Chris Ingram adds his name to prestigious list of Nicky Grist Stages winners after giving Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 its first UK rally win

Chris Ingram gave the new Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 its first victory in the UK when he won the 2024 Nicky Grist Stages in the Castrol MEM Rally Team car, and in doing so adds his name to a prestigious list of past winners.

Co-driven by Alex Kihurani, the 2019 FIA European rally champion finished just 14.7 seconds ahead of Keith Cronin/Shane Buckley (Ford Fiesta Rally2), while Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) completed the podium.

Builth Wells Mayor Cllr. Gwyn Davies flagged the cars away from the start outside Strand Hall, as 118 crews headed out for the morning loop of four stages.

Ingram held a slender lead as the cars returned for midday service on the Builth Wells RFC pitch and he extended that advantage when the Llyn Login. Monument, Halfway and Bowlsey stages were repeated in the afternoon.

There were tremendous battles right through the field, with Elliot Payne/Patrick Walsh (Amigos Ford Fiesta Rally2) claiming victory in the Protyre BTRDA Series section, Russ Thompson/Stephen Link (Dunnow Plant Mitsubishi Evo 9) taking home maximum points in the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship and Mark Thomas/Philip Mackay coming out on top in the Defender Rally Series UK Championship.

Mike Brown Jnr (co-driven by his sister Nikola Brown for the first time) was the first Quinton MC driver home in his LB Passive Fire BMW Compact M3, while Geraint Thomas was the club’s top-placed co-driver, having successfully guided Paul Walker (Green Paw Subaru Impreza STI N11).

Russell Thompson and Nick Dobson (Ford Escort Mk2) were joint winners of the ‘Spirit of the Rally – The Autosport Trophy Award’ for their dedication in making the start after separate accidents on their previous events.

Almost 300 volunteer marshals made sure that the event ran smoothly, on time and kept competitors and spectators safe. It was a magnificent advert for Motorsport UK’s National Motorsport Week, and anyone who would like to get involved with rallying is encouraged to look at

The rally attracted several thousand visitors to Builth Wells and the surrounding Powys and Carmarthenshire region and the event is indebted to the wonderful support received from Powys County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council, Builth Wells Town Council, Builth Wells RFC, the businesses and residents of Builth Wells, Dyfed Powys Police and landowners, Natural Resources Wales and Defence Infrastructure Organisation Wales (on which the stages ran) in making the event such a huge success.

The Nicky Grist Stages teamed up with Carbon Positive Motorsport and it’s not too late to use the exclusive discount code to help mitigate the event’s unavoidable carbon emissions and supports the planting of over 1,500 sequioa and 6,000 native broadleaf trees in Abergavenny.

“The Quinton Motor Club team, under the direction of Clerk of the Course Neil Cross, have pulled off another brilliant rally with everything running beautifully,” said Nicky Grist.

“All the crews competing said how much they loved the event, and we are so lucky to be able to use such classic Welsh stages which everyone enjoys driving on. The Nicky Grist Stages seems to be appearing in a lot of people’s calendar year-on-year as a must do rally and everyone who puts a lot of hard work in behind the scenes to create such a good event is very grateful for that.

“Everyone knows my connection with Castrol Toyota, so I was delighted that Chris [Ingram] and Meirion [Evans] were able to do the event in a pair of Castrol MEM Rally Team Toyota GR Yaris Rally2s. We’ve had some very famous winners of the Nicky Grist Stages over the years. Malcolm and Matthew Wilson, Andreas Mikkelsen, Elfyn Evans and three-time British champion Matt Edwards to name but a few. Now we can add Chris Ingram, the 2019 European rally champion, to that prestigious list and that’s great for the rally.”

“I’m so happy to win the Nicky Grist Stages,” said Chris Ingram.

“It’s been a really fantastic event. I’ve had a great battle with Keith Cronin, and we came away with the win in the end after a strong afternoon. We got some good miles in the new Toyota and it’s great to get the Yaris Rally2’s first win on UK soil.

“A big thank you to the rally organisers, to Nicky Grist and to all the volunteers for an amazing event.”

“The team from Quinton Motor Club would like to thank the competitors, volunteers and residents along the route for their fantastic support,” said Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course.

“The event was another huge success, and we’re already working on the 2025 event.”

