out competing since the Covid restrictions have started to be lifted and it’s great to take on a new challenge by competing on gravel this year, we are extremely grateful to our sponsors who have made the planned season possible.”