Action from the 2024 Nicky Grist Stages is available to view on the Special Stage TV Facebook and YouTube channels, plus

The 2025 Nicky Grist Stages will take place on Saturday 12 July.

2024 Nicky Grist Stages – top 10 overall finishers
1. Chris Ingram/Alex Kihurani (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2)….37mins 41.0secs
2. Keith Cronin/Shane Buckley (Ford Fiesta Rally2)….37mins 55.7secs
3. Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2)….38mins 34.4secs
4. Elliot Payne/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta Rally2)….38mins 35.8secs
5. Kyle White/Peredur Davies (Hyundai i20 R5)….39mins 01.9secs
6. Vivian Hamill/Lorcan Moore (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)….39mins 12.0secs
7. Russ Thompson/Stephen Link (Mitsubishi Evo 9)….40mins 29.4secs
8. Brendan Cumiskey/Martin Connolly (Ford Fiesta Rally3)….41mins 11.3secs
9. James Giddings/Aled Davies (Mitsubishi Evo 9)….41mins 20.3secs
10. Dan O’Brien/Mark Glennerster (Ford Fiesta Rally2)….41mins 29.4secs

The full set of results can be found here:

Stunning star-studded rally entry heads to Builth Wells for the 2024 Nicky Grist Stages

A star-studded entry, made up of competitors from six major UK championships and several of the top Probite British Rally Championship drivers who are using the classic mid-Wales stages as a gravel test, will gather in Builth Wells this weekend for the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 13 July).

The quality of the Quinton Motor Club-organised event’s entry has been enhanced by the Castrol MEM Rally Team, with the 2019 FIA European rally champion Chris Ingram (co-driven by Alex Kihurani) making his competition debut in a Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 alongside stablemates Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson. Four-time British rally champion Keith Cronin (co-driven by Shane Buckley) also contests the event in his Ford Fiesta Rally2, as do Kyle White/Anthony Nestor (Hyundai i20 R5) and Alan Carmichael/Dale Bowen (Hyundai i20 N Rally2).

Seeded at number one are last year’s Nicky Grist Stages winners Elliot Payne/Tom Woodburn. They arrive leading the Fuchs Lubricants BTRDA Gold Star Rally Championship and will be aiming to extend their points advantage in their Amigos Ford Fiesta Rally2.

They’ll face stiff opposition from the likes of Matthew Hirst. Co-driven by Decland Dear, the Doncaster ace also leads the Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship (and is on course for a record-breaking fourth title) and is always a force to be reckoned with in his Delta Salvage/Witham Group Fiesta R5.

Also aiming for top BTRDA points are Liam Clark/Emily Easton Page (Ford Fiesta Rally2), Vivian Hamill/Lorcan Moore (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5), Scott Renshaw/Bonnie Papper (Citroën DS3 R5) and Patrick Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Mitsubishi Evo 9).

Dan O’Brien/Mark Glennerster will be targeting top Pirelli Welsh points in only their second event in a Fiesta Rally2 and will be up against the likes of Carmarthen’s James Giddings (co-driven by Aled Davies in a Mitsubishi Evo 9), Russ Thompson/Stephen Link (Mitsubishi Evo 9), Daniel Moss/Samuel Davies (Mitsubishi Evo 10), Steve Hollis/Tim Currie (Volkswagen Golf V R32), the 2023 Welsh Challenge champions Martyn Andrews/Steve Greenhill (Subaru Impreza) and Quinton MC members Paul Walker/Geraint Thomas (Subaru Impreza) and Geoff Cottrill/Nathan Crewe (Mitsubishi Evo9).

Steve ‘Korky’ Ward (co-driven by Phil Sandham in his Escort RS1800) lead the Protyre BTRDA Silver Star Championship and resumes his close title battle with Michael Jenkins (co-driven by Jordan Joines in his Fiesta R2) and Nick Dobson (co-driven by Steve Pugh in an Escort Mk2).

The event is also a round of the HRCR Rally Master Challenge (the largest historic rally car registration of its kind), the TCS Plant Rally Challenge (which raises funds for the Wales Air Ambulance), the ANWCC Rally Championship (which has over 120 member clubs) and the Defender Rally Series UK Championship – with series leader Mark Thomas and Boyzone singer Shane Lynch driving two of the nine Bowler Defender 90s.

Former Pirelli Welsh R2 champion Matthew Jackson will drive the course opening zero car. He’ll be co-driven in the Bowler Motorsport supplied Defender 90 by Paul Morris, whose long list of achievements includes a second overall finish on the 2008 Nicky Grist Stages (co-driving for Damian Cole in a Hyundai Accent WRC3) and more recently a BTRDA Silver Star section win on the 2023 Nicky Grist Stages with Robert Gough (Escort Mk2).

Thanks to the magnificent support of Powys County Council, Builth Wells Town Council, Builth Wells Rugby Football Club and the businesses and residents of Builth Wells, the 2024 Nicky Grist Stages will once again be based in the very heart of the picturesque market town.

The start of the event will be held in Strand Street, outside the wonderful Strand Hall which will play host to rally headquarters. The first car will leave the start at 09:00 and be flagged away by Cllr. Gwyn Davies, Builth Wells Mayor.

The smaller capacity 1400cc and H1/2 Historic class cars will run first on the road and in reverse order (as normal), followed by the BRC crews and then a three-minute gap before the top-seeded BTRDA and Welsh Rally Championship crews (running in seeded order).

A 50-minute mid-day service halt will be located in Groe Park, home to Builth Wells RFC (with the first car arriving at 11:45), and the finish ceremonies will be on the banks of the River Wye (with Builth Wells’ 18th Century bridge and surrounding rolling hills providing one of the most scenic podium finish backdrops in British rallying) from 15:20 onwards.

The rally action will take place on mostly gravel roads in and around the famous Epynt military range and feature two loops of four classic mid-Wales forest stages totalling 44.48 stage miles. Llyn Login will host the opening morning and afternoon stages, followed by Monument (run in the reverse direction to last year), Halfway (also run in the reverse direction and with a new section towards the end) and a new configuration through Bowlsey (formerly called Crychan and renamed in honour of the late Pete Bowles, a long time Quinton MC committee member, previous Nicky Grist Stages event winner and Clerk of the Course).

To limit the environmental impact and to safeguard Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI), spectator areas have been carefully agreed with the landowners, Natural Resources Wales and Defence Infrastructure Organisation Wales. These are easily accessible, have dedicated off-road parking and other facilities and give some of the best viewing locations at the event. Spectator information is available at

The Nicky Grist Stages has teamed up with Carbon Positive Motorsport for a third consecutive year and incorporate a Welsh carbon project for the first time as part of the event’s environmental roadmap. The event will feature the leading BTRDA and multiple Welsh Rally championship winning crew of Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear, who join Carbon Positive Motorsport’s group of ambassadors for the first time as event enviro ambassadors. The pair will be supporting the event to highlight the inclusion of a new carbon project in Abergavenny. This project will be used for the first time to help mitigate the event’s unavoidable carbon emissions and supports the planting of over 1,500 sequioa and 6,000 native broadleaf trees. It repurposes a former monocultural commercial tree planting site and will bring significant improvements to biodiversity on the site.

The event is also proud to continue its association with GoSafe – the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership and its Operation SNAP programme and help raise awareness of the Fatal Five road safety initiative by the Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Mobile units will be operating in the area on Saturday 13 July.

Action from the Nicky Grist Stages will be streamed live and free-to-view on the Protyre BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship social media platforms and the Special Stage TV Facebook page during the event.

The 2024 Nicky Grist Stages is also part of Motorsport UK’s National Motorsport Week and more information can be found at

“The quality of the entry is going to make this year’s Nicky Grist Stages one of the very best, with a host of top drivers using the event to test – including Chris Ingram making his Toyota Yaris debut – and all the leading competitors from six major championships,” says Nicky Grist.

“Add that to some of the best stages mid-Wales has to offer and Builth Wells geared up to welcome us into town, and it’s all set to be a fantastic day’s rallying.”

2024 Nicky Grist Stages – top 10 Seeded Entries
1. Elliot Payne/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
2. Chris Ingram/Alex Kihurani (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2)
3. Keith Cronin/Shane Buckley (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
4. Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2)
5. Kyle White/Anthony Nestor (Hyundai i20 R5)
6. Alan Carmichael/Dale Bowen (Hyundai i20 N Rally2)
7. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (Ford Fiesta R5)
8. Niall McGonigle/Caolan McKenna (Ford Fiesta R5)
9. Liam Clark/Emily Easton Page (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
10. Vivian Hamill/Lorcan Moore (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)

The full Seeded Entry List can be found here: